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Smith: Business takes common sense

POSTED: February 16, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Common sense.

Common sense is not difficult. It is simply a matter of using your brain to make the correct decision. You are faced with a choice to make. Does the choice deal with right and wrong? What are the consequences of your conclusion? Is the option good for everyone who is involved?

However, I never cease to be amazed at the lack of common sense exercised in our society today.
A case in point is McDonald's. Surely you recall the case where the lady purchased the cup of coffee from the drive-through window. Somehow she spilled the hot coffee in her lap, hence burning herself. She sued McDonald's for negligence and won.

Common sense tells us not to put hot liquids or solids between our legs. Why? Alas, you will be burned.

I recently heard a news report about a young child who received critical injuries. It seems that his mother left him in her car with the windows rolled up while the temperature outside was in the 90s.
Common sense tells us that you don't leave your pet, child or groceries in the car with the windows rolled up when it 95 degrees outside.

Not long after that news came out, I heard that legislation was being introduced that would require automobile manufacturers to put warning notices in their cars. The warning would tell drivers that it is dangerous to leave pets and children in the car when it's extremely hot outside.

What, pray tell, are we using our brains for these days? It sure doesn't seem like it's common sense.
If you're interested, here are some common sense ideas for your small business that might help you.
When hiring new employees, always check their references and backgrounds. Chances are there is nothing in their past that is incriminating, but don't take the chance.

It's five minutes until your store opens, but there are 10-15 people waiting to get inside to make a purchase. The employees are inside talking about Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Matt Damon or Ben Affleck. Why not open the doors early and let the customers spend their money with you as well as get them out of the heat or cold?

Why does the business exist? To make money yes, but without customers it's a moot point. Say thank you to your customers. Call customers by name and ask them for their opinions.

Shock your employees. Ask them how their day is going or better yet, ask them for their opinions. If an employee has done an exceptional job, recognize that person for the effort.

Keep a close eye on cash flow as well as accounts receivables.

Cross sell your products and services.

J.C. Smith is a consultant for the Gainesville district office of the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center, 770-531-5681. First published Feb. 5, 2008.



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