How many businesses do you see every day that seem to be just coasting along, in cruise control. Often they’re reasonable businesses that have been there a long time. They pay the owner a reasonable “wage”, but nothing more. The business may once have been very successful but is now on auto-pilot with the owner often expecting profits to continue automatically.
It’s a trap. It’s too easy to spend every day fighting fires.
To be healthy, your business needs to be constantly fertilised. Competition is fierce in most industries. On top of that, customers are not as loyal as they once were and the internet has changed buyer behaviour enormously. Your competition is easy to find. Your weaknesses are easier to see and easier to share with others.
If you don’t actively keep improving your business you’ll most likely get run over by new more active opposition.
So, here’s a few tips that work for my clients:
- Have in place a simple Action Plan at all times. A few simple improvement strategies that you’re always implementing
- Take 1 hour out every week, ideally with a friend or your trusted advisor, and focus on your opportunities and plans
- Commit to 2 or 3 key strategies/actions. Commitment is the key. Make it happen. Doing nothing should never be an option
- Don’t delay the implementation
- Then monitor and review your progress every month. Re-focus your Action Plan
10 examples of simple actions you could take:
- Consider increasing your prices and at the same time build on delivering exceptional service to customers.
- Negotiate a better deal with key suppliers. Even 1% can translate to big dollars.
- Spruce up your logos, uniforms, vehicle signage etc. Make sure you have clean and consistent branding. Renovate your website. Make sure your home page is clear and captures attention quickly.
- Get you invoices out quickly.
- Put in place a debt collection procedure to minimise slow payers and bad debts.
- Review stockholdings to minimise slow moving or obsolete stock.
- Follow-up all enquiries and quotes quickly. Get feedback from recent customers.
- Start a regular newsletter or other form of regular communication with your customers.
- Ask all your happy customers for a referral or at least politely request they tell all of their friends about you.
- Set weekly and monthly sales/income targets for staff and then monitor results weekly. It’s amazing what a difference targets can make to performance.
Once you’ve implemented your actions, move on to your next Action Plan. Don’t rest on your laurels. You should have some active strategies happening at all times.
By Lindsay King