At the core of running a local business is the question of how to move product or sell services in the most efficient way possible. When your client base is local, it’s more important than ever that you maximize your profit potential, and small businesses especially need to keep their productivity high when their clients are limited to a set regional area.
Today’s blog will focus on some key ways to reduce redundancy and streamline your business process as painlessly as possible.
You may be surprised how truly low cost a lot of these options are!
Know where you are and what you’re doing.
Take a long hard look at what your business systems currently are.
Do you know how they work? How does each person who touches the product add value? Where’s the slack in the process? What are the strengths?
Examine your model as if you were an investor considering putting money in your businesses. Would you be impressed with your work?
It’s often helpful to draw a flowchart or a map to get a broad level view of your business. How many times does the product change hands? How many steps are there? Could you simplify it at all?
Learning the connections between all the elements of production is a great way to cut back on waste and improve your speed and profit margins. It also helps you better understand your own industry.
Add in useful technology.
Technology is more than just gadgets and toys. If you’re not looking to emerging tech to solve your businesses problems, you could be letting a more cost effective solution slip through your hands.
Look into products that are designed specifically for your field. Online tools and software can help you with your specific business problems, and you can often save yourself the hassle of hiring a consultant or a new team member through things like production management tools, custom applications, and inventory control systems.
Have you considered online ordering for your product? We’re often surprised how many people don’t compare prices on the products they order for their business by shopping online, because it’s often cheaper and more competitive than going through a supplier. Online shopping eliminates the middle man, so give it a shot.
Using loyalty programs like Kangaroo Rewards can drastically change the way you do business.
Focus on continuing solutions.
After you understand your current system and have examined software and tools that could improve your business, you’re on your way to cutting waste and improving efficiency with technology. The next step is to plan for the future.
Take a look at your competition and examine them as your “benchmark” for the industry standard. The industry standard isn’t always good, mind you, but keep it in mind as a reference for how you’re doing. Are you falling behind? What makes your model different?
You may end up deciding to hire a consultant or professional to get an outside look at your business. Consultants are expensive, but their insights are often worth it for the impartial, expert opinion they can offer.
If you can’t afford a consultant, ask a mentor to sit down with you and go over everything. If they have opinions, work on implementing them! An outside point of view can really shed light on the way your company is actually running.
Finally, consider that you may want to outsource some of your work. Payroll, HR, and almost all departments have some aspect that could be outsourced. Your time is valuable, and if hiring the work out frees up your time for more important strategic work, consider it!
Don’t get lazy.
Remember that although your business may be profitable, you should never sit on your heels and let your profits slip away from you due to a bad chain of supply, inefficient methods, or bad communication.
You can and should take some steps to improve your productivity. Don’t hold yourself back!
** This was a blog post original written for my client Kangaroo Rewards.
Andréa Jones is a social media strategist who works with lifestyle brands to build their online presence through targeted social media and content marketing solutions. She's also the founder of SavvySocialSchool.com – a membership community with everything you need to achieve visibility, growth, and engagement on social media.