3 Business Improvement Actions to Take Right Now

If you’re feeling a little uncertain about where your business is headed right now you’re not alone.

With all the things going on in the world it’s not surprising that many small business owners are feeling less confident about their future and that of their business.

You know – Recession – Inflation – Interest rate hikes and the rest.

So is it possible to prepare for challenging times and how can you do it?

The answer is yes.

What business improvement actions can we take?

We absolutely do have a degree of control over our business despite challenging external factors. After 30+ years experience in business I’ve experienced economic downturns on more than one occasion to come out stronger at the other end.

You can do it too.

3 Business Improvements Actions you can take right now are:

Business Improvement Action 1: Review your Product Suite and cut out anything that is not profitable

While that may seem counterintuitive when business is down or unpredictable, simplifying things is the key to sustainable growth.

Most people think that adding more products or services will help keep revenue up but that often comes at the expense of other important things such as your time, staffing and inventory costs, product quality and risk of dropping the customer service ball.

While we’re inclined to use revenue as a measure of success, it’s profit that’s actually far more important. So keep the focus on profit rather than revenue.

If you have numerous products or services then start by looking at each of these individually. What are your best sellers? Most popular? Most profitable? Most in demand? Unique to your business?

Focus on these ones and put your others aside for now. You can always add them back later if you want.

Now double down on the quality of your delivery system of these products. (Action #2)

Make the customer experience for these products/services exceptional. This alone will do more for your business through increasing return visits / purchases and word of mouth referrals than a broader product suite with less attention to customers will ever do.

Business Improvement Action 2: Systemise your delivery system

Review all your systems and processes that are relevant to the delivery of your products/services for quality and efficiency. This includes your customer service processes.

Identify and eliminate any double handling or bottlenecks in the process. This helps reduce labour costs for that product/service and frees up time if needed for those people to work on other important tasks.Business improvement action customer service

Automate what you can using technology to further save on human resources. What does your customer enquiry process look like? Does it involve leaving messages or emails that pile up? Or keeping your team on the phone for too long answering the same FAQ’s?

Do you have  CRM software that keeps track of enquiries or are you still handing out manual messages and using sticky notes?

For things that repeat multiple times throughout the day, can you automate some of that to save time?  E.g. Email handouts that address common FAQs to replace lengthy phone conversations? Links to your website for further information etc.

If you provide the same genetic information during a face to face consultation multiple times a week then why not create a video of that information to send to those clients instead. This will again free up time to spend on other income producing activities. How many different scenarios can this be applied to? Think of the possibilities.

This model is often referred to as a one to many model. Make it once and sell to many.

Business Improvement Action 3: Crosstrain your team

With so many businesses facing staff shortages for different reasons it’s more important than ever you have a  flexible and adaptable team.

Now’s the time to review your employee’s individual’s talents and make sure they are working to their strengths and on activities that match both their skill sets and organisational goals.

Take any opportunity to cross train and upskill your team so that in the event someone calls in sick or takes leave you have someone else who can competently take over that role in the short term.

While it is fair to say that you should be running lean and mean, it should never be at the expense of your quality or customer service systems.

And if you find you are missing some important talent to fill a gap in those key areas then go ahead and hire that person. Never let negative external factors stand in the way of hiring skills and talents you need to keep your business running smoothly and effectively.

To Summarise: 3 Business Improvement Actions to Take Right Now

Step 1

Simplify to grow
Review your product suite and delivery. Focus on and keep only your best performing and profitable products/services.

Step 2

Systemise your product and customer service delivery systems and make them as efficient as possible.

Step 3

Crosstrain and upskill your team, provide clear job descriptions and goals and set performance expectations across all roles.

Then and only then double down on marketing and promote the heck out of your offerings.

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