Improve Business Performance - Some Tips for Quick Wins
Top Tips to make an instant impact on your performance and help you grow your business
14 November 2018
By Olga Astaniotis
And the source of these ideas and tips? Other businesses! There's nothing better than copying other people’s great ideas and practices, especially when you know its worked for them.
Growing successful businesses and maintaining a winning position take hard work, constant endeavour and a strategic outlook. However, short term there are still small tweaks that can make a quick impact and don’t need huge investment.
Pick just 3 or 4 that you feel are relevant to your business model and can make an immediate, positive difference; you'd be surprised how quickly you see results:
1. Value your employees’ ideas and insights
Your staff will see your business in a different way to you, and their perspective could be invaluable in identifying cost savings, improving customer service and even winning new business. Companies that cultivate a culture of involving their employees tend to be more successful.
Of course this is not just about getting good business ideas from them, because employees that feel valued and cared for will be more productive and stay with you longer. Open channels of communication, active listening and taking action from staff suggestions are essential in breeding loyalty and optimum performance.
2. Learn to delegate
Recruit and develop people in your company that can be trusted and have the skills to take on some of the tasks that take up your time but do not, in themselves, actively grow your business.
By delegating well you achieve two valuable outcomes:
a) you reward your best employees with responsibility and recognition, which is highly motivating
b) you free up your own time to work ON the business, instead of IN the business. As owner, your job should be to develop and work on the things that actively improve sales, margins and profits. Everything else can and should be in the hands of trusted employees or outsourced to reliable and competent contractors.
Wherever possible, use digital tools to simplify and automate support process, from invoicing and payroll, to stock control and banking. There are proven and simple tools and software available for businesses and processes of all size and shape.
These will not only free up time, but they will likely reduce human errors, and your accountant will be very happy!
4. Grow your sphere of influence and learning
As with our personal lives, your business knowledge and experience can’t grow unless you are exposed regularly to new ideas, people, experiences, places and ways of thinking. We can become stagnant and bored when we do the same thing day in/day out, even in the business that we love and which maintains our lifestyle.
It’s therefore important to find ways to gain exposure to new ideas and developments in your industry. If you don’t like face to face networking events there are other ways:
- Inspirational podcasts from industry and business leaders
- TED talks for new big ideas
- Industry newsletters and email alerts
- Follow relevant people on social media - Twitter and Instagram are the easiest to set up and get quick results from
- Exhibitions and trade shows
- Networking events – but these too can be good! Take yourself out of your comfort zone noe and again
Try something different for a month or so and you’ll soon find the tools that work best for you.
5. Go where your audience is online
What are your customers and competitors doing online? Where are your customers active online? Do they use social media? Who are they following and listening to? Who are they engaging with and what are they saying?
You need to be where your customers can find you so think about the importance of:
- a social media presence
- search engine optimisation
- your website as a shop window
- directory and product listings
- industry forums online
- review and endorsement sites
- your potential as an authority in your industry/area of expertise
6. Make sure your website represents you the way you want to be seen by your customers and prospects
Does your website reflect the value, quality and experience that your business offers and can offer your customers and prospective customers? Ask other people to give you honest feedback; preferably not friends and family who will usually err on the side of politeness!
7. Invoice faster and chase payment methodically
Invoice clients as soon as you can instead of preparing invoices in batches, especially large-value invoices. Coupled with being disciplined about chasing ALL payments, this can have a significant effect on cashflow in just a few months.
8. Simplify your products and services
Weed out non-essential products, services and processes that are unprofitable or resource intensive to manage.
9. Reward your team when things go well
When you secure a new order, when staff hit or exceed targets, when someone does something exceptional.
10. Invite testimonials
Get your happy customers to review you online, make referrals or send you an email to say thank you, or to praise members of staff. Communicate this throughout the company and use these on your website and sales materials to add credibility to your business.