Why even the smallest businesses should have a philosophy » SMEInsider

Why even the smallest businesses should have a philosophy

Joanna Swash rzJoanna Swash is commercial director for telephone answering specialist Moneypenny. In this guest post, she explains how a customer-focused business philosophy can help drive your small business to greater success.

While most large businesses have a philosophy – an inherent mantra to which they work by – what about everyone else? In the main, small businesses and sole traders work in a business-as-usual way without considering that a philosophy might apply to anyone other than a multi-national corporation. But a solid ethos can help a company of any size understand why they do what they do.

Generally, the bigger the business, the bigger the philosophy. Google has 10 principles it works to including ‘focus on the user’, ‘do one thing really well’, and ‘great just isn’t good enough’. BMW lives by ‘customer-oriented thought and action’, and Apple states that it is ‘on the face of the Earth to make great products’. No one will argue that these companies aren’t living up to these values. But they weren’t created after the successes they had achieved, rather the other way around.

Each board or leader will have taken a long look at what they are setting out to accomplish, and distilled it down to its salient points. Always with a positive twist and almost always with the customer at the heart of whatever it sets out to do.

Likewise, at Moneypenny our overarching belief is ‘treating others as we wish to be treated ourselves’. This simple philosophy remains at the heart of everything we do and has been part of our DNA since day one. Like a virtuous circle, it ensures our staff are happy, which in turn ensures our clients are happy and means we continue to grow.

Having a customer-focused philosophy is a smart idea for every business. Custom, of course, is what keeps a business moving, and satisfied customers will bring in repeat business and referrals. But this can get lost in the mire of the day-to-day, particularly with small businesses or independent traders, who often have fewer staff doing more and more work.

A good business ethos should summarise a company’s core values, goals and belief systems. It wouldn’t make sense for this to be centred on staff development if the managerial practice is to rule with an iron fist, for instance. An owner should ask themselves what type of business they are running, who is in their target market and what is important to the people who make up the business.

Even something as simple as ‘each customer leaves happy’ could have a real effect on a small company’s working practice. By keeping this in mind every time a browser walks into a shop for instance, even if they don’t make a purchase, they will probably walk away feeling good and be inclined to return or talk about their friendly experience with their peers.

It will also influence the type of people who work for the company, and those who may wish to. A small business owner could ask themselves ‘would this person make sure my customers leave happy?’ They can then hire those who match the established culture and align personalities with the business. An indicator of a successful philosophy sees its mantra intrinsically instilled in every employee, running through them like a stick of rock.

With Moneypenny you have one person to answer your calls, someone who gets to know you, your business and how you like to work. Your dedicated Moneypenny PA will impress your callers, and give you more time, a professional edge and considerable cost savings.

  • Charles Whitaker

    Might be worth checking out Reinventing Organisations by Laloux and see if that influnceds how this is done