Simple and Effective Ways to Energize a Business

March 22, 2016

A business is in a rut. The owner knows it's not operating at peak efficiency, but has no idea what to do or where to start. Many times, the owner does what is easiest...and that is nothing at all. So, the worrying goes on, the business doesn't get any better, and the owner worries some more...quite a vicious cycle!

Overhauling a small business is no easy task and something that cannot be accomplished overnight. It takes thorough analysis, a disciplined plan, dedicated hours, and consistent action to produce intended and positive results.

Sometimes, however, a quick energy booster is just what is needed to start positive momentum. These four techniques can give a business a power boost to better productivity:

Follow-up

Small business owners are notorious for failure to follow-up on matters large or small – insignificant or significant. Regardless of the situation, failure to properly follow-up can eventually lead to big problems with customers, suppliers, vendors, employees, lenders, or investors. You name it and the lack of consistent follow-up will cause some type of complication. Whenever there is a problem regardless of the area or the individual involved, productivity suffers. When problems are kept to a minimum, however, productivity increases. Although a small business owner is always pressed for time, this can never be an excuse for failing to follow-up on important business details.

Business owners: give “follow-up” the importance it deserves. Rather than relying on memory to take action, make a list every morning and add to it during the day as new items arise that must be followed-up on. At the end of the day, mark off what was accomplished. Open items then become the beginning list for the next day. Result: Tasks are accomplished that might very well “fall through the cracks” without a disciplined approach to follow-up.

Attention to Details

Little things count to everyone in business. Owners can't develop “tunnel vision” where they become so focused on just one aspect of the business and then lose sight of the big picture...operating to improve efficiency and maximize profit.

Owners should “step into the shoes” of all their contacts...customers, prospects, vendors, and even the competition to see what others see about their business.

•    "What is it that customers like about my business?"
•    "What is it that customers dislike about my business?"
•    "What is it that a prospect sees that will make them want to do business with me...or not want to do business with me?"
•    "What is it that the competition sees that will help them attract my customers?"

Owners do not necessarily see in their own businesses what others see although they should. Obviously, some details in a business are more important than others; however, all details are still important. It is the interaction of tasks and related details, and how they are handled that contribute to the efficiency or lack of efficiency in a business.

Standardize Procedures

Procedures should be standardized and executed the same way, every time regardless of who is performing the function. They should be tested and retested until optimum performance and efficiency is achieved. The procedures should then be written, followed, reviewed, and revised as necessary. Written procedures are, also, excellent for training new employees and cross-training current employees to work in other functional areas. When one employee is out, another is ready to step in and take over with little productivity lost in the process.

Perform a SWOT Analysis

Every business has a number of items in each category of a SWOT analysis... strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. To really know and understand a business, an owner should know what falls into each of the four categories. If one has not been recently performed, now is the time to determine the strengths of the business and continue to capitalize on what makes the business prosper. Seek ways to improve upon weaknesses. Take advantage of untapped opportunities that can take the business to new heights, and minimize the effects of potential threats to a business should they materialize.

An honest, critical analysis of a business provides ideas for immediate action that will improve operational efficiency and provide a baseline for future action. Being proactive in a business is far superior to being reactive.

Progress

Progress – minor or major - is an important element in moving a business forward. It is important that some type of progress is constantly made. A business can be invigorated daily by taking advantage of energy boosters that take relatively little time but can produce big gains. Rather than letting a business simply idle along, make daily progress!