Dish Network – Business Strategy Principles for your Home Business

Dish Network boasts an impressive clientele of more than 5 million monthly subscribers. Significantly, though they are only the second largest distributor of satellite television service, they have been voted #1 in customer service by J.D. Power and Associates. While every business has, by necessity, a different business plan, a careful look at some of the things Dish Network has done to be successful will yield a few principles that will help your small business to succeed.

Echo-Star owns Dish Network, and they are currently in negotiation with one of their channel providers because the provider is demanding a higher per-package, per-user fee each month. The demand, though an increase of only a few pennies per user, represents millions of dollars in the short and long term for Dish. I present the conflict here to demonstrate Dish’s commitment to minimizing costs. Rather than just rolling over and accepting the fee increase, Dish Network is demonstrating to their customers their commitment to providing their services at the lowest cost possible. For any business to be successful, and I assume that is the goal for your home business, it must bring in more revenue than it shells out. Being diligent in fighting to minimize your own costs will go a long way towards that end.

Perhaps the reason you started your own business was because you craved the autonomy that came inherently with “being your own boss.” No more corporate ladders to climb or be pushed off. No more answering to someone that knows less than you do about just about everything. Perhaps it did not take long to notice that absolute freedom is hard to come by. Unless you produce the raw materials, refine them, create a marketable good, and sell it completely on your own, your business decisions are limited somewhat by others. The webhost sets the monthly hosting fee. The bank sets your monthly car payment. Even the office supplies you use are priced by someone else. Dish Network’s taking issue with the fee increase represents their dedication to retaining some of that autonomy we all desire for our businesses. Even if you can’t set the prices, you certainly can negotiate them. Unless you are absolutely sure you are getting the best deal possible on the materials you purchase, make a phone call and talk to someone about it. In the end, the producer’s relationship with you, the consumer, affects their bottom line.

One of the biggest concerns Dish Network faced in the new millennium was how to continue to provide their award-winning customer service cost-effectively. Hundreds of thousands of new subscribers were adding themselves to the millions of current subscribers, and they all eventually needed help. Customer service was performed completely over the telephone at a cost of $5 to $15 each call. Dish looked to technology to provide additional venues where customer service interactions could play themselves out. This led to solutions that would be available through the customer’s satellite receiver at home and online solutions, where the customer could view and make changes to their account without requiring the services of an employee, thus providing the same customer service while cutting down on costs. The lesson that should be learned from this example is that technology, when implemented correctly, can save costs and increase the efficiency with which we are able to provide services to our customers. What tasks do you find yourself doing by hand over and over again? With a little bit of time and money invested could you automate the process, or allow customers to do the task themselves by putting on your website?

The magnitude of work required to produce and integrate Dish Network’s new customer service solutions is baffling. Now consider that they planned for and implemented the technological changes to their customer service process in less than five months. The home business principle to learn from this is speed is a necessity, not a luxury. To compete with your competitors, you need to provide the same product at a higher quality, faster speed, or lower price. What changes do you need to make in order to streamline your business? Is there something that you are doing now that you could do without? By all means, weigh your options carefully and make a decision you feel comfortable with. But once the decision is made, move on it. Your customers will appreciate your decisiveness and innovation.

Dish Network is a thriving, multimillion dollar business, due in large part to the way they analyze and execute their business strategy. Using equal discretion, innovation, and decisiveness could boost your business as well.