Keep Your Operations Tight By Reviewing These Critical Processes

Running a small business means having your finger in many pies. As a small business owner, you are the face of the company, head of sales and customer service, IT technician and operations manager. Having efficient systems can be the difference between making a profit and having to close your doors. 

Below, we’ll examine what we mean by efficiency and which processes to focus on when undertaking any business review.

What Do We Mean by Efficient?

When someone talks about efficiency, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For most, an efficient system is:

  • Cost-effective – By cost-effective, we mean the system does not cost you a prohibitive amount or cancel out any profit you might make
  • Time-effective – When looking at the efficiency of a system, your staff will be a good source of information. How easy is a system to use? Is a particular piece of software a burden to use?
  • Not placing unnecessary burdens on staff or customers.

Efficient systems will help you to find customers, keep those customers by providing excellent customer service, get paid on time and chase up any outstanding suppliers.

Conducting a Business Review – Do’s and Don’ts

Look carefully at your processes and determine where your pain points are. Communication is vital to whatever part of your business you are reviewing, and your staff and customers should be the first you approach for information.

A basic review of your business should focus on the following areas:

  • Staff pain points;
  • Customer pain points;
  • Systems review – taking into account the feedback you have already received;
  • Costs – You should have a good idea of how much you spend at each point of all your processes. If you don’t, it’s time to step back and start looking at your numbers.

Critically Evaluate Your Marketing

A marketing process that works for you will bring in more customers and, ultimately, more growth. An efficient marketing process will help you target the right person at the right time with the right offer.

Things to think about when reviewing your marketing process:

  • Are you using paid advertising? 
  • Where are you advertising?
  • How much does it cost to bring in one customer? 

There are better ways to attract the right customer. In the long term, it may be better to use social media (a free tool!) if advertising is eating into your profits.

Make Your Sales Process More Efficient

Without sales, there is no business. It pays, therefore, to find customers as efficiently as possible.

Things to think about:

  • How are you contacting potential customers?
  • Are you paying for leads?
  • Are you expecting staff to go through a confusing multi-step process to get a customer?
  • What is the average spend for a customer, and is it less than the amount it costs you to find that customer?
  • Are there processes that can be automated?

Project Management

Many of you will manage complex projects for your customers, so ensuring your project management process is efficient is crucial.

Things to think about:

  • Do you use subscription-based project management software?
  • How are you tracking projects and customers?
  • What is the administrative burden on your staff using these systems?
  • How are you scheduling projects (or customer visits)?

Review Your Financial Process

There are multiple financial processes where you can become more efficient. These include your payroll process, your invoicing process and how you pay suppliers.

Again, look at your processes and how much time they demand from your staff. Can you automate here? In some cases, employing a third party to look after this aspect of your business may be more efficient, but that depends on your financial position.

Reviewing Critical Processes To Build Your Business

Take the time to talk to as many customers and members of staff as you can. Review all customer feedback and keep communicating.

Remain open to all possibilities. Sometimes, efficiencies will come from places you least expect them. A new piece of software or a new way of doing things will help you save money and improve a process, bringing in more profit and growth.

Start small and build from there. 

Good luck on your journey!

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