An entrepreneur is always striving to make improvements, so I’ve come up with six essential areas that you can focus on in your business to make small (or large) improvements in.
By no means do I ask you to work on all these areas at once. To achieve a step change in your business, I advise referring to your strategy for the next 30, 60 or 90 days and see if any of these areas match your objectives – my guess is that at least one of them will!
I often talk about reducing distractions to boost productivity. Poor time management can be the reason you are less productive than you’d like to be but there are other reasons too. Perhaps you could automate regular tasks to free up some time or outsource tasks that don’t truly align with your true purpose in your business.
Staff and team members are readily available resources to call upon for insight or even delegation, and who could help identify areas in the business or your processes that can be streamlined to boost productivity.
An older article of mine asks you to consider 4 questions to help boost your productivity.
TIP: Regulate your morning routine, whether that’s the time you make your first drink, or when you have the radio on. Setting a routine for the day and sticking to it, helps you to remain focused on the task at hand.
2. Customer experience
This can boil down to communications. A good customer experience is one that may lead to referrals and advocacy, so you can always find a way to improve on that.
Is your customer’s journey mapped out in your business anywhere? Are you aware of all of the points of contact and opportunities to interact with your customers? Are you consistent in your communications and follow ups?
TIP: Customer experience doesn’t end with them making a purchase or completing the project. You can extend your excellent customer service through the use of social media, newsletters and blogs that continue to support them and give valuable content away.
3. Technology (digital transformation)
By adopting and exploring the capabilities of digital technologies, businesses can transform their operations, processes, and customer experiences. Technology includes cloud computing, big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and automation.
Now, you may already be using these in your business, but are you using them to their full capability, or are you still testing the water, deciding where they can come in useful?
TIP: Make use of your IT support and get some training on the digital tech already in place in your business. Look at what you already automate and consider what other business processes can be automated or what other tech you could introduce.
4. Marketing activities
Marketing plays a huge role in your business and may be in the form of numerous activities. You may outsource part of your marketing, delegate it or manage it yourself. The question is, is it as effective as you would like it to be?
Are all your marketing activities aligned to the desire? Are they even all necessary?
TIP: Gather as much information on the results of your marketing as possible – where did your customers come from? Are you hanging out where your best customers hang out? How much time is spent on the activity? What is the value of the return? Now take a broad look at the big picture and identify weaknesses and strengths. You should see an improvement in a relatively short timeframe.
If you feel you need to go back to the basics and ensure you’re hitting all the right spots, take 2 minutes to read, ‘7 steps to establish your marketing plan’.
5. Company culture
Undeniably, we all take our minds off the team from time to time and get caught focusing on firefighting, an exciting new project or just carrying out the usual week by week tasks. How often do you check up on the health of the culture within your business?
Annual reviews and SWOTS can be a good opportunity to do this, and are probably already a part of your business processes where leadership is concerned, but this can be improved upon.
Company culture is an ever changing animal, one that can be influenced by the drop of a hat, so you shouldn’t leave focusing on it until an annual review.
TIP: Improve on the health of your company culture by taking a step back to see the business from the point of view of your staff and customers. Are you fulfilling their needs? You could add rewards into each month; a simple celebration of a job well done, or recognition of consistency goes a long way.
Much like with company culture you can lose focus on your spending habits relatively easily.
Yes, you have a budget to which you are beholden, but an extra networking breakfast here, a working lunch there can quickly get out of hand without you realising it.
TIP: Practise the art of saying no. Go back to your business plan and say no to anything that doesn’t fit your desire, your goal. It’s not always easy or possible, but recognising and respecting the difference between a ‘want’ and a ‘need’ can help your budget significantly.
Improving all comes down to productivity in the end
You may have picked up that the focus areas in this article all seem to go back to that first one, productivity. Improving customer experience makes you more productive at gaining equally loyal customers in the future, improving on tech, marketing and budget reduces pending and saves you time and having a healthy culture at work makes everyone more productive.
Improvement, growth, scaling whatever you call it and whatever it looks like to you all comes down to producing a successful outcome following an activity. The more efficiently you can execute that activity the greater the product will be.
If you’d like to discuss any of these areas in more detail, remember I offer an hour’s free business mentoring, or feel free to explore the rest of my blog topics when you have more time.