Friday, 6 February 2015

We want a relationship!

Do you ever get that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach? I do, usually when a decision has been made and just for a second, I consider what might happen if it all goes Pete Tong. I suppose it is a typically human reaction, doubting ourselves, making ourselves test what we have just done for potential disaster whilst there is still time to rectify it. Or have I forgotten to do something? Was that report due yesterday?

That and did I turn the tap off, or what the hell did I come in here for?

At work, being professional is about covering all the bases (which is very different to simply covering your backside). Know your objectives, assess the variables and get on with things. I have always said that one of the most important skills in any business is the ability to prioritise. Do the important things first, the things that really have to get done, so that if anything remains undone at the end of the day it will be something of less significance.

But those less important things can sneak up on you and become important. What might start out as an old desktop and a busted keyboard stacked in the corner soon becomes a growing pile of broken or discarded equipment. It does not start out as urgent. You might get a little pang about the PC as it has the customer data base on its hard drive, but it is safe enough in the corner of the office. It can wait till you replace the printer and the sales force laptops in April, when you get the new budget.

Leaving this stuff is human nature. In the great scheme of things it is not urgent. Untidy perhaps but we all live with a bit of clutter in any busy office. But risky? Technically yes but practically no, I don’t think someone is going to break in and nick the old PC in the corner. You should think about that but it’s not the biggest risk you have to manage.

Big businesses have this stuff covered, largely. If you are of a certain size, you create considerable waste and clutter of every sort, shape and size. It will almost seamlessly get collected up and disposed of, but I would argue that any SME needs a similar relationship with a recycling partner if they have any sense.

We have vehicles going all over the country, let alone the SE, so picking up the odd small batch is not too much of an issue. Especially if you are prepared to wait a week or two so we can fit it in with something convenient, to keep costs down. And we take most things, so you can clear out regularly to protect yourselves and reduce clutter.

We think of this as being part of the service. If we have a part load going somewhere, we call other clients nearby or en route to see if we can collect anything from them. It works well for most people but others seem suspicious or reluctant, perhaps worrying that we are overcharging them for just getting a few bits.

In fact, the opposite is on our mind. We are very aware of what we are charging people and we try to reduce costs (and environmental impact) by filling our vehicles. So my advice to every SME would be find a recycling partner (me, clearly, but I am allowing you the illusion of free choice) and get a service from them.

Have a relationship, get the best out of each other and stop taking even the smallest risk with your data security. And save that corner of the office for something important like an umbrella or a stack of old editions of Widget Weekly.