Streamline your internal operations to yield better margins.
Improving efficiency, unifying technology and cultivating existing relationships are vital strategies to protect your business.
There are a variety of operational considerations you can review now, to help insulate your business, regardless of the twists and turns in the marketplace. Auditing and reviewing your internal operations and practices can strengthen your business and improve efficiency, regardless of how the market fares. Importantly, these things can help insulate you if the economy worsens.
1. Analyze and streamline your internal operations and processes
As your business grows, so do the process and procedures and internal practices your staff use to, generally, ‘get stuff done’. It’s best practice to perform routine process audits to identify opportunities to streamline. Potential outcomes are more efficiency, less waste, less frustration, less time and often, far better use of both your staff as well as your existing technology to simplify and provide more accurate metrics and business data in far easier ways.
2. Integrate and utilize all of your technology for maximum efficiency
Your technology tools should be working for you. We see far too many clients who have either manualized a process where it needn’t have been or who are spending time reconciling data from one system to another. Your technology can likely work far more efficiently for you as well as be integrated to work together. Like the process audit, this is an analysis also well worth the time and expense now to find long term efficiency and significant cost savings. Work with a business and technology consultant to ensure your efforts will be rewarded.
3. Strengthen your best client relationships and transition problematic ones
Completing a reality based quantitative and qualitative customer analysis is a tough but worthy exercise. We all appreciate our clients and the business they bring. But, are they all created equal? We think not, for most every business.
Do you prepare, and have you thoroughly reviewed, your client contribution roster lately? Which customers bring your business and your team the most value in terms of rewarding work and profitability to your bottom line? Which clients are detractors and/or are drains for your team or are eroding your profits.
This is a hard look in the mirror, but a necessary one. While these analyses are usually surprising, taking action against them are often big improvements to your business, your team morale and very frequently, your bottom line.
4. Review your workforce lineup and identify alternative staffing models
Are you reviewing staffing and performance efficiency regularly? If not, you should. Do you have the right level of staff for the business you have today, or that you may be expecting in the near term. Regular and routine analysis of staffing levels allow you to ensure staff levels are optimized at any point in time.
A peak performing business has the right staff in the right roles at the right time, without surplus resources. Not actually an easy feat for many businesses. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be working at it on the regular.
In addition to evaluation of right sizing your team, you should also consider right-skilled staff — are your employees in the right roles for optimum performance and delivery of your product and service offer?
Finally, if you anticipate difficult times, be sure to consider more flexible staffing models that could support and insulate your business. Models which include part time, flex time, co-sourcing or outsourcing are a few of the options which may fit your business. Involving your managers and staff in these options also provides them a voice in the solution. If you have a strong culture and employer brand, you may find your staff to be far more willing to help identify workable solutions, both for the business and for themselves.
The most effective way to support the health and success of your business is to take targeted and strategic actions before you actually need them. If your business is well prepared ahead of time you will have the highest probability of ongoing success — regardless of market and economic conditions.
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