1.3 Are You a Good Manager?

There are any number of managers who will tell you that they are good at their jobs, but, as you are no doubt aware, not all of them are as good as they might think they are. Some are great, no argument. However, some aren’t and if we are going to make sure that your business survives, we’ll have to make sure that you are well aware of what you are doing right and what you could be doing better. So, let’s start with some broad sweeps of the brush:


Q: What is ‘Good Management’?


A: Doing what you say you are going to do. Keeping your promises.


Fairly straightforward. If you tell someone on your team or one of your customers that you will do something, then make sure that you do it. Keeping the promises that you make will give you a reputation as someone who can get things done, someone who is reliable. People like reliable, customers like reliable. Not keeping your promises will give you a reputation as someone who really can’t be trusted. People don’t like uncertainty. You go to the airport, you expect there to be planes, you expect them to depart on time and you expect them to get you to where you want to go in the time advertised. Going to the airport and finding that there are no planes to get you to your holiday destination, but there are plenty of elephants, would be disappointing, regardless of how fondly one views elephants. Now, let’s expand on this a bit:


Q: What is ‘Good Management’?


A: Doing what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it.


That’s better. No point saying that you’ll get the package delivered to your customer on Thursday morning and then get around to it on the following Monday afternoon. That’d be a great way to lose customers! We’ll cover this topic in some detail later on, but most, if not all, of your promises (i.e., targets, goals, objectives, etc.) should be time—bound.  If your customer asks for something, then you should tell them when you’ll deliver it. A wedding cake loses much of its value if you deliver it the day after the wedding. The audited end—of—year accounts are less useful the week after your board meeting.


Given the change of emphasis outlined above, from what you will do to what the customer wants you to do, let’s look again at the answer to our question:


Q: What is ‘Good Management’?


A: Giving your customer what your customer wants, when they want it.


Can’t say fairer than that. Give the people who pay your bills what they ask for, when they ask for it, repeatedly, and you won’t go too far wrong. They’ll keep coming back and, if you’re lucky, they’ll tell their friends about you.

Okay, well that’s it then. Providing that you know how to give your customer what your customer wants we need spend no more time together. Good luck, all the best, see you around…

Oh, still here? Well, that’s good as the rest of this course details how you go about managing your business well, being a good manager, how you give the customer what the customer wants, repeatedly. How do you ensure that you keep your promises to your customers? How do you ensure that you keep your promises to your suppliers? Yes, suppliers. After all, they are the ones that provide you with the raw materials that you must have to meet your customers’ needs. Without your suppliers you wouldn’t be able to make anything to sell; you wouldn’t be able to develop a service to offer.

And let’s not forget your personnel; the most important resource within your business. Really? Absolutely, and if you don’t know that now, you’d better learn it quickly or there’ll be a big bag of failure heading your way. You see, the resources available to you can be categorised like this:


  • People — who do the work
  • Buildings — where they do the work
  • Equipment — what they use to do the work
  • Materials — what they use up to do the work
  • Money — how you pay for everything


Now, there are other things that can go in this list, but the important point is that you can have massive buildings, loads of equipment, as much money and materials as you can cram in a warehouse, but without your people, it’ll all just sit gathering dust. So, your team, the people who keep your promises to your customers, are a critically important, if not the most important, part of your business.


To finish first, first you have to finish.To succeed in business, first you have to survive.


Being a good manager includes managing your people well. Unless you are a one—person operation, your people are the ones that make it, pack it, label it, ship it, etc., whatever your ‘it’ happens to be. Good management includes having a well—trained, competent and motivated team (see Chapter 4). Now, TINA isn’t perfect, no management system is as they require humans to run them and none of us is perfect, but it’ll give you a great start on the rest of your business management career, which I hope sincerely is long and successful.


To paraphrase a popular quote, ‘To finish first, first you have to finish’. To become a successful business owner, you must first survive the early years. The ideas and tools within this course will help you to do that. So, let’s get cracking.