How one strong, guiding principle can save you money and prevent problems

importance of guiding leadership principles

There is something I’ve noticed about the most effective leaders and it’s true no matter what field they are active in: The have a few strongly held, guiding principles that govern their actions.

They don’t have a list of 20 priorities, because they are guided by a small number of overarching principles that are able to provide consistent direction whenever they are faced with making a decision.

Let me give you one of these and show you some of the implications that follow. Here is a principle that will serve you well in your small business, and in any other endeavor you choose to pursue: Do it right the first time.

When you do a task correctly the first time, you:

  • Save materials,
  • Save time,
  • Prevent personal frustration,
  • Meet deadlines,
  • Please your customers,
  • Eliminate the mistakes caused when something has to be redone
  • Raise the quality of your output
  • Raise your competitiveness, and much more.

One small business owner may have a problem meeting deadlines. That owner may decide to attack the problem. However, had that same owner instilled a company culture that was dedicated to “doing it right the first time,” that delivery problem may have never occurred. The commitment to doing it right the first time would have revealed weaknesses in the system or organization and they would have been corrected early on.

This brings me to a major component that is required to do it right the first time: systems. For small business owners, it’s always wise to install a system which has “doing it right the first time” built into it. Further, when you implement systems that fold together related parts of your operations, you get additional advantages.

What I have been describing up to this point are some of the strengths I see in the Sage catalog of products and services. When you can integrate and seamlessly coordinate processes such as payments, accounting, expenses and payroll, it saves you a lot of money, prevents errors and eliminates redundancies.

A product like Sage 50, for example, gives small business owners far greater efficiency, and because it ties together various critical business areas, it delivers the insights required to make the right decisions. In other words, it gives you a “system” that provides answers.

From my experience as a small business owner, and from talking to hundreds of small business owners across the country, one of the most frustrating things they have to do is “go hunting for answers.” When you have a solid system in place that does things right the first time, the answers aren’t so elusive. And by the way, if the frustration of going on “wild goose chases” resonates with you, you should take a careful look at Sage’s newest product, Sage Live. It was designed from the ground up to deliver real-time answers to the important questions that small business owners face.

So what are the few guiding principles that give you direction each day? If you can’t state them directly and simply, you many not have any. Let me urge you to make “do it right the first time” one of the guiding principles you live by and instill in your small business team.


Image: “João Zeferino da Costa – Moisés recebendo as tábuas da lei – 1868” by João Zeferino da Costa – [1]. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.