With the Apprentice starting again, there is a lot of focus on business within the entertainment world. Lord Sugar’s search for an Apprentice always bemuses me, as it highlights a certain way of thinking about what a good business should be.
The focus seems to be on profit. If you don’t make a profit, you’re not successful. Now of course I agree that making a profit is good if you want to stay in business, but should it really be the focus of the business? And how much profit is enough? After all, a £1 profit is also a profit? But they’re always talking about making the shareholders happy, and £1 would not make them happy, for sure.
Personally I believe that a successful company is one that has happy customers, happy staff, happy suppliers and happy shareholders.
Think about that for a minute.
Happy customers, that’s easy enough. After all, happy customers generally means more profit. And you’d be right. But how many companies really think about making their customers truly happy? Plenty of businesses want to charge them the maximum price for the minimum amount of effort.
Happy staff, one of my favourites. Companies that treat their staff the way they would like that staff to treat their customers, generally are a lot more successful than companies that squeeze their staff dry. Who wants to work for a maniac of a boss who only cares about his own pay? If you genuinely care about your staff, they will give back more than you could ever ask of them.
Happy suppliers, now there’s one people often forget. Suppliers are there to give you the best possible service for the lowest possible price. After all, you’re the customer, and isn’t the customer king? But suppliers are incredibly important and if you treat them well, they will be there to help you in the tough times. Don’t always ask for the lowest price, make sure they can make a profit too, so they’ll still be there in 5 years time.
Happy shareholders. They’re the one putting up the money to get you started in the first place, so of course you mustn’t forget them. But I guarantee you that if you always ensure that you have happy customers, happy staff and happy suppliers, the shareholders will automatically be happy too!
So if you want to have a business that’s “hired”, remember that there’s more to it than just profit.