If your business has grown from a startup to an established entity, congratulations. Most people don’t get this far, and you can take a second to pat yourself on the back. But that’s all the time you can spare, because in order to become a business that lasts for decades, you’ve got a lot more work to do. There are plenty of ways to expand your operations, but that’s for another article. For now, I want you to sit still, look around at the way you do things, and figure out a way to make your operations more efficient. By doing so, you’ll get a lot more mileage out of your core practices, eliminate waste, and be a lot leaner and meaner.
Here are three of my favorite methods.
1. Maximize Current Customer Relationships
You know the idea. It’s way easier to keep a current customer than it is to earn a new one. But even so, many businesses neglect their current customer base by chasing the thrill of the hunt. Gradually, current clients start to leave the fold, due to negligence. No matter how effective your sales force, you’ve got to make your real customers feel like #1. So offer them some rewards for their loyalty. Make them feel very much appreciated and at home. Gradually, you may be able to get them to buy into more of your services than before, making them more profitable than you anticipated. When you’re sure that you have a mature client base, then spend time seeking out new customers to serve. If you can’t keep your current clients happy, why seek out new ones?
2. Practice Better Accounting
By using modern accounting software, as offered by Sage, you’ll be able to make sure your money is accounted for, without having to pay someone else to do it for you. The advantage of doing your own accounting, or at least having it done inhouse, means that you always know where your money is and where it’s going. Payroll is covered. Payments are efficient. You know who owes you what. In addition, most of your money moving actions can be automated. Alerts can be put in place. Overdrafting and missed payments are a thing of the past. I could go on, but if you are doing this stuff by hand, using an antiquated software system, or pay a stranger to do these things for you, you aren’t making the most of your accounting.
3. Don’t Have Anything that Isn’t Useful or Making You Money
If you have old equipment or inventory, strip your place of business of anything that’s just sitting around. Useless equipment and retail items are taking up space without helping to pay the rent for the area they’re taking up. The same goes for individuals and services that don’t pull their weight. Firing people can be hard, even if they are service providers, but if you can get the same or better for cheaper, you’ve got to bite the bullet and clear ranks. When your business is made up only of useful individuals, systems, and equipment, then you’ve got a great business indeed.
There are plenty of other ways to make your business more efficient, but if you perform these three simple steps, you’ll be ahead of most. Take the time to do these things, and a lot more ideas will suggest themselves to you.