Doing business is about more than delivering a product or a service to customers. It’s about running an enterprise that makes that delivery as profitable as possible for you. This means getting to grips with all the different resources that your business has at its disposal. Getting the best use out of them as you can. There are more resources that a business can use than you might think. Let’s take a closer look at them in detail.
First, look at the resource that you will be using each day in running your business. The workspace isn’t just a place to house your employees while they do your work. It’s an asset that can be used to benefit them. The most important feature of an office needs to be diversity. A ‘palette’ of different spaces that employees can use to their advantage. Everyone needs a partitioned desk where they can work with privacy and focus. But it can also be a good idea to provide a more open breakaway space. A place where people can communicate as they work and feed off one another’s energy. Keeping them high energy can be a feature of the office, too. People tend to work better with little touches like providing more natural lighting or even having a few office plants to brighten the place up.
No-one’s going to get away with talking about business without talking about money. Without a close eye on this resource, costs can pile and drain the life out of your business. So you need to cut the uncertainty and the errors from your finances. Keep a close eye on expenses, overheads and invoices. Make sure your finances are strong before you think about diversifying and investing in new developments. Make sure that you prepare budgets, both for the year and the quarter. Then compare your real costs to these as time goes on. It can give you a real idea of how much you might need to scale certain expenses back.
Your time is worth as much as your money, of course. Particularly when considering employees whose time costs you money. They need to be using that time well. Have the whole team use scheduling software that can provide reminders and alarms. It can also give you the chance to overlook everyone’s schedule and make sure they’re using their time on the tasks that really matter. Punctuality is important, so you need to deal with errors in that regard quickly. Track the patterns of late work or employees, so you have more facts to tell to the employee. Make it private and civil. Be aware that they may be defensive, but don’t react emotionally. Define your expectations clearly and follow up as is appropriate. Sometimes dismissal may be the only course of action left to you. But getting employees to better use your time and theirs is obviously preferred.
Back to the more physical resources. Any retail providers need to eliminate the possibility of error when it comes to their inventory. Inventory systems can help you monitor your stock, knowing exactly what you have and preventing criminal loss. But the fulfillment of stock can also be as risky an enterprise. If your delivery systems get backed up and disrupt the flow of goods, or deliveries get lost, you are losing money and potentially customers. Using global fulfillment services can be a much more reliable way of getting your flow of inventory up to snuff.
We’ve already talked about making better use of your staff’s time, but what about making better use of your staff themselves? People work better in a work environment that allows them to. That goes beyond just the layout of the office. Your work culture plays a big role in engaging and motivating employees. For one, clearly defining your vision and setting goals for the team. Whether it’s using key performance indicators or just putting up a big to-do list. If your team has defined goals they can contribute to, they can work with a lot more clarity. They will also feel like they’re actually contributing, not just acting as another gear in the machine. The key to giving them that clarity is communicating often and well. Have stand up meetings that prioritize concise, clear communication, not waffling. Send memos. Reduce personal anxiety by having one-to-ones with your staff. Give them the security as well as the vision they need to focus entirely on the objective.
It’s not just their motivation that matters, either. Don’t be content with just letting your people ‘do their job’. Instead, help shape a role for them. Train them in new skills that could save you the effort and money of having to hire someone. Train them in-house, too. Let them learn one another’s skills so they can cover the gaps in the event of an absence. Training not only makes more valuable employees. It also offers them the development that many people need to stay satisfied in their jobs.
Yes, even your customers are a resource that you can put to much better use. The first way of doing that is by making sure they keep coming back. You do that by providing customer service and updates that continue well after the initial purpose. Then you can simply ask for more from the more enthusiastic and positive of your customers. A referral system not only builds loyalty by incentivizing it. It helps serve as another arm of your marketing efforts. Most importantly, you want your customers’ feedback. No-one can help you better shape up your services than the people paying for it. Keeping them happy is the only long-term path to success.
The more you get from the resources mentioned above, the better. A great business doesn’t spend its time or money lightly. It cuts down the errors in its inventory and keeps its workforce in top condition. It even finds ways to get more from its customers. So take note and start becoming a great business.