Compucare Blog

SME Decision Makers & the Importance of “NO”

Clocks And Business Owner B

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” Steve Jobs

Every SME owner should know their core priorities. We must be able to maintain a strategic focus in order to arrive at our desired destination. Take the time to plan your mid and long-term projects. Break them down into short-term goals as well as daily to-do lists. When you know what’s on your plate – you are better equipped to judge the potential impact of adding extra slices of “opportunity” to it… If done consistently, over-committing (just like overeating) can cause high blood pressure, heart diseases, stress, frustration, etc.

The business world is a buffet of opportunities, but you don’t have to take them all just because they’re available.

Why not ask yourself the following questions prior to making a decision:  

  1. Is this opportunity in-line with my long-term vision? 
  1. Will this ‘yes’ delay or negatively impact my ongoing projects? 
  1. What’s the cost of this opportunity loss (can I afford to say “No”)? 
  1. Is this the right time – is it a “No” for now and a possible “Yes” later?

Having too much on your plate is not a sign of success. Over-committed businesses make plentiful mistakes (diminished service/product quality). The price of over-commitment can be high, and one should remember that costs aren’t always tangible (e.g. dedicated labour or refunds). What about those intangible costs? For instance: loss of brand reputation, customer dissatisfaction, dealing with complaints and issues that steal time which should be allocated to serving your clients and making money… Furthermore, remember that your time and resources are limited. If you say “Yes” to a so-so opportunity today you may have to say “No” to a Great Opportunity tomorrow.

Here are four things we believe an SME owner should say ‘No’ to: 

  1. Doing things your employees should be doing (pitching in all the time or micromanaging may seem harmless, but those minutes add up detracting from your bottom line;
  1. Clients who don’t respect your work and/or time e.g. consistently fail to pay (on time) or continue to ignore your professional advice and then blame you for the consequences;

Who are the people that make your organisation? Click here to read Business & People

  1. Taking on too many projects incl. collaborations, joint  ventures, ideas (yours and those of others)
  1. Usual everyday non-critical requests and demands placed on you by yourself or others.

Click here to get more tips on a Small Business Owner’s Work Life Balance

Besides the above mentioned, one must watch out for boredom and other emotional triggers (e.g. excitement stirred up by new ventures). A business owner’s schedule is bound to include some routine tasks which need to be completed over and over and over again… Timely, polite refusals are like healthy borders that protect your organisation from distractions. You cannot be everything to everyone – be selective and purposeful, so you can succeed and stay sane…

Stay true to your business’ vision and values. If you do, your organisation will be better positioned to flourish and your life (as well as work) will be more satisfying. “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” Jim Rohn

If you’re not accustomed to saying “No” it may feel strange to do so at first. When that happens, just read this or a similar article again and don’t worry – practice makes perfect! Saying “No” when necessary doesn’t mean you’re selfish or lazy even though some might disagree (especially those who want to hear ‘Yes’). Pay no mind to temporary feelings of guilt (it’s just a feeling) and remember that ‘No’ is a complete sentence

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Compucare is an IT Support Provider based in London. We have been delivering reliable, personal and innovative IT support & services to SMEs and Charities for over 25 years.

Tips for small & medium sized enterprises.

Business & Money

Image Post Business Money

“It’s not how much money you make, but how much you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for.” Robert Kiyosaki

 Money problems are reported to be the biggest challenge for SMEs.

Oftentimes, however, small and medium sized businesses suffer not because they’re unable to make money. Money management is where the problem lies.

This post is not so much about how to get revenue. On this note, we’ll quote Jim Rohn who said: “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” For the purpose of this article, let’s assume that we’ve got that covered. Great, so what’s next?

Do your numbers look good on the balance sheet? They do? Nice! What about those easily accessible cash reserves though? Are they sufficient? If not, consider direct and indirect effects of not having enough cash:

  • Inability to pay your staff
  •  Inability to maintain standard business operations
  •   Bad business decisions made under pressure e.g. accepting bad clients (non-payers, etc.)

Those are just a few… What can a business owner do to not be found in a cash-low spot?

Get paid in full and on time

Cash today is much better than cash tomorrow. Would you agree?

  • Offer incentives & encourage clients to pay sooner rather than later.
  • Don’t ignore late payments – call or send friendly, but direct e-mail reminders.
  • Manage your clients’ credit schemes – some wait too long allowing clients to get into too much debt which puts pressure on the business.
  • Collect deposits or get paid upfront before ordering stock or doing the work, especially if it’s a new client. You should not be left without if they change their mind.

Manage your own Credit and debt

We’ve seen too many business owners ignoring debt collectors banging on their doors.

Ignoring the bailiffs won’t send them away

One must find a way to pay…

Don’t spend an assumed future income either. What if the money you’ve already spent (in your head) isn’t paid on time, or at all? Don’t spend the money you don’t have just YET. Wait until you physically have it, and then spend if it’s helpful…, which takes us to…

Careless & extravagant spending

“If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need.” Warren Buffet

Question whether you really need to drive this amazing, but expensive company car. Yes, it looks good and may impress prospects. However, don’t buy unnecessary stuff until you can truly afford it, at least. Live below your means – not to the limits. Protect the profit you make – keep it in cash reserves, reinvest in your business or in yourself first (more about investing later). Have a vision for your money because that car company trying to lure you in certainly does!

Finally… Know the state of your finances

Take responsibility for your financial future.

Do you have a bookkeeper? Fantastic! Yet, don’t rely on your accountant only. Keep an eye on things. Your money or lack thereof is your responsibility.

These are simple, but powerful tips which help organisations remain financially free. This article is not exhaustive, and there’s so much left to be said about Business & Money, hence there will be part 3 in which we’ll continue discussing just that.

In the meantime, we hope this post is helpful. Please leave a comment and let us know if it is.

Alternatively, click here to read part 1 “Business & People” or Subscribe via E-mail to receive more valuable content in the future.

Tips for small & medium sized enterprises.

Business & People

Anyone can start a company, but what does it take to build one that stands the test of time? Whether you’re new to business or not, you might have pondered on how to make it work.

Compucare Systems Ltd. have been providing business IT support for over 21 years. We hope you find what we’ve learned during this time helpful. This two-part, non-exhaustive article focuses on two major issues i.e. Business Meeting Photo Pixabaypeople and money

It is said that businesses which focus on people more than they focus on anything else are the ones that thrive, so who are the people that make or break your business???

Business Partnerships

 You can’t do a good business with a bad person. Find the right people to work with and you can’t go wrong.” – Richard Branson

It’s impossible to work together unless you agree. Choose the right people with the right skillsets or assets, and then let them do what they do best. Communicate, but don’t interfere. Set common goals, but respect each other’s individual ways of getting there. Remember the bottom line i.e. what’s best for the client and the business. This applies to direct business partners and to all other partnerships a company needs to succeed.

 The Team

 “Great things in business are never done by one person. They are done by a team of people.” Steve Jobs

 Employ the right people (experts with good attitudes). Listen and talk to your team. Employees are more likely to do well when they feel understood and valued. Dissatisfied team members frustrate their clients and colleagues. Content individuals are more productive and much easier to deal with. Communication is key. Let the team know what’s expected of them. Setting expectations clearly decreases the need for micromanagement. Don’t lower your standards, but be fair. Don’t be afraid to let go of relationships that don’t work and won’t work, but do what you can to help your staff succeed.

 Customers

 “We are not in the coffee business serving people, we are in the people business serving coffee.” Howard Schultz (Starbucks’ CEO) 

 Nope, we don’t sell coffee. We are an IT Service Provider. In principle, however, we completely agree with Howard! Listen to your clients (don’t assume) – they are the best feedback source you can ever hope for. Small business owners often have the privilege of dealing with clients directly. Why not take advantage of it? Keep listening, and you will learn how to serve them better – there’s always a better way.

Do your clients like you? In today’s competitive market, this really could make or break a business. It pays to be nice to people and it’s best to employ people who are nice to people. Having said that, the most successful companies make an effort to take clients’ fondness to the next level.

“If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.” Zig Ziglar

 Be honest, don’t exaggerate your offerings

  • Deliver on your promises in a timely manner
  • Make amendments if for whatever reason you can’t

Business is about building relationships – gaining and keeping trust. We can’t please everyone, but we can try (do our part). It doesn’t matter what we sell and to whom. We sell to people and with people, so let’s focus on people first…

Click here to read part 2 subtitled: “Business & Money” or please subscribe via e-mail RIGHT HERE to receive valuable content for SMEs & Charities in the future.