When people talk about business success, they often focus on key indicators of performance. These are usually hard figures like revenue, new accounts, and growth metrics that can easily be identified and interpreted. However, there’s another measure of business success that you may be less familiar with – choosing the right clients and the concept of alignment.
As a business owner or manager, it’s critical to align yourself with the right employees, clients, and vendors. When you’re first starting a business it’s common to grasp on to any client that comes along or to hire any person that seems like they can do the job. However, achieving team alignment requires you to think carefully about each new hire and every prospective client.
This concept is the backbone and heart of your business; without having the right people in your circle, you simply can’t achieve your full potential.
Choosing the right clients: How can to tell if you don’t have the right employees, clients, or vendors?
A lot of the time, you’ll know internally that something is off when your team or clients are not aligned. It’ll feel like there’s constantly a conflict between you and the people you’re interacting with. The conflict may largely be internal, but there are some external signs that you can watch for. The following issues indicate that you might need to make personnel changes:
- Undesirable feelings: It’s normal for a business to be challenging, but it shouldn’t feel depressing. If you leave each workday feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, sad, discouraged, or upset, it’s time to take a close look at your team to see if anyone is contributing to these feelings. Perhaps you have an employee who constantly complains and misses deadlines, or a client that can’t be satisfied, no matter how hard you try. All it takes is one person to throw you out of alignment.
- Lost time and energy: Problematic employees, unreasonable clients, and unreliable vendors can quickly sap you of time and energy. You only have so much of these resources each day, and ideally, you can put your time and energy toward positive things like growth and future improvements. If you’re constantly having to speak with a tough employee or soothe an upset client over the phone, you’ll feel sapped of energy before you’ve even had the chance to focus on the things that truly matter for your business.
- Lack of time: Misalignment leads to lost time. If a car is trying to drive in a straight line from point A to point B, but it’s constantly lured onto side roads and caught in heavy traffic, it’ll never make it to its ultimate destination. When it comes to business, the wrong people are like those side roads and traffic jams – they divert you from your ultimate goal and keep you busy with pointless tasks and unreasonable requests.
- Lost money: Ultimately, working with the wrong people affects your bottom line. You don’t want to waste resources on bad employees or see your hourly rates diminish after spending hours with a demanding client. When you align yourself with the right people, every dollar will feel well-spent and well-earned.
Why do you need the right team?
If your team is in alignment, you won’t feel the strain of conflict. You may still have stress and occasional issues you have to deal with since that’s the lot of any business owner, but your people won’t be the problem.
You’ll feel confident knowing that you can trust your employees. They’ll be reliable, dependable, and honest people who respect you and your clients. You’ll work cohesively and navigate disagreements in a way that doesn’t ruin your team morale.
You’ll also have trust in your clients. You’ll know that even if you make a small mistake, they’re reasonable and will work with you toward a solution. Both sides will be happy knowing that their needs are met.
You’ll feel good about the vendors you work with. They’ll be trustworthy and dependable, and they’ll prioritise your needs and requests so that you don’t lose money or time. You’ll feel like you’re working together toward the common goal of serving clients.
Having the right people in your corner allows you to focus on business efforts that will truly make a difference, such as client acquisitions, growth, marketing, and strategy. You’ll also be happier overall and less distracted since you won’t have difficult people to deal with. Being in a positive mindset will do wonders for helping you achieve your business goals.
What should you do if your alignment is off?
When your alignment is off due to working with the wrong people, it’s almost always correctable – but it may not necessarily be easy. That employee who constantly misses deadlines may be sweet and friendly, or that demanding client might be a gateway to a much bigger opportunity.
In sum, you’ll have some tough decisions to make that will typically involve letting employees or clients go. Weigh each decision carefully, and use the AQUA model as a guide:
A – Acknowledge: Acknowledge that there’s an issue that has to be corrected, and identify what needs to happen in order to bring your team and business back into alignment. Tuning out conflict is a common response for many people, but you have to face issues head-on – even if it’s uncomfortable – to protect yourself and your business.
Q – Question: Ask the right questions, and make sure that you’ve explored every angle of the decision you need to make. Look at different outcomes and weigh them to ensure that you feel confident about your decision-making.
U – Understand: Understand the issue at hand, and make an effort to understand the people who are involved. Listen to your instincts – if someone deserves a second chance, figure out how to structure that chance so that you can quickly determine if they should stay or go.
A – Answer/action: Settle on a decision, and take action. The action may be uncomfortable, and you might shy away from it – but ultimately, you’ll be at peace with yourself after that tough conversation with an employee or client. And the decisiveness will prepare you for quick decision making in the future.
How can Vibrant Business help you?
People aren’t the only source of stress for business owners. Vibrant Business can help alleviate your stress by taking care of all of your business’s financial needs. From tax and accounting to bookkeeping, coaching, and mentoring, we can help you plan and structure your business to achieve your milestones. This means you’ll have more time to focus on the parts of your business that you’re passionate about.
For more information on these services, please contact us or book a time to chat here.