By John Courtney
Growth is what all businesses seek to achieve. You want to increase your business’s value, and that means improving your profitability.
Inefficient practices waste money, but lots of businesses keep them around. Stopping and properly analysing your business for wastage can help you achieve the growth you’re looking for.
If you want to cut down on waste, as well as finding new ways to grow your business, these 3 areas are good places to start. Each of them is itself a wide and varied aspect of your business. This article will introduce you to the core ideas of each area so you know where to go to carry your business forward.
Business structure and operations
It’s common to develop inefficiencies in their operations as businesses grow. Finding and correcting these inefficiencies can give your productivity a massive boost.
Improving business operations is about finding the places where your organisation breaks down or wastes time. Your business may be made of different teams and departments, but they should be able to seamlessly work together.
As they grow and split off, the communications between teams can deteriorate. This can end up with a massively inefficient management structure that made sense as it grew, but doesn’t really work.
Delve into your business like it’s a puzzle and try to truly understand how everything works together. If you were to start again and design your organisational structure, how would it look? Chances are this ideal won’t be the same as how your business is actually structured.
Helping employees be productive
Remember that the goal is to make your operations more efficient. Knowing that what you’re doing is really pointless isn’t a great state to be in to stay motivated. Not only will unnecessary busywork or red tape waste your employee’s time, but it’ll drain their will to do the important work.
Improving the efficiency of the structure frees up their time to get on with the important stuff, actually improving their productivity. Happier and less stressed employees will give you more value for the same amount of time.
You can improve employee motivation by keeping employees engaged and listening to them. More efficient operations tend to lead to easier communication up and down the business.
If your supervisors and managers are wasting less time on redundant data entry, they have more time to engage with their teams.
When employees can give feedback to someone with the time to listen to it, it’ll be easier for it to get to the Board of advisors. When the Board decides to make important changes, easier communications means your employees can understand why things are happening and get on board with the new direction.
Digitally transform your business
Technology permeates every aspect of our lives. Your business should be making the most of the tech available to you. Tech offers up many avenues to improve your business’s efficiency, as well as revealing a number of opportunities you can use to grow.
Just like with a business’s organisational structure, its tech systems tend to grow organically. Many businesses develop IT overlaps or system gaps that reduce productivity and waste your money. As you grow, you want your business to be able to scale-up IT the right way.
Pretty much every business could utilise more technology in their day-to-day operations. For example, automation has benefits to almost every aspect of your business. It can help by reducing workload and reducing backlogs.
Automating stock updates between your warehouse and your storefronts could prevent stocking issues or sales that can’t be fulfilled. Using a chatbot can ease strain on customer services by filtering out all of the simple requests. You can also use automation in your marketing efforts to enhance your messaging and track the success of campaigns.
Making use of data
A core part of Digital Transformation that’s often forgotten about is data. Every business collects incredible amounts of data, but often it ends up just sitting there. There are many uses for the data you already have, from conducting market research to generating statistical models.
Understanding your customers is important. The sales data you have can give you much deeper insights into what your customers really want and what works for them.
It could even help you understand how your customers would react to certain changes. When suggesting strategies in a planning meeting, you’re working off of predictions of what you think will work best. Data can improve the accuracy of those suggestions, leading to a greater success rate.
Your marketing is how you bring customers to your business. Your branding is how you’re seen by customers, and the impression it creates is a major factor in their decisions on where to spend. Frequently, though, it doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
Marketing is what convinces both new and returning customers to spend money with your business. How efficiency can come into marketing may not be instantly obvious, but it is there.
You can improve your efficiency by giving your marketing efforts the attention and funding they deserve. No matter how good your product, no one will buy what they’ve never heard of. You want to generate better leads by getting as many people to hear about you as you can with as few different campaigns as possible.
Do your research and find out what’s working for those competitors who are selling. Find out about what platforms are best used to communicate with your target demographic. Learn what kind of messaging they respond to best.
Perfecting your sales pitch is about understanding what your customers want and basing your message around that. For your business to grow, you need to convince your customers that you’re the best option for them.
Consider your branding
Thinking about how you present yourself is of utmost importance. The effort you put into your brand gives an impression to your customers about how you’ll put effort into your product or service?
Marketing also means after the people who’ve bought from you before. Making your return customers feel important keeps them coming back. Build trust in your brand, and you will be able to build a customer base that costs less on marketing per purchase they make.
Poorly thought out marketing gives a bad impression. It wastes the time spent on designing it and the money to actually put it out there. Proper research may cost a little more to begin with, but in the end is a much more efficient way of using your resources.
Improving your business growth really is as simple as rethinking what you’re already doing. Often, you don’t need to spend on big changes to see big improvements. Tightening up your business and reassessing your brand can go a long way towards giving your business growth a boost.
You could find that the assistance of an expert in the field could help you maximise each of these area’s efficiencies. There are options available to gain this level of support without breaking the bank. A full-time hire may be out of budget, but many Directors work part-time.
You can find one that fits your business’s needs and only works as often as they’re needed.
Boardroom Advisors can provide this support with Advisors such as a part-time IT Director, offering flexible contracts that suit your business’s budget.
About the Author
John Courtney is Founder and Chief Executive of BoardroomAdvisors.co which provides part-time Executive Directors (Commercial/Operations/Managing Directors), Non-Executive Directors and paid Mentors to SMEs without either a recruitment fee or a long term contract.
John is a serial entrepreneur, having founded 7 different businesses over a 40 year period, including a digital marketing agency, corporate finance and management consultancy. He has trained and worked as a strategy consultant, raised funding through Angels, VCs and crowd funding, and exited businesses via MBO, MBI and trade sale. He has been ranked #30 in CityAM’s list of UK Entrepreneurs.