After you’ve been running your business for a while, it’s very easy to get lost in the day to day management of your company and lose sight of the big picture. You spend so much of your time and energy keeping things ticking over, that you struggle to find the time in your day to do the routine maintenance that is required.
Eventually, you start to feel like a hamster on a wheel, running to keep up with the pace you’ve set yourself. Today is the day to step back and reevaluate; it’s time to return to the basics and make sure your business is functioning how it should. Here are the four things you need to evaluate to keep your company on the trajectory for optimal growth.
Easy to overlook, but also the easiest way to make some savings and boost your profit margin. It may be tiring, but taking the time to really scrutinize your books can pay dividends. You may think that your costs are reasonable, but even shaving a small percentage off a few areas can make a big difference over time.
Could you get a slightly better deal from your energy provider? Is a rival company offering a cash incentive to switch to them? You should also look closely at your staffing costs; it’s likely to be a large portion of your overall expenses.
You don’t have to lay off entire departments, but optimizing the work-time of your staff is another small change to bring about big results. For instance, imagine that you have part-time workers doing a 4-hour shift, during which you allow them a paid 15-minute break.
If they opted to take their break at the end of their shift, thereby leaving 15 minutes early, you could alter the official timings of the shift so that they no longer have a paid break, but still work the same 3 hours and 45 minutes.
They get to leave ‘15 minutes early’ as usual, at the expense of 15 minutes of pay, which is likely to be a negligible amount. This example might not be directly comparable to your particular line of work, but it does show how a small change that causes little inconvenience to your workers, can create a big difference to you over time.
All businesses will have debt; it’s just the way the modern world works. However, debt costs money. Every day that goes by, the interest on those loans is increasing, which means you’re going to be paying them off for longer.
After having worked hard to cut down on your costs, you could put that money to good use paying off some debts. You might have some outstanding accounts with your providers, or you could look into making an extra loan payment on the mortgage for your premises.
Paying off your debts early saves you money in the long run by decreasing the lump sum you are paying interest on, you could also boost your credit rating, allowing you to gain access to better deals. However, it is always advisable to check your credit agreement before making any early payments, as some providers can penalize you for doing so.
Some debt can work in your favor, whereas some is doing nothing but damage to your bank account. Examine your finances carefully and figure out which best describes your current situation.
This is the most obvious way of boosting your success. However, it is important to scrutinize your costs, and pay off some overdue debt, before turning your attention to the big one, as this is the one which will take up most of your time and effort. To increase your turnover, you are going to have to go right back to your business plan and look for any gaps or discrepancies.
You have already accounted for your costs, and you don’t have to worry about financing as you are paying that off already. But you should be looking hard at your marketing strategy, and customer satisfaction or retention levels. Your best source of information here is your current customer base.
Draft a short survey (the shorter the better) using simple tick boxes to find out where your customers heard about you, how they rate your service, if they recommend you to friends and colleagues, if they know about all the services or products you have on offer, and if they have any comments or suggestions. This survey should give you a good place to start when maximizing your profits.
The comments or suggestions from your clients will offer invaluable information about any gaps in your business model for you to address. The other answers will be a little more vague but should still provide useful insight into your potential shortcomings. Asking where they heard about you will allow you to know where your advertising is effective, and where it could use some work.
By ‘plugging any holes’ in your marketing strategy, you increase the chances of new clients coming your way etc. Use the information from your survey to scrutinize the way you operate. Again, small changes for big results are the order of the day here.
No doubt, as your company grows, you will need to hire new staff and train them. How you do this can have a lasting impact on your business. If you have ineffective training strategies in place, you will only cost the company more money as time goes on. Having your training protocols and methodologies clearly written out allows consistency in your workforce.
It also allows for a quicker process, meaning that the new staff member is up to speed and able to work in a solo capacity in a much shorter period of time. Not only does this make them more of an efficient worker, but it also means that the staff member who is training the new recruit spends less time away from their work, thus allowing for increased productivity overall.
Though basic in premise, following these tips to revisit key areas of your business model could bring about a fresh approach, with the ability to shake up your company and facilitate renewed growth.