In order for your business to remain competitive and successful, efficiency must become a priority. Unfortunately, it's easy to get so wrapped up in the daily routine that little thought is given to your original goals. Even if things are going relatively well, there are always areas that can be improved upon. Here are 7 tips you can use to improve the way your business operates.
1) Connect With Your Customers
Your primary goal should be to keep your customers happy. One way to improve customer relations is to stay in touch with them. Phone calls, emails, and letters are all great ways to stay connected with existing customers, reminding them that you're still here and ready to serve them again. Ask them questions and find out what they think about your company and your products. Take note of this feedback, especially if you hear the same suggestions from different customers.
Remember that your objective should be to encourage repeat business. While there are many ways this can be accomplished, there's nothing like hearing what your clientele has to say. Their feedback can provide you with ideas for other products or services they might be in need of.
2) Inspire Your Employees
Great employees are hard to find, so they need to be aware of how important they are. They're often so buried in performing their duties that they give little thought to the bigger picture and how they fit into it. Getting to know them and taking an interest in how they're doing can help cultivate better relationships with them. This can contribute to improved retention, which would save you the trouble and expense of training new talent.
3) Cut Costs
While most of your attention is likely to be focused on generating revenue, cutting costs is equally important. No matter how good your sales are, it's pointless if you're spending too much to fully realize the fruits of that labor. Even the simplest of details matter, when it comes to saving money.
Utilizing both sides of paper copies can significantly reduce the amount of paper you're throwing away. It may not seem like a lot, but when that same principle is applied around the board, it has a way of adding up. When you do need these types of supplies, ordering in bulk will save you even more. That money can be applied toward outsourcing things that are best left to experts, such as your IT and web development needs.
4) Review Your Business Plan
Sometimes it's a good idea to go back and review your original business plan. Your company was built to reflect a vision you had in mind and it's important to know whether the way it's running is consistent with that. Things can change over time and there's not much you can do about that.
The economy can rise and fall, as can the industry you're involved in. Consumer trends will come and go. If you think it may be necessary to change direction, you'll have to assess the original plan, in light of the current climate.
5) Review Your Pricing Strategy
Your pricing strategy can hurt your business, just as much as it can help. You may need to look at multiple factors to determine what you should be charging for your products. Don't forget to consider what your competition is charging or you might price yourself out of the market. Also ask your customers what they think of your prices, both in terms of the value you provide and what they may have seen from your competitors.
6) Identify Weaknesses
Regardless of how busy you might be, it's imperative to identify potential weak points before something goes terribly wrong. This is something you should get everyone involved in, as it's too important to overlook something you may not have noticed yourself. Your employees spend their time in the trenches, paying close attention to aspects of the business you may be somewhat detached from. This is one of the best ways to weed out bad practices and ineffective strategies while reminding your entire staff of how important their eyes and ears are to everyone's success.
7) Resolve Small Issues
Don't make the mistake of thinking that small problems aren't important enough to address. These seemingly minor glitches have a way of snowballing until they're out of control when they are ignored. This can cost you a tremendous amount of money and possibly bring everything to a halt. Brainstorming is the most obvious way to find solutions, but don't be afraid to consult experts and others involved in your industry.
Running a business is hard work for everyone involved, from the top down. Attention to even the smallest of details can make all the difference in a company's success. Implementing these tips should help give you a better idea of where to focus your efforts to ensure maximum efficiency.
Robert Cordray is a former business consultant and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience and a wide variety of knowledge in multiple areas of the industry. He currently resides in the Southern California area and spends his time helping consumers and business owners alike try to be successful. When he’s not reading or writing, he’s most likely with his beautiful wife and three children.