Tips for Entrepreneurs – #6
Businesses don’t stay flat for long. They either grow or decline, adapt or die. While it’s important to develop sound processes and programs, it’s equally vital to constantly review your business, looking for signs of complacency, inefficiency, or a potentially dangerous status quo. Then, once you’ve identified where your business is stagnating, you can look for ways to update and streamline your products, procedures, or services. Businesses that change with the times are the ones that last.
Do not resist change. Moving forward is always better than moving backward.
Featured as Tip number 36 in my book, The Evolution of an Entrepreneur.
From the Jack Nadel Archives
Our bookkeeper at the time could never get her work done within the eight-hour workday. So I asked her, “What is your most time-consuming operation?” She answered, “Checking credit. For every new order, I check the purchaser’s bank and two trade references by phone.” I asked how many accounts she had rejected for bad credit in the past year. She answered, “None.” “Okay,” I said, “from now on, do not check credit for orders under $500. Just automatically approve them without examination.” The result: We suffered no credit loss, and the bookkeeper was able to complete all of her work without overtime.
How Does This Tip Apply Today?
When he worked at Hallmark, Gordon MacKenzie probably had the strangest business cards in corporate America. They read, “Creative Paradox.” You might not think of the greeting card business as fast moving and full of breathless innovation, but MacKenzie would have disagreed. In the 1990s, instead of joining senior management, MacKenzie convinced his bosses at Hallmark to let him open a new department under his control. He outfitted the department with roll-top desks and retro stained glass, and he called it the Humor Workshop. His department’s job was simple: come up with better greeting cards outside of the corporate bureaucracy. And they did— launching greeting card lines that would help propel Hallmark into the 2000s. It just goes to show, no matter what business you’re in, flexibility is always important!
Tips for Entrepreneurs
This post is part of my regular “Tips for Entrepreneurs” blog post series, featuring shared experiences and wisdom from my career as a global entrepreneur that I outline in an easy to understand tip format with a brief story/snippet from my own business experience, as well as a current anecdote about how this tip applies in today’s business environment. These entrepreneurial tips are also featured in my award-winning book for entrepreneurs, The Evolution of an Entrepreneur, featuring 50 of My Best Tips for Surviving and Thriving in Business.
Referenced materials for the “How Does This Tip Apply Today?” section:
Eric Barton, “Hallmark’s Hairball: A Former Artist Told How He Didn’t Get Sucked Down Its Drain,” The Pitch, May 21, 2008, http://www.pitch.com/plog/archives/2008/05/21/hallmarks-hairball-a-former-artist-told-how-he-didnt-get-sucked-down-its-drain.