In working with most of my clients, I establish a set of priorities with them that is unique to their particular situation, that assists them in growing the value of their business, and helps achieve the goals for their company. My clients often receive from me the established priorities which I intend to focus on in their company, sometimes on a weekly basis. Why establish priorities? According to Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary a priority is “something that is more important than other things and that needs to be done or dealt with first.” (http://www.learnersdictionary.com/search/priority )
Although priorities can and do vary from time to time, I believe there are three areas that should be at the top of the priority list for every company.
- Customers– An organization of any size must constantly give attention and focus to its customers along with building an adequate marketing plan that continually adds new customers. This is where a business starts and why it exists. There is no business without a customer. The late Peter Drucker said it well. “There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer. The customer is the foundation of a business and keeps it in existence. He alone gives employment (Drucker, 2004, p. 80).”
- Employees– The people in a business will make or break the business. A business leader must give constant attention to the quality and training of their people. In discussing the role that luck plays in a company surviving and thriving in an environment of chaos and uncertainty, Jim Collins and Morton Hansen stated, “But the environment doesn’t determine why some companies thrive in chaos and why others don’t. People do. People are disciplined fanatics. People are empirical. People are creative. People are productively paranoid. People lead. People build teams. People build organizations. People build cultures. People exemplify values, pursue purpose, and achieve big hairy audacious goals. Of all the luck we can get, people luck-the luck of finding the right mentor, partner, teammate, leader, friend-is one of the most important (Collins, Hansen, 2011, p.161).”
- Cash Flow– Cash is the lifeblood of a business. Without adequate cash, the business fails. Profits and profit margins are very important and should be a top priority, but cash flow comes first. Companies fail while showing profits. I like what Lou Mobley said, “You can operate a long time without profit, but you can’t survive one day without cash (Kremer, Rizzuto, 2000, p.37).” Know why the cash increased or decreased, know what the cash balance is right now, and know what the estimated cash balance is to be three months from now.
*Drucker, Peter, (2004), The Daily Drucker
*Collins, Jim, Hansen, Morton T. (2011), Great By Choice
*Kremer, Chuck, Rizzuto, Ron (2000), Managing By The Numbers