What do you need to do to create a business that out-markets, out produces and out-profits your competition? One that really works for you? Will you focus your time and resources on sales or revenue growth? While it’s important, it’s often not enough.
Why not take a hybrid approach instead. Take steps to improve ALL areas that contribute to success, not just sales. This is a proven recipe for sustainable growth and profit with a lot more control.
7 Business Improvement Areas
Planning.. You don’t need a 50-page business plan. But you do need some clear goals with specific actions you need to take to achieve them. Written goals and a simple action plan provide you with focus and clarity. So take the time to write down what you WANT (results or outcomes) and what you need to DO (actions) to make it happen.
Remember, think beyond just sales or revenue. Here are some additional things to consider: product or service mix, customer retention, productivity, efficiency, hiring or outsourcing, system development, power partners and building your online presence.
Products/Services. When was the last time you actually thought about the products or services you offer? It’s more than just ‘what price should I charge’. Which ones are most profitable, which produce the most sales? Do your products and services still meet the needs of your target customers or do they need a facelift? Technology, competition, and your customers’ needs can change over time. Make sure your products and services keep up!
Promotion. Sales don’t just happen. Revenue mastery is important. So what are you doing to attract new customers and keep existing ones coming back and referring others? Most owners associate promotion with marketing for new customers and invest few (if any) resources on current customers. Big mistake. Make sure your plans also include activities to turn your current customers into raving fans who spend more, buy more often and refer other quality people to your business.
Processes. Streamlining and standardizing procedures make daily operations easier, efficient and more effective, whether you are there or not. They are also a key to increased profitability. So make systematizing your business more of a priority. Start with just a few. Focus on those that save you time, increase sales, or fix problems that consistently erode profit.
People. No business operates successfully in a vacuum. We all need help from others. While we often associate people with employees, building a strong network of contractors, vendors and alliance partners for your business is equally important. Your needs will vary based on your business, but most small businesses have an opportunity to improve in this area. Have a method for hiring or developing new relationships with people who are committed to your customers and the success of your business.
Personal Development. As you grow and improve, so will your business. We are all familiar with the phrase, knowledge is power, but it also translates to earnings or income. And it doesn’t require a lot of time or money – just a commitment to learning and building skills and knowledge. Did you know that if you read (or listen to audio books) for 15 minutes a day, you will read about 12 books each year? What a learning opportunity!
Profit. Sales are important, but profit is your reward for excellence in entrepreneurship! You don’t need to be an accountant or financial guru, but you do need to track and understand the numbers that drive your business – beyond just sales. Here’s a few others to consider: average sale per customer or transaction, the number of leads, revenue per employee, average accounts receivable, gross profit margins, customer retention rates and net profit.
Monitor them and focus on activities that help to improve them – especially gross profit margins and net profit. If you keep them at the center of what you do, your small business will continue to serve your needs and the needs of your people and customers.
Remember, little improvements in ALL these areas will put more profit on the bottom line and in your wallet. So build your goals and plans with them in mind.
Get Started. Stay On Track
Are you ready to take a leap forward? To get started and stay on track? My accountability programs offer an affordable way to get the help you need. More than accountability, this program provides business owners with structure, another set of eyes and practical advice too! Click here to learn more.