6 Most Common Reasons Businesses Fail – Part 3

by Brian on April 21, 2010

There are several things that will cause a business fail. 6 common reasons I see businesses fail are:

  1. Lack of a Common Goal
  2. Bad Hires
  3. Keeping Information Departmentalized.
  4. Treating Employees Like Children
  5. Not Knowing Cost
  6. False Pride & Ego

Today we’re looking at Keeping Information Departmentalized.

Why some business owners and department heads think they need to keep everything a secret, I have no idea.

I’ve seen time and time again where department heads act as the sole speaker for their departments acting as major bottlenecks.

These people feel the need to be in control of every detail of their department.

This is called insecurity.

Unless your business is the military or something to do with top secret government stuff, there is no need to try to keep information departmentalized.

One of the best things you can do is let free flowing communication between departments happen.

If a Customer Service Rep (CSR) is having an issue with a client, they should be able to and feel comfortable getting the Sales Rep on the phone for a 3 way call to take care of the situation.

If a CSR is on the phone with a client and sees the client is behind on a payment, have the CSR transfer the client to an Accounts Receivable Rep (AR) before helping with the client issue.

Be sure to have the AR Rep tell the client up front, “Mr. Client, I need to collect your payment information for X and I’ll be able to get you right back over to your CSR to assist you with your needs… We accept Visa and MasterCard, which do you prefer?”

There should never be a need for any management to get involved in any of these scenarios.

When information is bottle necked in a company it alienates the employees. It creates an “us vs them” mentality between departments. That isn’t a healthy work environment.

The other “us vs them” mentality comes from management and employees.

When the only song a man is singin’ is “The Sun is Shining” you know there’s a storm a brewin’… Unknown

I’ve held managing roles for several years. I feel everything except for personal information should be made public. I think the company’s numbers should be made known to the employees.

I feel every employee’s sales numbers, money collected, money saved and every other way that each position is evaluated should be made for all in the company to see. Along with what is considered below average, average, and above average.

If a company is losing money… it shouldn’t be a surprise to employees if the company downsizes.

I’ve seen a lot of business owners try to keep their entire staff in the dark and keep secrets from them. They will pretend everything is great, when in reality they are borrowing from their credit cards to pay payroll.

If your company is on the verge of failing, let your staff know. Yes, some might jump ship… But if everyone comes together with a common goal of saving the company and are given that opportunity, you won’t be looked at like a scumbag…

If things go south, at least you gave them a fighting chance and a way to walk away from the company with their head held high. You might be surprised at how much pride some people take in working for you.

What you can do right now.

Allow open communication in your business.

When employees are trusted and allowed to do their jobs, they will typically do it.  Give employees free rain of communication with each other.

If there are some employees who abuse this, punish the employee… don’t create a protocol. Wait to establish protocols until you really need them. More often than not, you won’t.

Create a display.

It can be a white board or a page on the company Intranet… However it’s done, display how every person in every position is doing and how the company is doing.

Be sure to use “Below Average,” “Average,” and “Above Average.”

This will create a different type of competition. People don’t like being considered average, let alone below average. People will compete with themselves to be considered and measured above average.

Create a Common Goal

Creating a display is a great way to step in and create a common goal for everyone to achieve.

All of these can be implemented in 1 swoop.

If you decide to implement free communication throughout your business, you will have some push-back. Just remember, where you are getting the most resistance is more than likely where information is getting bottle necked at the most.

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