Thanks to basketball I was able to attend college on an athletic scholarship. My parents might have been able to send me, and probably would have, but I was grateful they didn’t have to.

I also had the pleasure of playing on a team that achieved some success. The reason we were successful against some very good opponents was due to two things - teamwork and fundamentals.

These same two items are the principle reasons why one small business will succeed and another will fail. In this blog I want to explain how you can use both to make your business more successful during these uncertain times.

Objectives And Strategies

Before playing another team, we would examine the strengths and weaknesses of that team. Then we would assemble some objectives we felt would lead to victory if we executed them properly.

For example, we would want to neutralize the opposing team’s best player as much as possible. The strategy to achieve that goal might be to assign our best defensive player to their best offensive player.

Even the best defensive player will sometimes need help. That’s where the teamwork comes in. While at the same time, good defense comes from hours and hours of practice, strength training and determination to be the best possible player.

These same tactics apply to business. Let’s apply these same basic principles to a small business. Let’s say our objective is to increase sales in the first quarter of 2016. What are some strategies we can use to make that happen?

  • Objective: Can you attract more customers?
    Strategy: Analyze your current customer base. Who are your best customers? What characteristics do they have in common? Who are similar customers you might be missing.
  • Objective: Can you increase your average sale? If your average sale is $100.00 how will you increase that to $110.00?
    Strategy: Train your salespeople to show value and not rely on price. You need salespeople, not order takers.
  • Objective: Add on Sales: Increase profits with add on sales.
    Strategy: Teach sales people to “package” products together. Never sell a dress shirt without a matching tie. Shoes without socks.
  • Objective: Sell your most profitable products and services.
    Strategy: Make sure salespeople know your most profitable products and services and how to sell them. Have sales people practice on each other for better product presentations.

Obviously I could go into great detail for each of the above objectives but space prohibits that. The point to take away is that sitting down and defining what you need to do to keep the doors open in 2016 and beyond.

There are going to be a host of problems that you will have no control over. Higher gas prices, corporate layoffs, housing market, taxes, the credit market, to name just a few. With a plan of what you want to accomplish you will at least have a fighting chance at achieving the success you want.

Teamwork & Fundamentals

If everyone in your organization knows what the company goals are then they can tailor their job to make sure those goals are met. At the same time meet with your key employees. Or, if you are a small company, meet with each employee, one on one.

Each employee works for you for a reason. They have their own goals that have nothing to do with the company. Your job is to explain to them that they cannot achieve their personal goals unless the company achieves its goals. If the company fails, the job is lost, and so are the employee’s goals.

Some Final Thoughts

Business is teaching the fundamentals that make each transaction flow with everyone doing their job seamlessly. It’s also working together as a team. Each part of the transaction goes though a series of people. It might start with the salesperson and end with the delivery person including several people in between.

We are poised to embark on a very uncertain journey together. We're going to have a new government and a precarious financial horizon before us. It would be nice to close the doors, go home, and wait for better times. Unfortunately we can’t do that. So you have a decision to make.

Can you create an unbeatable team, that knows the fundamentals of your business? Can you clearly define your objectives and create achievable strategies to meet those objectives? If you can answer, “yes” to both of those questions; then your chances of success will be greatly improved.

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