It’s interesting to see a lot of small businesses flourish in India these days. Though a lot of them have smaller revenues, they really excel in their own segments. Some of them clock big volumes, but with tiny margins. Yet they progress and grow quarter on quarter, because they have happy clients. This set of clients generally have a healthy cash flow and working capital. Now, there is another set of businesses that are always unhappy, irrespective of the industry, type of business, big or small. They go through cash flow and working capital challenges all the time. Their clients are generally unhappy and their installations have issues.
Why do you think is this difference? They are all in the same industry with similar clients in the same market with similar products & services, procuring from same suppliers, etc. Then why do you think that some of them are healthy and the others not so healthy?
“Customers will never love a company, until the employees love it first.” – Simon Sinek, Author – Start with why
This is a big topic and especially for large organizations. Companies across the globe spend millions of dollars on consultants, analysis and activities to make sure they get somewhere close to it. They hire senior professionals and Human Resources leaders to get this corrected if they see a violation. In spite of all this, they still go through tough times, because the volumes are high and also the company is exposed to many external factors, which is not in their control.
Typically, this is not the case with small businesses or startups. They have a lot of control over many aspects. They don’t need to manage thousands of employees, hundreds of clients, many processes, vendors, external media, etc. This is precisely why startups are more agile. The secret sauce to success is, ‘Take care of your employees, and they will take care of your clients.’ This is the most simple technique and mantra for success in any startup or small business. Trust me, you can never go wrong on this.
I have seen many small companies that have great products, founders/directors struggle because of their inability to know and understand the importance of this. As a founder you might be extremely good with technology, marketing and operations, and you can run a company seamlessly; but only to a certain level. If you want to grow the company to bigger level or take the existing company to a lot more higher level, that’s when your team comes in and a lot of things have to be done by your team, irrespective of your liking or not. Don’t worry if your team does the job with same perfection as you do or in the same time, they will learn it and do better. Like I always say, ‘Hire for attitude, train for skills.’
It strongly goes back to a fundamental principle call delegation with accountability. As a leader, you need to believe this than anyone else. Once you believe, you will start implementing and once implemented, everything else will fall in place. We can learn a lot from great leaders like Richard Branson, Ratan Tata, Larry Ellison, Jeff Bezos who could successfully manage multiple businesses at a time.
“Treat employees like they make a difference, and they will.” – Jim Goodnight