Thoughts to ponder: Every now and then it’s important to use philosophies from different sources for business success. One such example in old-fashioned courage and common sense comes from history thanks to Thomas Paine.
Mr. Paine was an English-American corset-maker in the 1700s. He was also one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and was most influential before the American Revolution.
He’s best known for writing an inspirational pamphlet called “Common Sense” in late 1775. He wrote about the importance of independence from England.
It was sold and widely circulated and read aloud at various meeting places including taverns. He published it anonymously because the British would consider it treason.
Ultimately. Mr. Paine played a great role in the success of America’s origin.
Now in the 21st century, common sense and courage are needed in everyday life and business. After all, entrepreneurs need both qualities to succeed.
Don’t let anyone dissuade you from using these tips:
1. Have a P. O. Box and pick up your own mail
Embezzlement is a widespread problem for small business. Unless you’re fortunate to have honest employees in starting out, make sure you’re the only person to see the mail first.
You’ll want first peek at all checks, invoices and other correspondence. Obviously, you’ll need other checks and balances but this will help.
2. Perform credit checks in addition to background checks
It isn’t enough to do a background check on applicants. Your job applications should indicate applicants will undergo a credit check, too. They must sign it before doing a credit check and before they’re hired.
Periodically, perform background and credit checks after a person is hired.
Otherwise, not only are you at-risk but so are your customers. Should an employee steal from a customer, you’ll be liable for damages both financially and to your business reputation.
3. Establish an approved vendor list
Don’t let employees order product or services from any company not approved by you in advance.
4. When you add employees, include women
If you have male customer-service staff, get the opinion of women in your company. Have the women interview male applicants. Look for chivalry and good manners. Savvy women can spot men who might alienate your female customers.
5. Watch your cash flow to build your reserves
Know how much cash is needed to operated your business. When you’re fortunate to have extra cash, don’t keep it on hand. Put it in an interest-bearing account to build your cash reserves. You can instruct your bank to do it.
… in the 21st century, common sense and courage are needed in everyday life and business.
6. Use talent-photo releases
Testimonials are good for business. But make certain to ask people whose pictures you take for testimonials on your Web site and sales collateral for their written OK. This is what we call in the marketing business as a talent release.
7. Prevent plagiarism
Double-check the work of anyone who writes in your behalf, especially marketing materials. Check for copyrights. If you use someone else’s content, you could be sued.
Many employees are tempted to take shortcuts and plagiarize competitors’ copy. You can check copy with free plagiarism checks and search engines.
That goes for the use of photos, too. If you use Google, you can right click on a picture to see if it’s used by anyone else.
8. If you have one vehicle or a fleet of vehicles driven by employees, install GPS tracking
Many companies have been hurt by their moonlighting employees. To save money, customers are tempted to let workers perform services at a discount. So reduce the odds that an employee will double back to moonlight with your customers – by performing work off the clock.
You’ll also benefit in productivity and safety. GPS tracking is also a great tool if you have disputes with your customers.
9. Follow up with customers
Every time you send an employee to perform work for a customer, follow up with a courtesy call. Ask customers if they’re satisfied and whether they were at home. Regarding the latter point, you might need to know later in an investigation of an employee.
10. Follow your instincts
Whenever you sense something is wrong, act on it. You might not know why you feel uncomfortable, but act on your subconscious concerns in all situations – from hiring people to monitoring their performance.
From the Coach’s Corner, here are more entrepreneurial tips:
10 Small Business Tips for Time Management, Profits — For small business owners, here are 10 tips to save you time and money to increase profits.
4 Tips to Protect Your Business with a Trademark — The last thing you want as a business is for your company logo and name to be stolen. The trick to avoid such a travesty is to be trademarked by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
10 Tips for Hiring the Right Attorney for Your Business — In running a successful business, you typically need the services of three professionals — a good tax accountant or CPA, insurance agent and an attorney. Know that talent and skill levels are crucial for your success.
11 Tips for the Best Business Mobile Web Site — If you operate a retail business, it’s increasingly important for your Web site to be easy-to-use for mobile users. The use of smartphones and tablets is skyrocketing, especially among Millennials — young adults aged 32 and under. Studies also show the majority of mobile aficionados use their devices to access the Internet. Such data continually changes — mobile sales and use of the Internet is consistently rising.
No Cash? 8 Tips to Organically Grow Your Business — Organically growing a business is lot like organic farming. Organic farmers rich sources of organic matter for growth. If you’re like many entrepreneurs, it probably makes sense to grow organically.
“Common sense is not so common.”