Sometimes we become so focused on growing our business and increasing the bottom line, we forget that profit margins can be influenced by a lot more than new business opportunities. In fact, you may be in danger of missing or losing new business, if your company isn’t operating effectively and efficiently. The pace of business today has become incredibly fast, relying on instant information, social networking, and constant connection. For your business, this can only mean there is a larger margin for error. Outdated systems, bad communication, insufficient support could all contribute to your company losing time, advantage and ultimately revenue. So here is a quick guide to help you focus on what you can do to run a tighter operation, ensuring you don’t miss out because of inefficient work practises.
Get an overview. Approach you business operation with a discerning eye. Examine every aspect of your organisation with this question in mind, ‘How do we operate now and what can we do better?’
Manage your time and get organised. Time management is a skill that can improve every aspect of your life but especially your business. You can start by keeping track of your average day – how do you spend your time? When do you wake up? When are you in the office? how much time do you set aside for meetings, phone calls or correspondence? So now that you know how you use your time, begin thinking how you could be using it more effectively. Draw up a simple plan for your day and make an effort to stick to it, you will be impressed with the results.
Avoid getting too big too soon. Growing your business may be the goal but rapid expansion could spell disaster if you’re just not ready for it. Again, planning is key. Know your limitations as well as those of your staff and operation. Measured growth that has the infrastructure to support it, can only be good. Mushrooming beyond your ability to manage it, could unleash a world of strategic and logistical problems.
Have a technology plan. Outdated systems, old hardware, buggy software can all contribute to the interruption of your productivity flow. Your clients or customers won’t appreciate being kept waiting because of a crashed computer or failed fax machine. Make sure you have assessed your business tech needs and have a schedule to replace the old and keep pace with the new.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. Honestly, this can’t be stressed enough. Whether it’s between staff and management, with co-workers or with your customers, good communication is the key to running a successful enterprise. There are endless benefits to an effective chain of communication. Employee morale and productivity increases when staff know what is required of them and receive regular feedback for what they’ve done. Managers have a better overview of the company and it’s staff and therefore can make key decisions more readily. Good communication with customers makes them feel valued and gives them a better understanding of your business and the benefits to them.
Keeping track. One of the most fundamental mistakes business owners make, is not having a meticulous record-keeping system. Whether it’s phone calls, emails, faxes, past deals, contracts – it’s imperative that you document and keep an archive of your work flow. This will assist you in a number of ways, it saves time, no more lost files or duplication of work and in the end allows you to concentrate your effort on what is really important.
The daily grind of doing business can often leave us distracted and overwhelmed. Taking the time to step back now and then however, allows us to see the bigger picture and make the necessary adjustments to ensure our business is truly effective, efficient and engaging.
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