It was Kipling who gave us what was perhaps the greatest advice for business success and, in fact, success in life that has ever been given. He told us the key to success in all areas when he said “I had six honest serving men. They taught me all I knew. Their names were: where and what and when and why and how and who.”
The late great Earl Nightingale suggested we add two more friends to this group. They are, which and if.
Whether you are seeking to find ways to increase sales or control and reduce costs, questions are the key. Whether you are striving to improve your customer service or the quality of your product, or your life, questions are the key.
Asking the questions and developing the answers are the keys to any and all success you will have in business and in fact life.
If we do this, what happens?
Why do we do it this way?
Why don’t we do it this way?
Who else can we sell to?
Where else can we get this?
What can we do to reduce costs?
What can we do to improve productivity?
What can we do to improve quality?
What can we do to improve our service?
How else can that be done?
How can we do it better, faster, cheaper?
How can we improve quality, service, and profits?
How can we cut costs?
If we do this, will we improve quality?
If we do this, will it improve service?
If we do this, will it increase profits?
Which provides us with better quality?
Which is best for our customer?
What do we get in return for this cost?
Who else can provide what we need?
Why are we paying that much?
Why do we not deal with another company?
Why are we dealing with them?
How many other bids have we gotten?
How can we replace that with equal or better quality for less?
What are other companies charging for that product or service?
What are other companies paying for that product or service?
Will this process or step add value to our product or service or does it produce added profit?
When would this investment pay off?
You see my point I am sure. You must ask questions and seek out the answers. You must also justify the answers.
You must never stop asking. If you are not continuously asking the questions and reacting to the answers, you are either assuming or stagnating. Either one can be deadly to your business.