Time to Improve

Is It Time To Improve Your Business?

Building a business is hard work. But sustaining growth and profitability require more than just effort. They take innovation, commitment and the right focus. So if you are frustrated with where your business is today and ready to improve your business, here are five suggestions to help you get started.

#1 – Have an Open Mind

Ideas and opinions come from a variety of sources.  Some ideas are obvious opportunities. Others come from fleeting remarks by friends, colleagues, employees or even total strangers.

Today, more than ever, people dismiss ideas because they don’t like the source or messenger. Sad because good ideas can come from anywhere — if we open our minds to the possibilities.  With an open mind and a willingness to try new things, ideas will flow and improvements will follow.

#2 – Invest In Your People

If you want to improve your business — start with your most valuable asset. Your team. It’s hard to be a great company without great people.

When you have a great team, innovation and creativity seem to flow. There is no need to force them to work together. Collaboration is something that happens because they value each others opinions. When you create an environment where people are engaged and productive, good things happen.  It pays dividends. 

Investing in your team make sense. The work place is changing so now is a good time to look at your culture, your hiring, your benefits, your training and most of all — your expectations. You can’t change things overnight, but over time you can. Just make it a priority.

#3 – Be a Profit Builder

Keep your focus on the bottom line. You can’t stay in business if you don’t make a profit.  If you want to take care of your customers and your employees, profit is not an option — it’s a requirement.

There are a lot of ways to improve profit in your business. Cutting costs in an obvious one. But while keeping costs down is important, put adequate resources into other areas too. Here’s a few you may wish to consider: 

  • Focus on growing sales of higher margin products and services. Products, like customers are not created equal. The growth of low-margin products can actually reduce your overall profit.
  • Gain efficiency and save time with systems and technology. It’s especially important for service businesses that are labor dependent. 
  • Eliminate re-works that come from poor quality.  Get it right the first time.
  • Evaluate your pricing to reflect value, not just cost. This can help you optimize the gross profit margins, a key profit driver.
  • Improve your marketing ROI with better targeting, compelling messages, diverse tactics and a follow-up system that converts more leads.
#4 – Balance Operations and Business Development

As a business grows, the day-to-day running and serving customers can become overwhelming. When this occurs, marketing and sales activities often go on the back burner,  Building a pipeline of new business opportunities while increasing sales to existing customers takes time.  It is not a stop-start activity.  Plan and make business development activities something that is done daily, weekly and monthly.  Whether you delegate or outsource these tasks, do it consistently. It will pay off on the bottom line. 

#5 – Think Lifetime Value

As a business owner, you must establish a long-term view of customer value before you can appreciate how important it is to develop a relationship with customers and ensure everything is done to keep them as long as possible.  What are your customers worth over their lifetime?

Here’s an example to demonstrate this point.  You own a lawn-care company.  The customer pays you $50 each time you mow their lawn.  While the first transaction is only $50, they spend that each week from May – September, so annually they spend about $1,000. If they stay with you for four years, they will spend about $4,000.  So is this a $50 customer or a $4,000 customer?  The way you view them will dictate how you invest in current and future customers.

About Joan Nowak.  As a business improvement expert, business coach, and consultant, I’ve been helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into profits for more than a decade. My whole-business approach empowers clients and drives improvements in key areas including revenue, operational performance, team development, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

Get Started. Stay On Track

Are you ready to take a leap forward? To get started and stay on track? My focus and accountability program offers an affordable way to get the help you need.  Click here to learn more.


How to Make Your Business Work Simply

There are some things in life that are complicated. Business doesn’t need to be one of them. You don’t need to be Einstein to invent new ways to create a better business. But it does require two things – goals and systems.

Many small businesses lack clear direction. So one of the first things I recommend to clients is that they define and prioritize what they want to accomplish over the next 12 months. When you have simple goals and share them with your team, everyone is on the same page. It gets them focused on the results you want.

I’ve had clients increase sales and profit significantly simply by defining and sharing their goals. Then they track results and communicate how they are doing.  This allows the owner to recognize them for a job well done or get their input to make adjustments when necessary.

Client Examples:  Simple Ways to Improve Your Business
  • A medical practice wanted to increase the number of new patients. Before we jumped into marketing, we tweaked some current procedures, including answering phones, scheduling appointments and new patient intake. We made sure that first contact was friendly, efficient and helpful. With scripts and procedures to make it easy, retraining staff and new patient goals, the practice added at least 25 new patients each month. They now have a strong foundation to make future marketing and lead generation activities pay off.
  • A commercial cleaning company wanted to grow customers in a few key segments. We developed key speaking points, a letter of introduction and a follow-up phone script. We modified their proposals to address both price and differentiation. With this in place, we implemented a campaign to contact 10 new prospects weekly. We generated three new clients the first month.  This is now an ongoing effort that continues to pay dividends.
  • A professional service firm was not pro-actively requesting referrals or testimonials from current clients. We implemented a quick phone survey for them to use when they completed a service such as tax preparation, planning or other business initiatives. While the feedback helped with our ongoing improvement efforts, the survey gave them the chance to ask for and receive referrals and testimonials. New business through referrals has produced sales growth without additional marketing investments.

As these examples demonstrate, doing small, often simple things, can make a difference in your sales and profits. Set goals and get others engaged. Apply a little innovation and you have a recipe for success.

Ready to Put Your Business on the Path to Success?

Would working with a business coach help you take your business to a whole new level? 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