Are you CRAP at business?

December 11, 2015

OK, so asking 'Are you CRAP at business?' may seem a strange question, but hopefully you are CRAP at business because being so is a true key to business success.

Let's explain....

C is for Confidence:

When you are in business you need to have confidence. It starts from the very beginning, you need to actually have the confidence to start your business, then have the confidence to stay in business. Running a business is not easy, there will be difficult times, and your confidence will get you through the tough times.

Confidence is also needed when it comes to clients or customers, you need to be confident about your products or services, and express that when talking to clients or customers about them. If you come across as knowing what you are talking about, your clients or customers will be more interested in what you are saying which leads to more interest in what you are offering them. If you show nerves, those clients or customers may express more concern in your well-being than what you are offering them.

Also, never fear anyone... It doesn't matter if you are talking to your best pal or someone you don't know. At some point you may even meet celebrities or top well-known business people, they are human and generally have great understanding, so simply try to avoid expressing your excitement in meeting them, and treat them as you would treat any other business contact. Just be you, and be confident that you can fit in with the situation you are in at all times, this will earn you respect from anyone you are looking to do business with.

R is for Research:

Research is a very important aspect of business, you may have heard the saying "You can't sell snow to an Eskimo", the basis of this saying is don't make things difficult for yourself.

You have to consider various factors before you start your business, these include assessing the need for your products or services, whether anyone else if offering the same products or services and the pricing of your products or services. You either need a specific niche or be competitive to attract clients or customers, but this is just a start.

Your success depends on continued research, with products or services this means checking over and over again to see if others are offering the same or similar services, and then seeing their prices. Being cheapest is not really necessary, your price may be higher to reflect your better quality, but you don't want to be excessively dearer either because this could lead to lost sales.

Remember, people like to look at their options. For example many people get three or mores quotes when considering home improvements. This is them doing research, they consider their options and make a decision, much of time that decision is based on various factors, these include how much they like the salesman, what they thought of the quality and how the price compares. Generally, if you present good quality at a good price and your client or customer likes you, it is very likely you'll get the business. Of course, your products or service should speak for themselves, you should know how to present yourself, so the only true issue is going to be the price.... good research of your competitors will help you with this.

Also, if you are meeting people on a business to business basis, research the people you are meeting and the company they represent. A bit of background information could nail down a deal, for example you may have a common interest and this leads to relaxed conversation rather than a tense business stand off. Let's make the assumption you have a meeting with Lord Sugar, you know he is a business mastermind and is on The Apprentice, but do you know how he became successful, the name of his companies, or even if you should call him Lord or Alan?

A is for Amendable: 

You have to be amendable in business, this may be to remain competitive or to ensure you secure a deal.

Profit is obviously important, it's why you're in business in the first place, but it is sometimes better to reduce your profit margin somewhat. Say you have a product with a 20% profit margin, would you rather sell one at full price or sell ten giving your customer a 5% discount?

You may even deal with someone who buys your products, while you use their services. A classic example of this is a paper supplier selling to the printers who print their stationary and leaflets. The paper supplier would usually sell their products with a profit margin, let's say that margin was 20%. The paper suppliers need a leaflet to be printed, so the printers would quote for the printing of the leaflets, but say the paper suppliers offer the printers goods to the value of the cost of the leaflets instead of paying for them, and the printers agree. The printers are happy because they have stock of paper they can use for printing jobs, but look at the paper suppliers side of things... say the printer's quote was for £600, the paper suppliers have given him goods to the value of £600 but this includes their 20% profit margin, without the margin the goods only cost the paper suppliers £500, meaning they effectively saved £100 on the cost of the leaflets. Being amendable can save money.

P is for Practice:  

Practice is seriously important tool in business and comes in various forms.

You may need to practice sales pitches so you can be on your best form in front of prospective clients or customers, this is a case of 'practice makes perfect'.

If you sell products it is best for you to use the products yourself, this way you know first hand what the customer is going to experience, you can explain the various benefits of the products, give tips on how to use the products and so on, this is a case of 'practice what you preach'.

Of course, you are bound to have times when things go wrong, a simple example is not knowing the answer to a question that has been asked, now you could simply guess at the answer but then there could be consequences, for example your company sells chocolate bars and you are asked if the chocolate bars contain nuts, you are not sure but know there is a 'fruit and nut' bar, so you say "Obviously, the fruit and nut bar does but the others don't". On that basis, your customer buys some chocolate bars and shortly after they are suffering with nut allergy symptoms. OK, you may think that the customer should know what there are allergic too, in fact they probably do, but they trusted you to know your products. Therefore, it is better to simply say that you're not sure about something, and seek advice. In other words, get in the practice of ensuring your give out correct information rather than guessing and hoping for the best, there is no shame in not knowing everything.

If you have a really bad day, get in the practice of putting it behind you and starting afresh the next day. If you have a problem, don't let it get worse, look for a solution to it, this way you can deal with it next time.

So, let's ask the question again....  Are you CRAP at business? Hopefully, by now you are all saying 'YES'!!

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