Last week’s newsletter received an even more positive response than the previous week, so thank you all very much for all the great feedback. I introduced a little scorecard at the end of the last newsletter so you could give me some feedback on the relevance of the newsletter. Last week’s scored a resounding 4.8 stars. Pretty impressive. Continue reading “Newsletter #3: Not just for Entrepreneurs. For Managers too.”
A friend mentioned that he was toying with the idea of doing an MBA at the age of 48. Actually, by the time he registers and the semester starts he’ll be 49. And then you think, “well I’m almost 50, why bother?”
If you know my story you know my experience with the MBA. Continue reading “Newsletter #2: Should I / shouldn’t I”
Before you trash this, ask yourself one question:
Do I know everything there is to know about running a business?
I sent out a newsletter last year about some of the amazing things I’ve achieved in both my business and personal roles because I thought it might inspire people to reconnect with things they’ve always wanted to do in their own lives. The newsletter received such a positive response that I’ve started a regular column here featuring interesting insights and comments about some of my favourite topics: Life, Running a Business, and Coffee.
Inspired by a few comments I heard Ricardo Semler make in his TED talk, I decided to adopt some of his philosophies and live more. I decided to work myself out of a job, so I can spend more time on the bucket list and out of the office.
The first change I decided on that seems like a good idea is the long weekend. For first steps I’m working on one long weekend a week. Every week. So starting today, I’m spending Friday’s away from the office.
Just to give you an idea of “the office”, for those who don’t know me, my office is virtual, my company is virtual in that it can operate from anywhere with an Internet connection, but my customers are real. I currently serve over 900 individual customers across over 300 companies in Southern Africa. When I’m not at my desk, I’m usually in front of my laptop in a coffee shop tending to customers requests and the operational requirements of the business. But as of this Friday (today), I plan to be away from both offices while the business still continues to serve all of its customers.
When I’m at my desk my focus is on driving operational efficiency so that I don’t have to work at all, but at the same time, I work on being able to service more customers and give my customers a better service. That way I’m freeing up my time, growing my business, and growing customer satisfaction and in turn customer loyalty.
In January, one of my businesses took on over 100 new customers. Up until that point, it only had 20 customers, and its operations were simple and unobtrusive. I had plenty of spare time. But since taking on all these new customers, my workload skyrocketed. I had 25 hours a day of admin, development, and operational fires to iron out. My focus for the past 6 months has been on smoothing and enhancing my operational systems and processes to the point where 99% of customer requirements are catered for by my ITS systems. This means that most of this operational work can be done in less than a minute from a mobile phone or tablet.
So, this Friday, I’m using my mobile phone to service customers requests every hour or so for a few minutes at a time, and then I’m restricted to not being in the office. That gets me thinking about my business in a whole new light.
My focus previously was on using the systems I have to make the processes I have more efficient in servicing the customers I have. Not being in the offices causes me to focus on processes I don’t have that will allow customers to receive the same level of service or better without involving me. It makes me think differently about the same problems and to proactively imagine new scenarios where my business serves its customers without me.
Interesting day indeed.
Innovation comes in many forms, from the unmissable, to the miniscule, and everything in-between.
Putting your bank in the palm of your hand was a huge innovation, as was combining the camera with the cell phone. But so was the Black-Eye’d Peas’ remix of Jack Johnson’s “Gone Going Gone”. And an app that allows your waiter to tap your order on an iPod while standing at your table.
Innovation is the process of getting something new from idea to reality. It doesn’t have to be earth shattering to make a huge difference, but it should make a difference where it matters most – to your customer. Your customer will notice an innovation when it enriches their experience, or takes away some of the irritation they have to go through. Can everyone in an organisation be part of Innovation? Definitely! The best innovations come from listening to the customer, and the people who know best what the customers want are the ones who deal with them every day. Yes – that’s you!
Digital brains share ideas in SA
I must extend a huge Thumbs Up to Jo’burg Metro.
Today I drove through kilometers of roadworks where the road had been reduced to a single lane, and the miles and miles of backed up traffic was directed through several traffic lights that weren’t working, causing the traffic to slow even further.
Where were Jo’burg Metro? Continue reading “Big ups to Jo’burg Metro!”
There’s a very thin line between Customer Delight and Customer Disaster. Which side of the line will you fall on?
Continue reading “The thin line between delight and disaster”
I’m a lot of things. Entrepreneur, Educator and Novelist. Unfortunately novelist doesn’t start with “E” or it would sound trade-markable. I meet a lot of people in my various roles (except the novelist one), and so many people say the same thing. “I’ve always wanted to…” Continue reading “Write something”