As we begin 2012, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve already heard people talk about focus and better time management as opportunities for improvement. While these are always great to focus on, for small business owners, I think there’s another key area that often gets neglected until well after it’s too late.
In any small business, there are really only three things that we do: lead generation, fulfillment, and customer service.
Lead generation is about generating more prospects for your business that might be interested in what you have to sell.
Fulfillment is the creation and delivery of your product or service. For some this might actually be making the items and for others it might be preparation for meetings or participation in the meeting itself.
And Customer Service is where most other remaining activities fall. This includes invoicing, scheduling client deliveries or appointments, financing, or dealing with any other client issues.
I like this simplification of functions in the business, because it helps me understand the cause and effect relationship that exists. And what seems interesting to me, when I ask my clients about the amount of time they spend marketing their business, it’s usually one of those things they rarely get to or they describe something that is much more event-based—where they do something once or twice a year.
So if I think logically about the relationship between these functions, when I’m successful at lead generation, I’ll need to spend time with fulfillment and customer service. And the less time I spend on lead generation, the less time I’ll need to dedicate to fulfillment or customer service. Make sense?
Some might say that’s too much of a simplification, but that’s also one of my focuses for 2012—the KISS (keep it simple silly) principle.