REACH OUT TO THESE RESOURCES TO HELP YOUR COMPANY SUCCEED
When you're in charge of a business, there are days when you feel like its entire future rests on you. It seems like you're pushing the company forward by sheer force of will. This can leave you feeling isolated and alone.
To counter this, Jack Welch established "listening posts" when he was CEO at General Electric so he could meet with others to get unvarnished news and views and break out of his isolation booth. No matter what size your company is, you can benefit from this approach as you identify your business solutions. Here are four ways to go about it:
1. Listen to your customers
Customer satisfaction can get lost as employees clamor for attention, proposal work piles up and other concerns consume your time. But it goes without saying that your company's success depends on customers more than anyone else. Set aside time each day to gather customers' thoughts about your company. You can learn much simply by leaving your office periodically to talk with them personally.
Use printed feedback forms and emails to ask how you can improve your company's offerings. Also keep an eye on the ways customers interact with your company and make adjustments accordingly. In this YouTube video, Dennis Crowley, who developed the Foursquare social site from an idea he had in graduate school, notes that he was able to improve the site in ways he never expected by paying close attention to how his customers use it.
2. Meet with vendors
Business owners often think of vendors as mere suppliers, but they can also be great information resources. Vendors learn a lot during their interactions with you, and they probably understand your company's strengths and weaknesses better than you think. They're likely to have insights about your competitors as well, since they may serve others in your industry.
Make it a point to sit down with a vendor every month or so. Provide a big-picture view of your company's needs and goals and invite the vendor to suggest ways to help meet them. Ask the vendor about their business, too. Through your discussion, you might find yourself exploring a new business opportunity unrelated to your current relationship.
3. Network online
Business owners often feel uneasy about getting personally involved in their company's social media efforts, partly because they perceive it as risky. Nevertheless, many are realizing that the benefits of online networking can outweigh the dangers. This infographic shows how businesses are shedding their inhibitions and growing more comfortable with social media.
The key is to be careful about what you say while remaining authentic. If you master this company leadership skill, social sites can become a powerful information resource. Customers won't be shy about sharing their thoughts on your Facebook and Twitter pages, especially if they're talking directly to the owner. Your responsiveness to their suggestions and criticisms can build a tremendous amount of goodwill. Meanwhile, LinkedIn offers a valuable opportunity to get information and advice from your peers.
4. Talk to your banker
You may think of your business banker as simply a provider of financing. But in fact, your banker can be a great source of advice and assistance on business solutions. He or she is likely to be well versed in your industry and can point to pitfalls to avoid and possible opportunities to exploit. Your business banker may be able to introduce you to others with expertise in various aspects of your business.
City National Bank is committed to helping your company prosper. Call us at (800) 773-7100 or requestthat a Relationship Manager contact you.