There is no disputing the fact that a lot of businesses are collapsing in Nigeria and indeed the world over today because of lack of knowledge of what it takes to salvage the situation. This has even led to serious health conditions as many entrepreneurs have become hypertensive and their health state has defied medical solutions. This is because as long as the survival of their businesses is threatened, their own survival too will continue to be under threat. This is why I am reviewing this book this week as a textual solution. I wish you pleasurable reading.
This text entitled 101 Survival Tips for Your Business, with the subtitle Practical Tips to Help Your Business Survive and Prosper is written by Andrew Griffiths, a professional marketing consultant, as well as director of an Australian company called The Marketing Professionals. Griffiths is an accomplished trainer and a reputable public speaker. He specialises in trouble-shooting for companies that are in dire need of professional advice on marketing and customer-related issues.
In the course of his career, Griffiths has owned and operated a number of businesses, including a commercial diving operation, a travel company, an outdoor advertising business and a tourism publication. He equally worked as a dive instructor and commercial diver, door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, gold prospector, international sales manager and gardener.
According to this author, running a business is difficult and demanding even at the best of times. Griffiths says the trick to surviving is to avoid the common hazards that all business operators face along the way. He assures that the 101 practical survival tips offered in this text will guide you to successfully navigate your way through these hazards, and help your business to reach its full potential. This expert says each of these survival tips is based on his many years of experience and sound advice from successful businesses around the world.
Griffiths advises you to choose and apply a new tip each week or use this book as a source of inspiration and guidance when you are setting up a new business. In this book, there are tips to help you build better relationships with your suppliers, your staff and your customers, as well as financial, legal, marketing and personal survival tips. All these tips are designed to highlight common problems and give you a clear course of action that will increase your chances of business survival. As regards structure, this text is segmented into 12 basic sections of 101 tips, in addition to a bonus section containing 20 tips. Section one is christened The future of small business.
In the words of Griffiths here, “Small businesses form the backbone of many economies. As populations grow worldwide, so do the number of small businesses starting up. Millions of people around the world continue to opt for running their own business instead of working for larger organisations. As a result, there is an incredible knowledge and skill base tied up in running these small businesses.”
He adds that there is an enormous amount of expertise and specialist knowledge that thrives in this economic sector, the value of which is often underestimated. Griffiths says experience has shown him that small businesses generally offer far better levels of service than do their larger counterparts, due, in most cases, to the key personnel being involved at the front of business. However, Griffiths says the problem facing most small businesses is the ever-increasing competition from other small businesses, adding that this dilemma is here to stay and even increase.
In section two christened Getting advice survival tips, and which contains the first four tips, this accomplished public speaker discusses the type of help available, tells you to know when to look for help, asks you to embrace technology and save money, and says you might be eligible for a grant. According to this author, “Many governments around the world offer incentives for people to run small businesses. These governments realise that small businesses play a major role in their economy…by distributing products and services to the general public.” He says these governments are equally aware that small businesses provide jobs for millions of people, and this development keeps the economy going well.
Section three of this text is generically labelled Financial survival tips, and contains tips five to 19. Here, Griffiths stresses the need for you to have enough money to start your business. As far as budgeting is concerned, he advises you to plan for the worst not the best, adding that you should keep your personal and business records separate. Griffiths reiterates the need for you to use a good accountant, keep a good record from the start, and beware of the third-year boom and fourth-year bust.
In section four that contains tips 20 to 27 and entitled Business relationship survival tips, this expert reflects to you how to avoid partnership pitfalls; how to build a relationship with your suppliers; how to build a relationship with your professional advisers, etc. Section five of this text is based on staff survival tips and contains tips 28 to 37. In this section, Griffiths stresses the need for you to put the staff job description in writing and always check references. He emphasises the need for you to train yourself and your staff properly; lead by example so that your team will follow; communicate effectively with your staff; conduct performance reviews; be conscious of security issues and protect your business, etc. In section six based on tips 38 to 46 and tagged Customer service survival tips, this author says you need to build a good relationship with your customers and learn how to say No. Griffiths stresses further that you need to use simple market research to keep on track, adding that you should continually ask your customers if they are happy. He advises that you should deliver whatever you promise, and be honest and upright in all your dealings.
Section seven is based on advertising and marketing survival tips, with tips 47 to 57 examined. Here, the author says you need to develop your own marketing philosophy; do a course or read a marketing book; take small steps to market your business; develop a strong corporate image; market your business to a simple plan; never stop marketing just because business is booming, etc.
Sections eight to eleven are respectively entitled Internet survival tips; Insurance survival tips; Legal survival tips; and Personal survival tips. These four sections contain tips 58 to 93. In these sections, Griffiths stresses the need for you to be realistic about the Internet and make sure that you market your website. He says you should budget for the Internet to be an ongoing expense and beware of spam. Griffiths advises on the type of insurance you should have, adding that you should make sure that you meet your policy requirements. Griffiths offers you guide on when to use a lawyer and how to choose one. He also offers you tips on how you could keep the legal costs down. According to this author as regards personal survival tips, you need to start your business feeling refreshed and healthy.
Griffiths advises you never to give up your hobbies when you start your own business; asks you to maintain your enthusiasm; and learn how to handle stress. Section 12, the last basic section is tagged Planning for the future survival tips and contains tips 94 to 101. In this section, this author says you need to know exactly where you are going and know exactly how you are going to get there. Griffiths reflects that you need to always have a plan for when things go wrong and set your business up so that someone will want to buy it.
As already said, apart from these 12 basic sections, there is a bonus section containing additional 20 survival tips. Here, Griffiths says among other things that you should not be afraid to charge what you are worth; learn to delegate; try to win an award for your business; constantly strive to improve your business; make your business environmentally friendly; and compile your own operations manual.
Stylistically, this text gets a pass mark. For instance, the text is written in short blocks reinforced with very simple, jargon-free language. Griffiths adds Survival Tips Action List at the end of each section to arouse readers’ active participation and practical application. However, the (partially) repetitive areas of the multiplicity of tips contained in the text can still be harmonised to avoid possible conceptual redundancy. Generally, this text is a masterpiece. Do you want to achieve enduring success in your business, especially during this period of global economic downturn? If “Yes”, then, you need to get a copy of this book.