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Smith: Take control of service in your business
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Global warming, the greenhouse effect, Mother Nature. No matter what you care to blame it on, during the past year or so, the weather has been interesting. Look at any lake in North Georgia and the evidence of the drought is clear.

Regardless of what a state governor or the Army Corps of Engineers says, they cannot make it rain. Even if Georgia annexes the Tennessee River, such an act does not guarantee rain. The mussels in Apalachicola have no control over the rain.

Hope and wish as we might, there is but one single source that controls the rainfall and drought: our Father in heaven.

Thank goodness for that indisputable fact.

Can you imagine the chaos if we humans had control of the weather? Even with the drought, I recently heard a malcontent carping about two days of rain.

Where would our disputes and incompatibility over the weather be arbitrated? Tune in tomorrow as Judge Judy hears arguments between two families who couldn’t agree on the temperature and dew point for Easter. Better yet, picture the fabricated brawls on "The Jerry Springer Show" after a jilted girlfriend created a tornado.

So what do rain, drought and your water sprinkler have to do with business management? Worry about issues that you have control over in your business.

You cannot control the weather, the manic drivers on the interstate, the pollen count or what type of automobile your neighbor drives. However, you can be in command of your own business.

Business success starts and ends with business finances. From the start, keep a tight rein on the money in the business. For a new business, what will your startup costs be, and how much operating capital will be needed? Keep a keen eye on expenses as well as your flow of revenue. Take the time to do a cash flow projection.

The next most important element of your business is people. People who work for you as well as people who you work for. Make no mistake about it, the people who work for you and their level of commitment will dictate who your customers are. If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business. Location, location, location. If your business is dependent upon foot traffic, put your business where the people will be. Make your business easily accessible to your customers.

In today’s environment of instant gratification, the concept of service seems to have become the "old school" way of thinking. Service still counts and will continue to in the future. If there is no other detail that you have power over, make it law in your business that service is critical. All the technology, convenience and newest business concepts in the world are nothing without service behind them.

J.C. Smith is a consultant for the Gainesville district office of the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center, 770-531-5681. His column appears Tuesdays and at

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