Detox your Business, Boost your Performance

Feel like you’re doing everything right from the business playbook, working your proverbial off, but not achieving the results you feel you should be? Could be that your business needs a vitamin boost, an internal clean-up. Time to look from the inside to further inside your business and detox.

When our body is under-performing the current trend is to look at your gut. What’s going on inside, can affect many aspects of our health. We look after ourselves with healthy eating, nutrition and vitamins. Businesses can also suffer from gut issues. Stuff can be going on inside that is affecting overall performance but we’re too close or closed-off to see what’s happening.

Time to detox your business with a few exercises to clean up your act and get business-fit.

Stamp out Bullying

Bullying is a scourge in the playground, across society and being called out in workplaces globally. It can not only have devastating effects on victims, it has been shown to have a significant impact on productivity and may be the source of a toxic culture, invisibly infecting the business. Research shows that bullying may be costing Australian organisations in the eye-opening range of $6 billion to $36 billion per year.

It’s the responsibility of employers to provide a workplace which is free from bullying. For small businesses without specialist human resources departments, this can be a challenging issue. How do you identify bullying? How do you develop and implement policies to stamp it out and/ or prevent it occurring?

For tools and resources to assist businesses head to www.headsup.org.au.

Prevention is preferable and the 2014 Report, Workplace Bullying in Australia by the Centre for Health Initiatives lists preventative strategies which businesses can adopt: improving workplace culture, leadership training, setting policies and guidelines, risk management and individual actions. Well worth reading the report on the Workplace Bullying page www.headsup.org.au

Tighten Etiquette and Ethics

OK, I admit I am of a certain mature age so is it just me or is the business world going slack on manners and etiquette? Is politeness now out of fashion? Poor etiquette and the more serious issue of ethics can drag a business down.

While workplaces and business relationships have become more casual, it shouldn’t mean we can relax our basic business etiquette rules which define how we engage with co-workers, suppliers, customers and others. Those who maintain high standards of etiquette – stand out!

Here’s a few pet-peevs from my ‘high-horse’ position:

  • Beyond the standard ‘thank you for purchase’ email, express your appreciation and thanks to co-workers, customers and suppliers in personalised messages. It is greatly appreciated, will build internal morale and your external image.
  • Avoid cancellations. There’s nothing more annoying than someone who constantly cancels appointments. It can project disrespect, says ‘you’re not important enough to me’ and is just – rude. Of course things happen, but do your best keep those appointment times.
  • Punctuality. Ditto above. Being on time is not only polite it’s practical, keeping schedules on track for better productivity.
  • Acknowledge quotes, proposals and job applications. It can take a lot of time and effort to prepare a quotation, proposal or job application and nothing is more off-putting than when you send it in and then never hear another word. Let people know when it’s ‘off the table’ or ‘still in the mix’ – it’s just simple manners and with job applicants, you never know when they may become potential buyers.

From basic etiquette we take the big jump up to morality, ethics and honesty.

Challenging, cut-throat, cut-price times shouldn’t be an excuse to cut-back on your ethics and morality. The Banking Royal Commission and numerous high profile staff-underpayment cases have put unacceptable corporate behaviour firmly into the spotlight. Smart businesses should take note of the public reaction to these and review their own behaviours.

Spell Check Up

So no one is perfect and a little typo here and there is excusable. But there is a point when repeated spelling and grammar errors in your business collateral does affect your image, reputation and buying decisions. Companies love to boast we have great attention to detail and nothing busts that myth faster than a website, quote, EDM or marketing material full of mistakes.

A recent high profile case was the Cathay Pacific massive, massive signwriting fail that went viral. In applying the company logo to a new plane,someone forgot the F in Pacific. Oh yes, the plane was emblazoned with CATHAY PACIIC. Oops! Maybe wouldn’t stop you flying with them but you definitely question their quality standards.

As a writer, I probably notice them more than others but I see typos every day, everywhere. My tip: proofread aloud. Who cares if you look like you’re talking to yourself, you’ll be surprised how many sneaky errors suddenly appear when you verbalise the words.

You may not see everything that your staff send out, but you should stay on top of the quality as it could be impacting your overall performance through downgrading your image with buyers.

Eradicating Errors

Spellos and typos are one thing, but major operational mistakes can be costing you a fortune and you may not even realise it. A business consultant and mentor colleague of mine, John Hadfield of Control Zone, recently wrote an article on the cost of mistakes in the sign and print industry and his revelations can be transposed to many other businesses.

John smashes the myth that there’s no big deal with making a mistake or two. This attitude and approach could actually be killing your business.

I’ve done the numbers for typical production jobs in the sign industry and have the facts and stats to prove that a mistake can actually cost 3.5 times the original cost of the job to rectify, plus the more expensive cost of potentially losing that client forever, John Hadfield said.

John advises that to detox a business of costly mistakes, astute operators should implement systems and process to remove potential errors from the workflow before they manifest as major fails which can lead to expensive fix-ups and loss of valuable clients.

The solution can be as simple as staff training, improving job briefs, ensuring job instructions are read and clearly understood and paying more attention to quality control by bringing quality checks into every area of the business or production process, John said. These steps can make the boss’s job easier, improve job satisfaction and productivity and increase your bottom line.

Cleaning Up

In a previous issue I wrote about providing a clean, healthy workplace and worth a reminder: clean, well-presented premises are more attractive to customers and provide a healthier, more productive working environment for your team to better perform.

There’s just a few ideas to detox your business and most importantly, if you’re the business owner, senior manager, the boss – take a critical look at your own behaviour to ensure that you are setting the right example from the top down.

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Lyndall Lee Arnold
Differentiated by a rare combination of natural creative talent and business sensibility, Lyndall is an experienced writer who effectively puts together words to explain, sell, train, excite, inspire, motivate, explain, entertain and communicate. Writing for the page, the screen, the mic, she infuses every project with her insight, instinct and initiative. As a small business owner/operator, she identifies closely with Smarter Macarthur readers and as editor, explores issues and starts conversations beyond the expected. Delivering valuable and useful resources and information in every issue to build our readers’ knowledge base and increase their business productivity. Based on a strong foundation as a creative spirit, writer, producer and project manager, Lyndall has developed a wealth of experience and expertise across the full spectrum of marketing and communications services in an even broader range of industry sectors. Her contemporary, conversational writing style is perfect for websites and marketing campaigns, but she excels at varying her style to suit the product and the audience - from quirky and creative, to ‘straight to the point’ business through to classic and formal speak for grants and awards. In an interesting and varied career, Lyndall has proven her capability to transform business ideas and aspirations into practical, workable reality with her common sense approach and conscientious attitude.

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