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Business

Pivot! Pivot! Pivot!

BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong - The Philippine Star

I watched the long-awaited reunion of the famous 10-year series “Friends.” Found it enjoyable.

As they talked about some of their most memorable scenes, they all remembered the episode entitled “The One with the Cop.”

Ross bought a new couch and wanted to carry it up to his apartment with his roommates, thereby saving the delivery fee. Chandler and Rachel helped navigate the tight staircase carrying up the heavy couch screaming “Pivot!” repeatedly.

Then they got themselves into a tight spot. The scene was funny and unforgettable.

Things like that happen when there is no careful research into the dimension of the couch, the measurement of the stairways, plus the sizes of the people carrying the furniture, which would not have been a problem with professional carriers because they know their craft. They understand what they are doing, they have the experience, and most importantly, they know.

I have heard speakers say, “Trust your gut feel.” But seasoned entrepreneurs already have an armory of business experience and knowledge. Their intuition is not operating in a vacuum. Starters in business do not have this, so when they say they trust their gut, it may mean something else. Perhaps it’s indigestion.

I have also heard speakers say, “Fail faster, succeed sooner!” “Failure” is over-rated. They are presented as a red badge of honor for those who fail in business. Seasoned business people take educated risks and know how to minimize damage. They work their resources well, allowing a considerable margin for error, but they have the buffer to absorb losses.

And then the cry of “Move fast, break things” as popularized by Mark Zuckerberg, moving fast without ample knowledge and preparation is a disaster in the making. I have yet to listen to a speaker quote Gandhi saying: “Speed is irrelevant if you are going in the wrong direction.”

Seeking knowledge is of the utmost importance. Here is a list for your consideration:

• Market knowledge - watch developments in your sector. How are your competitors performing? How much are they charging? Are there any new entrants to the market? Have any significant new products been launched?

Customer knowledge - you should know your customers’ needs and what they think of you.

• Employee and supplier relationships - I learn the most from my suppliers; they are equipped with market research and surveys, and are more than willing to share their info with me.

• Business environment - Regulatory, politics, the economy, technology, society, and the environment could all affect your business’ development, so you need to keep yourself informed.

• Professional associations and trade bodies - academic publications, government publications, reports from research bodies, trade, and technical magazines.

• Trade exhibitions and conferences - can provide an easy way of finding out what your competitors are doing and seeing the latest innovations in your sector.

• Trusted advisors and professional experts - Self-explanatory.

Let me conclude with another story.

A group of movers arrived at a building and had to deliver the client’s bed to the 18th floor. Unfortunately, there was a power failure. The boys wanted to wait till the electricity comes back. But the supervisor says, “Boys! Don’t whine! Let us delight the customer!” (another cliche). They took the bed up to the 18th floor using the stairs.

The team started taking the heavy bed up the stairs and were exhausted. The supervisor kept on pushing and chanting: “You can do it! No pain, no gain!” Two hours later, they had made it many floors up, but there was still no electricity.

The supervisor’s phone rings. The person on the other end is the client wanting to know why the bed has not arrived. The supervisor reasoned with him and said they were trying their best to bring the bed up the building to his floor. The client is mad. Said something to the supervisor that shocked him. The team wonders what happened.

The supervisor says – “Boys, I have good news and bad news.”

Team member – “What’s the good news?”

Supervisor – “We were supposed to go 18 floors; we have reached the 16th floor.”

Team member – “Awesome! But what’s the bad news?”

Supervisor – “We are in the wrong building!”

This is why having knowledge is very important.

 

 

(Francis Kong’s highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership Master Class Online will run from Oct. 13 to 15. For inquiries and reservations, contact April at +63928-559-1798 or and for more information, visit www.levelupleadership.ph)

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