By Kate Marsden
Asking questions is a very powerful tool for a business owner and leader to help drive the business.
- Why? My favourite question is “Why?” It gets right to the heart of things – even those things that you take for granted. Kids ask it all the time – much to the irritation of their frazzled parents, who suddenly question the basics in life again! Sadly though, it’s a question you don’t hear enough in many businesses and it is often drummed out of new people without anyone realising the positive impact it can have on a business.
- What would make us better? Push for excellence on everything and force people to come up with new ways to make things better. Make it your mission for a week to look at everything in terms of how it could be improved, rather than what the problems are.
- How does the customer feel? Take time really see things from a customer perspective. If you can, become your own mystery shopper. Or just watch and listen to how staff deal with customers and ask how you would feel in their shoes.
- How are we different? Being like everyone else is just not enough. If you can’t explain – and back up – why you are better or different to your competitors, you are missing a massive opportunity
- Where does our profit come from? You may think you know this, but you may be surprised. Do you know which customers make the most money? Or which products? Do you know which 20% of effort drives 80% of your financial results?
- Where does all the money go? Again you may think you know this, but look again. Where does all the money you take in sales go before some of it drops to the bottom line? Is it all worth it?
- Who is critical to the future of the business? If the answer is only you, you have a serious problem (or you need a dose of reality!). Every business needs a critical few who are driving the future – and then you need to work out how to hold on to them at all costs.
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