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A number of factors contribute to success in any business venture. An individual’s work experience coupled with academic background and interpersonal skills are some of the factors that have been identified by scholars. This paper is based on an interview of Mrs. Marilyn Fedak who works for a finance company in Chicago. Mrs Fedak provided an insight on key principles that might help entrepreneur to attain success in business. She outlined these principles from her experience as a manager in a financial institution.
At the time of the interview, Mrs. Fedak held a Masters Degree in Finance and had seven years of work experience in banking and business institutions. She is currently working at a city bank in Chicago as the operations manager. Her duties include being in charge of the entire operations of the bank; overseeing trainings, hiring and firing of staff and supervising the implementation of the bank’s policies. Mrs. Fedak is directly responsible to the management headed by the director general and a board. She is in charge of several departments and staff in the banking institution.
Besides her professional background, Mrs. Fedak has undergone trainings and seminars on management and staff motivation. Her arguments presented in this paper include networking, the open door policy in management, goal setting, and organizational structure with specific but greater responsibilities as well as effective communication within and outside the business organization.
There are a few principles that enhance the success of a business venture. These principles guide the relationship between the business and the customers and between the business employees and the management. These principles recognize that the main aims of a business is to obtain customers thus increasing sales and to reduce all costs of operation and risks hence maximizing profits. This paper has already identified four such principles that enables businesses obtain clients and reduce costs of operation based on the views of Mrs. Fedak, a banking manager.
To begin with, Mrs. Fedak asserted that one key item of business success is appropriate networking. She identified networking as integral in enabling new and more efficient business ideas and policies to be introduced and implemented within the company. Networking also helps in the establishment of a good business relationship with other business enterprises and potential customers. She outlined that business activities usually concentrate around people. Through business networking, my client has been able to increase the number of clients of the banking institution.
However, she identified that networking requires effective listening, concern for the potential client’s taste and preferences and a high degree of strategic focus. One has to be focused and objective because not everyone who a business entrepreneur meets is in a position to buy the product and move the business forward. All networking initiatives should be geared to accelerating the growth of the business. Mrs. Fedak acknowledged that business networking is a rather more cost effective means of promoting business ideas than advertising as it involved low-cost activities but more personal commitment.
As the bank’s operations manager, Mrs. Fedak has outlined an elaborate networking policy that incorporates the banking institution with other institutions and individuals through face-to-face meetings, the internet and through other networking agencies. Mrs. Fedak’s reported that her main challenge was how to network with the general public who formed a large client base. She informed me that as the operations manager, her duty was to develop a general plan every week that targeted the general public. She, however, recognized that a larger percentage of the bank’s clients and policies that had been adopted were through a focused and objective business networking plan.
Another element of a business success identified by Mrs. Fedak was good communication. While networking recognized that success in a business depended on involvement of customers, communication provided a critical link between the business and the clients. Mrs. Fedak identified business communication as any communication with a sole purpose of promoting sales of the product. It is considered core among all other business factors like interpersonal skills and etiquette according to Mrs. Fedak. She said that for the seven years that she had been serving in a financial institution, communication had helped her exchange information, make plans and proposals, reach viable business agreements and decisions, execute and fulfill orders and in conducting sales.
Two types of communication are identified by Mrs. Fedak in a normal organizational setup; internal and external communication. She referred to all forms of formal and informal communication within staff (employees and employers) as internal while that with persons outside the business as external communication. As the person in charge of all the operations at the bank, Mrs. Fedak asserted that she frequently used the two methods of communications to talk to employees and her boss as well as to the clients and the general public.
Mrs. Fedak presented a complex internal business communication structure that involved upward, downward and horizontal communication. Her argument is that the effective use of the three levels of communication would result in increased job satisfaction, safety and increased productivity. The levels, according to her, recognized the pivotal roles played by both subordinates and the management in a business organization. Upward communication involves the flow of information from the subordinates (employees) to their superiors (employers) while the reverse communication is referred to as downward communication by Mrs. Fedak.
On the other hand, horizontal communication involves the passing of information by persons within the same rank. As reported by Mrs. Fedak, communication of employees within the same rank enhanced cooperation and effective coordination resulting to accomplishment of tasks. Managers too need to communicate among themselves. In all the instances highlighted above, internal communication is essential in solving problems, accomplishing tasks through team work and goodwill, giving instructions and in relaying feedback. Mrs. Fedak reported that her success in the financial institution had to a greater percentage been influenced by her adoption of a good and efficient communication approach. She asserted that managers should use communication to motivate employees, give instructions and to obtain feedback.
Consequently, organizations require regular communication to external persons who are not involved in the daily operation of the enterprise. The success of a business depends on the general public’s perception of the business. According to Mrs. Fedak, regular communication enhanced sales and operational credibility which consequently improve the general performance due to the attainment of the organizational goals. For instance, Mrs. Fedak regular briefing of the general public on the bank’s new products and operational strategies has led to a quick positive response by the public. She also opened up channels for the general public to communicate to the bank on its products and their feelings. All these avenues have resulted in a general satisfaction of the customers prompting the sales of more products by Mrs. Fedak’s bank.
The third aspect of business success identified by Mrs. Fedak was goal setting. As the operations manager in the financial institution she had to set goals to be attained by her and the employees under her supervision. Mrs. Fedak referred to goal setting as an important tool of business monitoring, assessment and evaluation. She remarked that lack of goals meant lack of direction and such businesses were characterized by confusion and errors as a result of business tryouts.
Mrs. Fedak listed basic determinants of a good goal as one that ; is realistic of the accomplishment to be attained, has a measurable outcome, sets a time frame for achievement and sets the resources required for its achievement. She summarized that set goals in ordinary sense directed and aroused attention and effort, encouraged persistence and as well promoted creativity and innovations among her staff. To Mrs. Fedak, a goal is a reference document and should be written in order to strengthen ones commitment.
Mrs. Fedak recognized that among the most difficult aspects of business success principle was the development of a cordial and open working relationship with the management. She reported that it took her nearly two years to recognize the importance of this relationship to a business organization’s success. Her resistance was primarily caused by the institution’s democratic and representational process of recruiting managers without the recognition of formal cooperate business training. But since the organizing function of the management was closely related to her roles of supervision and to the general bank’s goals, it was imperative that she closely consulted and collaborated with the board.
Mrs. Fedak asserted that employees should have a cordial and open relationship with the business managers for success to be realized. She added that the open door policy- where employees are allowed to seek assistance from any manager or supervisor, as an appropriate policy for business success in the contemporary society. She conversely registered her dislike to the closed door policy which she regarded as discouraging communication and demoralizing to employees. Mrs. Fedak attributed her success in the banking sectors to enhanced communication and problem solving resulting from the adoption of the open door policy. In her workstation, any employee was free to consult any manager which she regarded as promoting an environment of trust between employees and the management.
Mrs. Fedak recognized that the policy was relevant in solving organizational problems and conflicts especially when caused by the employees’ immediate managers. The creation of an environment where employees could register their criticism and complains without fear of victimization guaranteed accountability of the supervisors to their employees. She noted that this process may only succeed when there were no instances of reprisal to the communicator. She however recommended this policy as only suitable for upward communication channel.
On the contrary, Mrs. Fedak was not amused that some employees deliberately disregard the organizational structure. She noted that such behaviors would deny the employees’ immediate supervisor the opportunity to resolve conflicts and issues within her department. Such hierarchical disrespect also promoted tension between employees and the middle management. Mrs. Fedek recognized that this policy might also be annoying to the management as some junior staff frequently interrupted the managers’ working hours and activities to report cases.
According to Mrs. Fedak, the few disadvantages of open door policy may be minimized by institutionalized policies regarding consultation. She outlined that the policy should be specific on when to be applied. For instance, at the place where she worked the employees were expected to first attempt to discuss the issue with their immediate supervisor before involving a senior staff. Her remedy to the constant interruptions is for a limited open-door policy. For example, in her work place, she encouraged this policy on only Mondays and Thursdays afternoon.
Finally, Mrs. Fedak proposed clear, specific but greater responsibilities of all employees in an organization. She stated that organizational structure with clear responsibilities of each employee and manager should be adopted. Mrs. Fedak reported that her roles as the operations manager were clearly spelt out in the bank’s organizational structure. She explained that when there is no structure and no one has a clear responsibility then chaos and confusion may reign throughout the business enterprise resulting to losses and collapse of the premise. A clear structure also enhances monitoring, supervision and reporting as all employees are aware of their specific roles and the supervising authority.
She noted that the responsibilities should however, be greater but achievable to provoke employees’ creativity and innovative abilities as well as reduce laxity at work. Mrs. Fedak reported that with clear roles and responsibilities, goal setting becomes possible. The employees who lack self confidence are motivated since they are given the opportunity to work on clear and specific assignments.
This paper takes cognizance of four basic principles of business success based on a seven years management experience of Mrs. Fedak. The paper has discussed the roles played by effective communication, networking, the open door management policy and goal setting in business success. There has been a lot of emphasis in communication as all the other principles depend on effective communication channel. For instance, networking with other businesses and individuals requires a very effective external communication channel. Likewise, goal setting and the open door policies rely on effective internal communication.
As such, it is concluded that business success is a factor of both professionalism and interpersonal relationships. It notes that no considerable success will be attained unless a joint harmonious effort among the employees, supervisors, the management and the general public are directed towards a given goal. Mrs. Fedak’s experience in management has given us an in-depth insight on what success in business entails.