What is the secret to small business success? According to the book Loops: The Seven Keys to Small Business Success by Dr. Mile Chaet and Dr. Stephen Lundin, success in business is all about closing loops – the right loops.
The book follows the summer-long study of Tony, a business student assigned by his professor to learn from the local businesses in his area. His study started with the fitness and health club owned by his parents. He then observed some of his parents’ clients, who are mostly business owners or successful professionals.
From meeting and seeing these entrepreneurs in action, Tony discovered that:
“Success is built one loop at a time. Boiled down, cut to the core, it’s the single most fundamental element of success. Closing open loops.”
But what does “closing open loops,” mean? Closing loops is about task completion. It is doing a task correctly and within the expected time frame. As such, successful people are:
- people of action
- get things done
- closed loops
Successful people know what is important to the business and they get it done. They close loops. Here are the seven essential loops of small business success:
1. Manage the Experience Zones.
While good customer service is important, the key to customer retention is making an emotional connection with customers – and this is best accomplished in your experience zones.
The experience zone is the place in your business with the largest number of customer contacts and experiences that will make an impact on how your customer perceives you as a business. Examples of experience zones are your front desk, or landing pages of your Web site.
2. Build a winning culture.
In order to build a winning culture, you need to act on vision moments, which are manifestations of the company’s vision. Vision moments are specific interactions with your customer that allows you to showcase what the business is all about and what you believe in. It includes going out the extra mile to please your customers. It also includes empowering your employees in order to create unique, memorable and personal experiences for customers. These vision moments are the building blocks of your culture and your brand.
3. Monitor the Fundamentals.
Every business has its own fundamentals, and the key is to ensure that the business fundamentals are running smoothly. You need to continue to develop your goals, action plans and the metrics you need to measure progress. Lose sight of the basics, and you may end up losing your business.
Consider seeking out knowledgeable people who can be your support group to keep you focused on your fundamentals. They can serve as your mentors or advisers dedicated to helping you succeed.
4. Standardize every major process.
For every big loop that needs to be closed, small loops have to be closed first. It is important to standardize processes to help you complete each task in a predictable and consistent manner.
For example, a newspaper delivered to your door each morning is a result of the timely completion of three major processes: writing, printing and delivery. Each process involves the completion of smaller processes. This is the same thing as your business: you need to find the areas in your business where you need to have standardization in place. Determine how much time you can save in standardizing the process. Work your way down from the most profitable activity.
Innovation is the key ingredient of any business. It doesn’t necessarily mean getting bigger; it is all about getting better. Standing still is the kiss of death of any business. Your customers have dynamic demands, and you need to keep up with them – and the only way is to be on your toes at all times and innovate. Because if you don’t do it, your competitors will!
6. Live in the real world.
Always plan for the unexpected. Living in the real world means planning accordingly, including having a Plan B or even a Plan C. Leave margins in time, even money. There will always be something that will come up, and you need to prepare for them. Be flexible and ingenious in handling the unforeseen circumstances.
7. Lead by example.
Effective leadership means you lead by example. It means that you begin to fashion yourself into the kind of person that others will follow and emulate. As the business owner, your employees (if any), partners and even the community are watching you. Your impact is magnified. People need to see your passion and commitment.
Other Books on Small Business Success:
- Small Business Success Roadmap: A Winning Step By Step Guide To Extraordinary Entrepreneurship
- School for Startups: The Breakthrough Course for Guaranteeing Small Business Success in 90 Days or Less
- Six Steps To Small Business Success
- Small Business Cash Flow: Strategies for Making Your Business a Financial Success