Your business should run like a well-oiled, finely tuned machine. While the precise machine for this metaphor might depend on what kind of business you operate, you want it to run efficiently. That means you want to hear a gentle clicking or whirring, no crunching gears or clanging of dropped metal. Unfortunately, inefficiencies happen, and with them come wasted time and effort. When business isn’t growing or progressing, you might feel like you are ‘stuck in second gear,’ and whether you think your business machine is running well or poorly, there is likely room for improvement. Here are five steps to help you run an efficient business.
Making an Efficient Business
Identify What Isn’t Working
If you don’t know what isn’t working, then you won’t know which areas of your business you need to fix. By learning how to accurately identify any inefficiencies, you can help ensure your business won’t suffer from redundant processes, out-of-date procedures, needlessly complicated systems, or hard-to-find information. Perhaps you’ve tried to be cutting edge in the past, but implementing too many new systems at once can cause more problems than it solves. Wherever the inefficiencies exist, identifying them is the first step. Review your business structure with an open mind, asking yourself if there could be a better way to do something than how it’s currently done. Once you have identified your problem, you will be in a better position to address it.
Engage Your Customers
Things like self-service and artificial intelligence can make your business more accessible to your customers — they democratize the market. Studies have shown that competent organizations are much more likely than underperforming ones to be collaborating with their customers. The businesses that use democratized methods, including sharing and collaborating, have better customer retention and higher revenue. Working with customers can help grow your bottom line, and isn’t that the goal of all business?
Smart companies will engage with customers, bringing them inside the organization. Engagement can be as simple as listening to the customer or as involved as co-creating. Making your business accessible to customers requires a range of tools and approaches, and as companies work to engage with customers it is important for them to remember that customers are a brand’s best source of a competitive advantage. The easier it is for customers to access technology and information, the faster and smoother the business can run.
Look at the Bigger Picture
Step back and consider how your business and its products fit into the bigger picture. Are there ways your business’ departments can integrate better with others? Can you offer your customers a more balanced end-to-end solution? Instead of merely getting customers to a destination, are there additional products and services you could offer along the way to improve the journey? Understanding where the need for your services comes from, and how those services can be used, allows you to anticipate and respond more authentically to consumer needs. Awareness of the bigger picture, in the end, is an essential part of providing efficient services.
Whether you know it or not, your business has a community. While it could be a formal membership program, it may also be a collection of loyal fans or customers that you could and should be treating like a community. One of the best things you can do for your business is to build that community and keep it healthy. How you treat new community members within the first 30 to 60 days will often determine whether you keep them in the fold.
Your business can use many different tactics to build a community, ranging from simple approaches like creating a loyalty program or building an online community. These communities frequently generate new concepts and provide invaluable feedback. While building communities takes work, it’s well worth the effort, as loyal consumers typically spend more than others. When you go above and beyond for your communities, they become good for your customers and good for your business.
It might seem counter-intuitive, but taking risks is an important part of exposing business inefficiencies. When you step away from doing things the way you have always done them, you can better see which practices no longer serve your business. Risk is a necessary component of business, and it’s important for leaders to have the courage to explore unexpected opportunities. A willingness to explore new possibilities is what drives businesses forward.
Every business needs some fine-tuning from time to time to keep things running smoothly and efficiently. At Safeguard, we can help you find everything your business needs to run and grow, from checks and forms to online marketing and full-color printing. Your Safeguard consultant is able to offer the products, services, and advice to run an efficient business. Contact us today to get started.