Running a business is a day to day task. Every day brings changes and new challenges.
The day to day operation of a business involves acquiring the means to deliver a product or service, then selling that product or service to someone.
The daily work of any business operator can vary in many ways:
- Some businesses are big, but many are small. Small business operators need to do everything (planning, management, marketing, delivering the service or creating the products etc.). Big business operators have the luxury of being able to delegate areas of work to employees; but that luxury is readily offset by the added complexity of managing a larger organisation.
- Some businesses need to allocate more resources to acquiring their product or service than others . Others may find acquiring the product easy, but usually when one aspect of the business operation is easier, other aspects will be more difficult.
- Some businesses need to continually review and change the product or service they offer; while others may only ever make minor changes to what they are selling.
What Does a business operator do?
Things change every day of the week, and the manager of a business needs to react to those changes accordingly.
- Accidents and illness happen, and as a result, goals that were expected to be achieved are not met.
- New businesses start which compete with your operation.
- Anticipated sales targets are not reached and cash flow stalls.
- Anticipated sales targets are exceeded, and your capacity to supply customers is put under stress.
- Cost of supplies or raw materials change, government regulations change, economic conditions change.
- Everything that happens requires consideration, and adjustment
The customers or clients change. What they want to buy from you is never going to be the same tomorrow as it is today. Items and services can come into fashion and go out of fashion. Even basic things like food can go in and out of fashion. Think about something simple like milk – years ago, you had milk! Now we have skimmed milk, semi skimmed milk, goat’s milk, organic milk, pure milk and so on. A person who was only able to supply “milk” may not attract all of the potential customers they could if they do not keep up with the trends on the different types of milk that customers want.
Another example, a publisher publishes books on technology since the 1950's, but does not update their books. Is someone really going to buy a book about using computers from the 1970's, that would take no account of the internet and the massive changes in technology?
Different services and products are required over time. For a business to survive, they must change with the trends. It is not always easy to recognize new trends. Some business people are able to see trends coming and change the services and products they offer in advance. Others may even start trends, whilst others are playing catch up, amending their services after the realize that there is a new trend. Look at mobile phones. When they first came out, they were like carrying a brick around and only the wealthiest people were able to afford them. Today, most people in the Western world have a mobile/cell phone. We can have different phones, different covers, different cases. A phone that suits a teenage girl, will not necessarily suit a fifty year old woman and vice versa. So there are now fashions in phones, that businesses who offer phones needs to take account of.
In the past, people would go to a shop or farm or other sale outlet to buy their goods, or they would have them delivered. For example, the milkman might bring their milk. A grocery store or butcher would also deliver products.
For other products, they would often be delivered in the post or via a courier. For example, if we phoned a book store and ordered a book, the book would be posted to us. Customers could buy clothes and other items from catalogues, which were then posted to the customer.
But much of this has now changed. Of course, there are still shops, there is still the milkman. We can still get our products delivered to our homes. But the way we do this is different. Now, we probably go to an online food shop and order our groceries to be delivered at a certain time. We may still order clothes from a catalogue, but the catalogue store may also have a website we can order from.
But not all products are actually physical now. We do not have to go into a bookstore (if we don’t want to) and buy a book, we can download it and have an electronic copy of the book – an eBook - on our computer, iPad, Kindle etc. We don’t necessarily need to go to a game shop to buy a computer game, we can download computer games straight onto our PC or games console. We don’t need to physically buy software for our computer, we can often download that as well. All of these are in electronic form, so do not require a courier or postal service for the customer to access them.
We do not need to wait for our bank statement to be delivered. Many of us can access our bank statement online. And if we have a question, we do not necessarily have to go into a bank, we can telephone the bank or insurance company etc. to get help.
Of course, not all products and services can be made in electronic form, we can't really eat eBread, we need the bread’s physical presence. And some people will still want the physical goods – they will want to buy the computer game, they will want to buy the paperback book. But the changes in how products and services are offered does mean that the way we deliver them has changed.
Any business must take account of how their services and products are delivered and offered.
Staff change in many ways both from day to day and over longer periods of time.
- The people who are working in any business can vary from day to day or year to year.
- Some people work on different shifts. People get sick or have holidays. Old people leave a workplace and new people come.
- Individuals have psychological issues and problems in their personal life that may preoccupy their minds at times and impact upon their ability to do a job.
- People develop physical problems over time which the business operator might not always be aware of (e.g. arthritis, other physical illnesses). Sometimes illnesses may impact a worker's productivity, but go unnoticed.
- A person will also gain experience
and knowledge over time, that can improve their capacity to do a job
and contribute to improved productivity.
You might employ the same people, but their moods, attitudes and health are also constantly changing. Also, if you employ new staff, what you require of them may change. And what they offer may change. At one time you may have employed apprentices straight from school, now you may require people to have certain qualifications. They may require you to offer them training. They may require a certain salary and so on. All of this needs to be taken account of.
The challenge for a business operator is to ensure that the manpower available is changed as and when needed, so it is matched to the changing needs of a business.
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