The unfortunate myths believed by countless business owners and managers dictate the way many small businesses operate. Regrettably, these mythologies take root in the minds of small business owners and are difficult to remove.
In fact, these myths tend to act as mental roadblocks throughout a business professional’s career, causing needless grief.
You would think, after years of working in a chaotic environment, business professionals would wake-up to the fact that something is WRONG.
In other words, the myths they’ve accepted as FACT are, in fact, bogus!
The good news is, those enlightened by proven business methods avoid the damage caused by believing and practicing delusional myths, circulated throughout the business world.
To be blunt, these are those who KNOW they have been the problem all along; and FIX it.
Three examples of the unfortunate myths circulating among the uninformed:
Great People Are the Answer for a Great Business
Some years ago, a sales professional, I’ll call Carol, working at a commercial printing company in Southern California, was struggling with constant quality complaints from her clients. She had been employed with our company before moving to California; whereby, becoming very knowledgeable about Total Quality Management Systems.
With that as a background, one of her clients called to complain about their just-delivered job. With the customer’s complaint in hand, she paid the production manager a visit. Bear in mind, he was already growing tired of her continual questioning, concerning lack of quality control on her clients’ jobs.
Exasperated, the production manager reprimanded her in a very demeaning way; telling her to stop bothering him. Furthermore, he told her, if she didn’t like the way the plant operated, to see the company’s president.
Carol did just that! However, meeting with the president, she found him also unsupportive of her quality complaints. “It’s YOUR JOB, as a salesperson, to smooth over ALL client complaints!”
But Carol persisted for the need of quality SYSTEMS to address client’s complaints, and to STOP errors from recurring. She went on to explain that inconsistent quality was hurting her sales. In fact, she said, some clients are threatening to leave.
Angrily, he shot back, “WE DON’T NEED GOOD SYSTEMS, WE NEED GOOD PEOPLE.”
Truth is, you need both!
That salesperson just mentioned, was one of the best we ever employed. She resigned shortly after that meeting with the California owner/president. Carol decided NOT to work in chaos and an environment where process improvement suggestions are unwelcome.
Quality Systems Are for Large Businesses
During the early years of operating a printing company, we came face-to-face with “dysfunctionalism.” As our business grew, mistakes and miscommunications also grew, exponentially. In desperation, I began reading and reaching out to other business owners and quality control specialists for advice.
My first call was to my brother, also a small business owner, who advised me that, “Chaos in small business is normal! In fact,” he said, “that’s just the way it is. You should’ve known that before starting a business.”
The next piece of advice I received was from a business consultant for ISO (International Standards Organization). When informing him of the size of our small company, he said, “These in-depth types of quality standards and systems are for larger companies.”
Shocked, hearing his price for the implementation of ISO quality standards, it had me thinking I might need to reconsider systemization. Moreover, his consulting was an ongoing pay-as-you-go deal.
However, undeterred, I shared with him my vision of one day becoming a much larger company and asked if he had any reading materials on quality standards.
To his credit, he sent several large 4-inch binders on quality control systems related to ISO standards, which I devoured with great enthusiasm. In truth, I had finally realized that living in total chaos was just too miserable, and something had to change. Like ME!
Change we did. As a result, our errors and all non-conformance went from a whopping 7% of total sales, down to 1-1/2% and less. Whereby, proving that any size business can implement quality control systems that pay huge dividends.
Owners Need Employee Approval and Buy-in before Implementing Proven Methodologies
As W. Edward Deming, the Quality Guru, believed… QUALITY STARTS AT THE TOP.
For this reason, when making the all-important decision to change management methods, the business owner should be heavily involved in that change until all key systems are up and running.
Consequently, the owner steadily gains freedom from daily operations by delegating, systematically, each “hat” he or she no longer wants to wear. This gives them more time to grow their business and much more personal time.
That being the case, why should a business owner seek approval of ANYONE! Besides, it is the business owner’s vision that’s at stake, NOT the employees.
The dream of most small business owners is to have their company run without the need of them being there daily. Moreover, freedom to do the things they’ve always dreamed, but never had the time or money.
There are many other unfortunate myths floating around in the business world, causing owners and managers much pain. However, those enlightened by proven business methods have learned to differentiate myth from truth, avoiding the pain of disorganization as they grow, systematically.
Did I mention, great systems WORK, and that’s not a myth!