People start their own businesses for many reasons. It can be for the flexibility that they didn’t have in their day jobs, or because they want to make the world a better place. Regardless of the reasons, people also want to make money and take their business (as quickly as possible), to the next level. Developing your business is not just merely a matter of selling more of your products or services. Streamlining your business is one way to make more money and generate revenue at the same time
MacDonald’s is a great case study for how businesses should focus on their core business. When they became successful, they did not diversify into fried chicken or pizzas, instead they focused on improving their main product offering, innovating their menu, perfecting their marketing approach. They applied 5 simple principles to their business.
Across the board, all businesses should look to provide an unfalteringly high quality of service to their customers. Customers need the education from businesses so that they understand the products and services that are being offered. A case in point are insurance companies who spend a huge amount of their budgets on marketing materials aimed at Financial Advisors, where they teach them all about their products so that the advisors can clearly illustrate an understanding and knowledge of these products to their clients.
Think about it, do you want to deal with a business you can’t trust? People will be thinking the same about who they use too. As a business, you need to ensure that people trust you and your brand. You need them to believe that you are reliable and have their best interests at heart.
Be Operationally Efficient
By this we mean you should have the right procedures in place for everything from sales order processing and dealing with customer complaints to payment collections and general customer enquiries. A great way for an SME to achieve this is to outsource your non-core work. Eriko Varkey, Founder, HALLA WALLA, summed this up perfectly to me: “We outsource our PR. Having your own business it sometimes gets tricky to be able to conjure up the right words to explain exactly what you do. As you are so close to the subject, it tends to be harder to explain yourself and your project from a third persons perspective.”
Eriko’s business partner,Yasmine Rasool agreed: “For example, having an outsource PR arm allows you to have a birds eye view of your company – words always sound better from another person’s mouth to explain something so dear to you. It helps you get the change to continue building your empire and for others to spread the word.” The great part of operational efficiency is the ability to outsource your non-core work, to allow you to freely focus all of your energies on running the business.
Use the Right Equipment
Equipment is so important. It may sound obvious, but often it is the obvious things that go unnoticed. A great way to figure out if you team can work efficiently is to ask yourself some simple questions. Can you contact your staff when they are out and about? If your office is forced to close for any reason, are your staff able to continue to work from home? Can your sales people be contacted any time anywhere so that they don’t miss a sale? Do you sales team need anything from you in order to close the sale (literature etc.)? These are all the sorts of things you need to ask yourself to ensure that your won’t loose business for a silly reason – such as not providing a cheap work phone.
Invest in your Staff
Training staff is important for so many different reasons.
1. It shows that you care about your staff and their skill base.
2. You cover yourself from a HR perspective that you are investing in your staff to ensure that they are able to carry out the functions of their job perfectly and within the law (this can be helpful if you find you need to commence disciplinary action at a later stage.
3. You will have a unified work force that carries your brand in every area of your business. Everyone has the scope scope to develop their knowledge and efficiency through continuous training.
Be the Best
All successful businesses have thrived on perfecting their core offering and then striving to be the best in their arena. I once worked for someone who rarely came into the office and only attended meetings in the afternoon. He said he was in meetings in the morning, but his social media pages showed him with his friends until the early hours of the morning at his other business – a hotel bar (meetings – really?). Needless to say, because he insisted on signing off on all the decisions, but was never around to make those decisions when they needed to be made, his ‘day-time’ business went bust.
Increase Sales Performance
Many salespeople come to work and quietly proceed with their plans for the day. However, a little proactivity goes a long way in sales – e.g. making regular requests, asking for client referrals and obtaining testimonials. Think about the sort of procedures that you can put in place to monitor these.
Sales Training, Marketing Literature, Motivation
When strategizing to improving your company’s financial performance, a dedicated sales development program will give you a raw advantage over competitors who do not engage outside sales trainers and keep up to date with latest techniques or reinforcement of good practices.
Invest in your sales team – The marketing literature, training if necessary and bonus structure for your sales staff. People don’t like buying blind, so you should have a professional website and well-designed brochure to leave with your potential clients.
Often it is surprising how much office overheads costs and spending on these can often become habit. Get into a routine of turning off air-conditioning and lights when you leave the office, keep stationary under a lock and key so that people don’t keep asking for more which in turn will mean buying more.
In order to save, and generate more cash for your business, keep a close eye on all expenses – stationery, office kitchen supplies, client lunches, use of AC, phone bills and electricity etc. These can all add up to a significant monthly drain on your resources.
Embrace Social Media
Social media gives you direct access to existing and potential clients – for free (ish) – and is now beginning to replace the traditional role of advertising. If you use this platform creatively, you are able to save significant marketing budgets and still position your company as an expert in your industry sector. Once you have made an initial investment into your social media following, you can market directly to your customer base, attract new business, and promote your offering cost-efficiently to a mass audience and increase your company profile exponentially. As a business leader, you should be discerning as to which social media platforms you choose. You want to focus on going a great job across one or two platforms, as opposed to an average job across 6 different platforms. Review these platforms after a couple of months as you may find you gain a lot of traction from just one. If this is the case, should you be wasting time and money on the alternatives?
Facebook is often a great way to gain exposure as it is the largest Social Media site in the world. For more information on Facebook, read our article The Power of Facebook. Facebook enables people to like and share your posts and enables businesses to talk directly to their potential client base.
LinkedIn is a must for all B2B enterprises. You can target groups of potential clients and build up a base and write articles so you can show you are an authoritative figure in your industry.
Twitter is still one of the most asked about sites for social media marketing. On this platform you can ask questions to your followers will help you gain insight on what is important to your customers and what is influencing their buying decisions.
Related article: How to choose the right consultant.