A well-run business is a dream come true for a business owner. It allows you to focus on what’s important – growth and profitability. It also gives you the freedom to take time off without skipping a beat.
No business owner wants to spend their days putting out fires, fixing mistakes or doing the work they pay others to do. Yet many do because their business doesn’t run without their constant involvement. You can’t prevent every potential problem, but you can take steps to improve your situation.
Identify the Gaps in Your Operations
A business is a structure of people and systems that evolve over time. Together they bring predictability into the workplace. So, attracting the right people and developing quality systems for them is a key to growth, profitability and freedom.
Related: How People and Systems Power Profit
Got systems and good people? Then you are already on the right path. But remember, as your business grows, your systems and people also need to change. Is your team structured properly and do their job responsibilities take advantage of new skills and technology? Are you doing things the same way you always did (just because) or do you continuously look for better ways to improve all areas of your business?
Periodically review your systems and people so you continue to evolve in the right direction.
Explore Additional Opportunities
While systems and people provide a strong business foundation, here are a few things to consider as well — if you want your business to run smoothly.
#1 – Do we cross-train employees so no critical task is dependent on one person?
A company doesn’t stop because the owner or other staff are sick or away from the business. Customers still expect to be served and have problems solved. Employees still expect to be paid. So important tasks should never be dependent on one person. If you have systems documented, it’s easier to cross-train others so the work still gets done. Make cross-training your team a priority.
#2 – Is there too much focus on the quantity of work done — and too little on the quality?
Customers expect quality when it comes to service, products and people. Doing things right the first time, every time is important. While mistakes happen, the cost of poor or inconsistent quality costs you more than you think. You want your team to be efficient but don’t sacrifice quality for production. Promote a quality first mentality within your company.
RELATED: How to Get It Right the First Time
#3 — Are you using technology to improve efficiency, communication and more in your business?
With so many affordable options, small and mid-sized businesses now have easy access to tools that simply make it easier to run a business. Whether you want to collaborate and share work without meetings, allow customers to directly schedule appointments, provide easy, non-traditional pay options, create instant quotes at the customers home/business, permit employees to effectively work remotely or communicate successfully with individuals or groups – there are apps for that.
Use of technology can certainly improve efficiency and customer satisfaction. Solid reasons to integrate it into your daily operations. But it can also help improve hiring and retention. Why? Because millennials (GenY) are tech-savvy; they grew up using it. They expect and embrace technology in the workplace. If you want to attract and retain them, look for ways to employ technology into your business.
#4 — Do you have consistent methods to get feedback from customers?
Most owners recognize the value of online reviews and make getting them a priority. Research indicates that 80% of potential buyers (even those that come by way of referral) check reviews, recommendations and testimonials as part of their buying decision. So, the focus makes perfect sense.
While reviews can reinforce what you do well and maybe uncover an area for improvement, they have limitations. When you are considering new products/services or looking for ideas to improve, who better to ask than your loyal customers (and employees). Nothing beats a one-on-one or small group conversation. Don’t let online reviews replace other forms of feedback. Do both!
#5 — Do you track metrics that are important – and work as a whole team to correct issues we uncover.
When used properly, analytics are simply a decision-making tool — in sports and in business. They shouldn’t replace experience or even your gut instincts. But they can help you uncover opportunities for improvement.
Many businesses track sales metrics because they impact revenue or income. But what about your operations and service? On-time delivery, quality (re-works, defects), back-orders, labor hours, cycle times and complaints all impact your profitability and long-term sales. Find the gaps in your operations and work as a team to fix them.
Planning for Next Year
Growth, profit and freedom don’t just happen by accident. Now is a good time to give some thought to operational improvements – and build them into your plans for the coming year.
Ready to Put Your Business on the Path to Success?
Would another set of eyes, ongoing support and accountability from an expert help you take your business to a new level of success? Then let’s explore the possibilities with a complimentary consultation. It’s a chance to get to know each other, discuss your goals and the obstacles that hold you back. Together we can determine if there is a good fit between your needs and my services.
To learn more or schedule an appointment, call me at (856) 533-2344 or drop me an email Joan@HybridBizAdvisors.com