Things I’ve Learnt This Month

As August draws to a close, here is a selection of random stuff I’ve learnt (or had to re-learn) as a Business Owner this month.

  • Risk Management doesn’t just mean Health and Safety – it means planning for the worst in any scenario
  • Invoicing on time is really, really important
  • Taking on employees won’t magically free up all of your time to do more important things – in fact it will take up more of your time… initially, at least
  • Understand that some suppliers simply don’t understand good Customer Service – by all means register your complaint at their feckless behaviour, but don’t expect them to respond to it – don’t try to change them, simply don’t give them your business anymore
  • If an Supplier you’ve never dealt with before says they’ve got an item in stock on their web-site – don’t believe them
  • If an Supplier you’ve never dealt with before says they’ve got an item in stock over the telephone – still don’t believe them
  • Don’t deal with Suppliers you’ve never dealt with before – unless they’ve been recommended to you by a respected peer
  • If you’ve not put your prices up in the last twelve months, put them up today – it’s the quickest way to increase profits without winning any new work
  • Get your Engineers to carry spare USB, Ethernet, Modem and Power Cables in their work-kit and leave ample spares on client sites – when you’re ultra-busy and have to waste 30 minutes travel-time in a round-trip to collect a £0.69p cable, this point becomes especially relevant
  • Always copy the SBS Installation CD’s onto the Server Hard Disk to save yourself a trip to site
  • Never ask a client to put a SBS Installation CD into a Server CD-ROM – they’ll probably end up putting in the Parallel Port, or the UPS, or the Toilet Cistern…
  • Label every plug for future reference
  • Never remove an unlabelled plug assuming it’s a monitor – you’ll undoubtedly find it’s a server…
  • When you’re feeling a bit uninspired, aimlessly Facebook is not the place to look to for inspiration – read a chapter from a good motivational book instead
  • You can’t do it all on your own – don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • When you’re feeling low, kind words from peers can be a real boost
  • And remember that a kind word from you to a peer might help lift them when they need it too
  • Don’t work on a problem for more than an hour before asking someone for a fresh perspective
  • Don’t miss breakfast or lunch, and regularly get a good nights sleep
  • If something is urgent, pick up the ‘phone and call them instead of e-mailing them
  • Been putting off making a ‘phone call? What’s stopping you from making it right now?

If any of the above seems bleeding obvious, then that’s because it most certainly is – but I’m guessing you’ve got a similar story to share so feel free to leave comments with your stunning realisations, I’d love to read ’em. 🙂


2 Responses to “Things I’ve Learnt This Month”

  1. 1 Gareth August 29, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    "Thank you" buys a lot and costs little.

  2. 2 James August 29, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    August\’s Lessons:
    Assume the customer is stupid.
    Plan everything for them
    Document everything for them
    Document the entire time line of a project – highlighting their responsibilities
    Add a 300% margin for error when BT are involved with the Phones / Broadband / Website…in fact make that 500%.
    Don\’t let them run away with their own expectations of a project – establish their expectations, then beat them (the expectations, not the customer with a stick however tempting)
    Have a spare 3G mobile broadband modem at all times along with a 3G router – yup, BT again!!!
    Despite manufacturer\’s recommendations, 10 PCs and 10 IP phones will run on one 3G connection but don\’t expect it to fly!
     Here\’s to September!

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