In this guest post, business coach and university lecturer Patricia Wilson from Frozen Ps explains how important it is to implement process efficiency systems in order to grow your business.
Many experts will tell you that there are 3 ways to grow a business:
- increase the numbers of customers you have
- increase the number of times they do business with you
- increase the amount of money they spend with you on each occasion
But there is a 4th and it’s all about process efficiency!
This is the step that ties all of your business activity together. To make the most of the first three you need to ensure that your business is operating like a well oiled machine and if you know there are areas in your business that can be improved it’s a sure fire way of achieving real improvement and added sales. It can be surprising how much we take this area for granted and it seems much less sexy than actually winning new business. I have worked with a number of clients who have discovered £000’s of business just languishing behind prospects not followed up or through careless customer service systems.
When you think about it all our businesses are a group of processes, some we take for granted until they break down and some we have never formalised.
Our processes include, production (how we actually deliver our products and services), sales, finance, HR, marketing and it’s the quality of how these processes work that defines the success of our business.
How many of you, review all the functions of your business and evaluate where and how your process efficiency can be improved. How many of you actually know HOW MUCH money you are wasting on new initiatives that cannot work in the long term because that are being undermined by how you are working?
SO here are a few areas to review:
Do you need more sales? Before you invest in a campaign why not check what’s actually happening right now, how do you capture information? Are you following up systematically on new prospects, are your proposals effective?
Do you find that you are juggling funds? Consider a few of the following, are you invoicing regularly, do you chase late payers systematically, do you review your suppliers and negotiate deals regularly?
Do you recruit to fill positions as they arise? Why not review the functions of your business, conduct a skills audit of your team, then try and plan to recruit to match skills with roles.
Do you lose time chasing paper? Why not consider setting up simple systems to organise your information so that you don’t repeat the same tasks over and over again – like having to search for log in and passwords. Use templates for the key documents you use and store them in a central file that you can find easily. Or alternatively to save you wasting your valuable time why not consider outsourcing admin and finance? Leaving you to concentrate on what you do best!
We all tend to miss the fact that our business is process driven and sometimes we worry that if we organise too much we will lose the humanity in our business. I would argue that to become more efficient actually frees us up and allows us the chance to give time to our customers and team members which they deserve! It also makes us happier too. So why don’t you be brave and have a look at the inner workings of your business – you may be surprised at the process efficiency opportunities just waiting to be set free.
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