Visit any government office and you will most likely find that the procedures in place are much more difficult than they need to be. Think about the times you have visited a business or office and thought you are wasting time and being made to jump through hoops unnecessarily when one or two simple changes would make everyone's life easier, not just for the customers but also the employees. How can you streamline your business day to day activities to ensure success? Here are 5 tips to put into practice:
1. Evaluate procedures from time to time.
What worked ten years ago, five years, even last year, may no longer be the best way to get things done. As your business grows and/or your client base does and technology changes, you need to stay current and respect everyone's time by making things run as smoothly as possible. Make it a priority at least once a year to reevaluate policies and procedures. This will help you avoid customer and employee dissatisfaction which will in turn save you time that you currently dedicate to putting out fires. Keeping your procedures updated to serve your current needs will be a major step to streamlining your business to make it run as efficiently as possible.
2. Ask for and listen to customer opinion.
Without customer or clients, you have no business. So it's very important to make sure that they are happy and satisfied enough to keep coming back to you and even better yet, to bring their friends and families. The best way to find out if someone is happy is by asking them. Depending on your business model, sending electronic surveys or having a suggestion box may be the way to go to get your customers to share their critiques and also sing your praises. You want to thank customers who do take the time to share their opinions and furthermore, you want to make sure you keep records of what suggestions you are getting. And while it's great to use the negative comments to better your business, you also want to make sure to take into account the positive things your customers like so you can be sure to keep doing those and use them as stepping stones to create new ideas that will please them even more. Did you know that this is one of the virtual services that my team and I offer? Ask me to learn more.
3. Ask for feedback from your employees.
Often times your employees will be your most valuable asset. Those that are on the front lines dealing with your customers are usually very in tune with your target audience. They will know customer reactions to current processes in place and will often hear the suggestions and complaints directly from customers. Don't be surprised when your employees have already figured out how to solve many of the challenges your business is facing so listening to their ideas will improve your business greatly. As an added benefit morale is boosted when employees feel their input is taken seriously. Whenever possible, give employees some freedom to solve customer issues on their own within certain parameters you have set beforehand. This will simplify your life also as every minor detail doesn't need to be brought to your attention and will avoid delays in customer service which can result in additional challenges.
4. Automate whatever you can.
Technology now allows you to automate to save time and ensure accuracy. For example, you can automate social media posts, follow up emails and informative letters that need to be sent to customers after a certain purchase or when they have reached a particular point in your sales funnel, among many more.
Is setting appointments part of your business needs? If so, consider using an automated calendar that lets the client select the best time for them, within the times you have previously marked as available.
Automation will save you hours of work and will streamline your business allowing you to provide better customer service. We can help educate you on which platforms and services you can use to benefit from automation in your business.
What if you have things that can't be automated but you don't have the time to do them? Then it's time for you to delegate. Often times, business owners tend to procrastinate delegating because they feel they need to do touch everything or do everything themselves to make sure it's correct. Unfortunately this approach can cause other streamlined processes to fail. Delegation is necessary to avoid cracks in your system through which important things can fall through. If you have employees, try to figure out how you can make sure their time is being put the best use possible. Are there additional things they can help with? Are there current things that have been delegated to them already that could be automated or reassigned to another person?
If you don't have employees or your current help is already maxed out but you still need to delegate in order to streamline your business, then consider hiring a virtual assistant. An experienced virtual assistant will study your business model and see where improvements can be made. In my case I serve as on online business manager to small business owners. So even when they don't necessarily know who on their team to delegate to or how to avoid pitfalls in their current procedures I can step in and proactively implement additional methods and ideas that streamline their business. As a matter of fact, my team and myself are experts at helping business owners with all five things on this list. Contact me for more information today if you find yourself needing to hand off many of these tasks. We'll be happy to give you a free consultation and show you how we can help.