Small business owners wear a lot of hats and take on a range of responsibilities from leadership to technician. The same can also be said for the people working in these companies. They have the ability to impact profit in so many ways.
Unlike larger organizations, where tasks and goals are departmentalized, smaller companies don’t have these silos to contend with. More direct communication between leadership (aka the owner) and staff makes it easier to uncover improvement opportunities, react quicker to market changes and work together as a team. That is of course IF everyone is on the same page – and focused on the same outcomes.
Where Is Your Team Focused?
So where should your team focus? When working with clients, here are the four core deliverables that I find impact profit and growth:
Revenue | Sales
No surprise here. Growth comes from two areas – getting new business and keeping the customers you have. It’s more than just marketing and sales. Every person on your staff, from the receptionist who answers the phone to the technician who performs the work, can impact revenue with their actions and behaviors. Share your goals, but also discuss the ways each member of your team contributes to the results. In other words, connect the dots for them.
Costs | Expenses
Reducing expenses is a no-brainer. Even if you are happy with your current providers, a little comparison shopping on key services or products can uncover savings opportunities. Don’t ignore other factors like quality, service and on-time delivery, but use the information to negotiate and keep suppliers honest.
Look beyond cost-cutting and traditional expenses. Think return on investment and get your people involved. What are you spending money on today that you could re-allocate elsewhere? While this may not put savings directly on the bottom line, better use of financial resources can support growth in both sales and profit. Look at everything from your marketing and sales to operations and billing.
Can you better utilize technology to reduce work that is labor intensive? Technology changes at a rapid pace and options for efficiency and savings come with them – often at a price that is now affordable for smaller businesses. Take advantage of them.
Nothing drives results more than happy, loyal customers, especially today in our socially-connected world. As an advocate for your business, they can directly impact revenue through referrals, social sharing, testimonials and online reviews.
A lot of factors impact the level of satisfaction your customers have. Depending on the business, it may include quality, service, convenience, choice, hours, price, etc. So everyone plays a role in delivering the ‘buying experience’.
Develop a list of key satisfaction drivers for your business – be specific. For example, quality means a lot of different things so your list might include shows up on time (on-time delivery), done right the first time or quick to solve and fix problems. Again, connect the dots.
Not always the most popular, but if you are looking for impact, here’s an area worth consideration. Simply put, this is nothing more than finding more efficient and effective ways to do all the tasks you and your team perform each and every day. It’s about eliminating waste, leveraging resources (time/money) and automating processes for continuous improvement in all areas of the business.
Now, this is an area where your team can really help. From marketing and sales to customer service, delivery and billing, every area of your business can benefit from improved processes. In most cases, your team knows where the glitches or problem areas are. They are often a source of customer complaints or employee frustration – why do we do it this way? Just ask.
While you can’t fix everything overnight, pick 2-3 and focus on making those processes more efficient, consistent and effective. Your customers, vendors, and staff will thank you. And did I mention profit?
As a business owner, you have a lot of valuable assets – your team is one of them. They have the power to affect your business in so many positive ways when everyone is on the same page. It’s never too late to get them started; time to refocus!
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