New year is a good time to take stock of your business. Like your car, business needs periodic tune-ups to make it run smoothly.
Car needs oil change to reduce friction and wear and tear on the engine, new spark plugs for for it to accelerate smoothly, and replacing worn out parts so that it will not break down on you and leave you stranded. Your business deserves the same care.
Here are some quick thoughts on tuning up your business this year:
Streamline Your Processes and Systems (Oil Change)
Every business has systems and processes – in how you handle new and existing customers, how you handle your products and services, manage your people, etc. In a young, growing, organization, these constantly change. Dig deeper into your systems, talk to your people who use these systems and see if you can change some of the steps or processes to make these more efficient. Identify a few flaws in your system and fix some of the easier ones right away. This will help your company run smoothly.
For example, in our company, to keep track of our inquiries and status of each inquiry, we have switched to a master spreadsheet which tracks new inquiries and their progress. This master spreadsheet as a google doc, accessible to all of the relevant staff members – so everyone sees the same copy, and can make edits. This now allows us to see the progress on each project and makes us more efficient.
Accelerate Your Growth (Change Your Spark Plugs)
When you look at increasing value of your business, nothing beats the bottom line – revenues and profits. Always think of how you can push the business. This could be offering more products or services, improving or upgrading your products or services, gaining more customers by better sales and marketing or a combination of all of these. Or it could be acquiring another company to gain new products or market share.
For example, in our company we are implementing a few changes this year. A simple thing is just making the whole process more efficient – from the time we get the listing to the time we put it to market and the way we approach prospects and follow up with them. And trying to Another thing we have already started doing is offering our customers additional products and services by expanding our marketplace. We have already invested in software that will allow us to offer directory and classified services as well as way to sell their own products or services. Over a period of time, we see this as an important extension of our marketplace.
Make Your Business Sturdier (Replace Worn out Parts)
Just like you don’t want to be stranded somewhere because the car won’t start due to an old battery or broken fan-belt, you certainly do not want to be to have your business suffer due to breakdown in your critical systems or equipment. Time to examine your critical systems and see if you need to invest in new equipment, software or hardware and how to ensure that your business will not suffer down-time.
One of the important steps that we have undertaken is to put all of our important documents and data in the cloud. We use ShareFile , Dropox, Mailchimp and Evernote software so that our whole team has access to the important files from anywhere in the world. We also use cloud-based email systems (Google appliance) and use software as a service whenever possible (for example for accounting and tax, ) so that we always have access to these services. We are also going to invest in a smart scanner such as Fujitsu that can digitize and file all your documents and has an ability to take different sizes of papers and scan them very fast.
You can think of what your business needs and upgrade or replace the critical systems that you cannot afford to be without.