Why is information so powerful?
Because it is the life blood of managing a business. Without information we have no idea what is going on.
Without information we don’t know if we are on the right course; we don’t know if the ship is sailing or sinking. We are like the early explorers; we know we are going somewhere; we just don’t know where!
However the reality is you probably do have information. But is it the right information? Can you trust it? There are five areas to be concerned about:
- The information you have is wrong! There are two kinds of wrong information:
- One, you know it’s wrong so you can’t trust it!
- The nightmare kind ~ you don’t know the information is wrong and you act on it!
- The information is lost. It cannot be found anywhere.
- The information isn’t lost but it takes a long time to find.
- The information is out of date. I’m sure you have experienced this scenario ‘ you are told the computer says they have something in stock but they want to go and check because the computer information might be out of date.
- The information is duplicated, which leads to inconsistencies. Which version of the information is right?
To ensure you have the right information at the right time to make the right decisions requires three broad strategies. We call it the Three C’s:
- Correct information
- Current information
- Consistent information
Correct ‘ let me say right up front; you cannot achieve 100% accuracy of information. Anyone who can prove otherwise please be in touch because you may be holding the holy grail. So make sure the critical information is accurate. This is the information that is essential to the operation and ongoing success of your business. Institute checks and balances; classic example, your bookkeeper reconciles the bank accounts every month to ensure the General Ledger is reporting correct information.
Current ‘ the only way to achieve current information is to record it when the event occurs. Example, retail businesses record the sale of an item at the time you purchase it. Their revenue and inventory are current!
Consistent ‘ the information is not duplicated. This achieved by storing the information once and once only. For example, if your business uses Outlook for client contact information and also uses a CRM to manage the sales pipeline use one of the tools as the master information depository.
If you want to manage your business so it will grow into a strong and sustainable business then you have to manage its information. You cannot afford to let the business drift into the unknown without you at the helm!
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