As a business owner, you’ll understand that attracting customers is vital and making sales is even more important but you’ll also know that none of that matters if you don’t have operations under control. From sourcing materials and manufacturing to packaging and logistics, everything needs to run smoothly or your bottom line suffers. On that note, the following are eight ways you can improve business operations – starting today.
1. Cost Reduction
You can implement this strategy in a number of different areas depending on the industry sector you work in. If you have large call centers as part of your customer engagement and feedback operation, for example, moving those centers to higher population points or locations with lower rental costs could help. If you run a B2B model, you may save a lot of money by investing in a fleet of vehicles and fleet management software. You can check prices for a fleet management platform that lets you focus on growing your business so take a look at this site here.
The same principle can be applied to the staff that you have. Are there specific roles that you could outsource to a freelancer? Doing so might lower your insurance premiums and prevent you from having to pay unnecessary holiday pay etc. Next, take a look at your monthly expenses and determine if there are any areas in operations that you could cut back on. Do you really need all the space you’re renting? Are you overpaying for the rental of machinery or the purchase of packaging materials?
2. Improve the Customer Journey
We’ve already mentioned customer services, but this point deserves a little more clarification. Your product/service might be amazing but it’s nothing if you don’t make your customers feel appreciated and cared for. Think about the entire process – from checkout to product delivery – and determine if there are any areas that need improvement.
Maybe your customer service team is taking too long to reply to queries? Or perhaps your website is difficult to navigate and customers can’t find all the info they need to make a purchase? Is your delivery time way longer than other competitors in your industry? Whatever industry you’re operating in, it’s important to put yourself in your customer’s shoes every so often and look at your product/service and support objectively.
3. Reduce Risk
If you have a warehouse or any kind of physical location holding stock, you most likely have a risk assessment and health and safety person who is wrung out from having to perform analysis of risk in the workplace. Do that guy or girl a favor – read the reports, find out what the common threads are and eliminate the risk. Less risk means happier colleagues and less shrinkage from damage equals greater profits. It’s a win-win.
4. Keep Up with Trends
It can be easy to ignore new upgrades in technology and the changing trends that are shaping your industry as a whole. After all, you’re running the business and you’re focused on growing the bottom line and keeping your customers happy. That said, while it might seem like a drain on your time and effort, knowing what’s happening in the world outside of your business is crucial if you want to succeed in the long-term.
Check the local economy and keep on top of changing laws and regulations. Keep an eye on your competitors and see what they’re doing to stay ahead of the curve. Sign up to newsletters and courses that will keep you in the know so you don’t fall behind.
5. Redefine Output Goals
You started out with a specific set of productivity goals that you wanted to achieve. Fast forward a couple of years and your business has outgrown those goals and you’re doing well. That’s all great, but have you taken the time to set new goals based on your current and projected output rate? If not, it’s time to sit down and set clear objectives and inform all key operational employees so they’re aware of the new targets that need to be hit.
6. Give Managers the Tools they Need
This point may seem obvious but you’d be amazed at the amount of business owners who do not empower their managers with the tools they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability. Regardless of how much business management software costs, it will be worth its weight in gold when you realize the benefits of giving your managers an up-to-date view of your organizations human resource performance.
7. Apply High Impact Marketing Techniques
It can be difficult for small companies who are running on a tight marketing budget to make a huge impact when it comes to getting their brand out there. This is where high impact marketing comes in. Get the biggest return on your marketing dollar by building a social media community and leveraging that audience by creating valuable content that’s shareable.
Invest time in creating content that echoes your brand’s identity and everything you stand for. It’s even more powerful if this content is multi-purpose i.e., suitable for sharing across a number of different platforms. In terms of SEO, optimize your site for local search and look out for opportunities where you can boost its visibility with powerful backlinks from other websites or trusted review sites.
8. Utilize All Resources
Your operations team and processes are the glue that keeps everything together and, to achieve excellence in these areas, you must utilize all resources that you have available. Create failsafe SOPs that are repeatable and easy to comprehend. Maximize productivity by chatting with your team to see if there are any areas that they think can be improved.
Maybe they feel there’s not enough routine in their day and they’re being asked to move around too much? Or perhaps specific software or machinery would make certain tasks so much easier and less of a time drain? Talk to your team and you’ll be able to get a better sense of the changes that you need to make to optimize operations.