If you are a small or medium sized business owner, you might want to make sure that you are not spending more time at the office than possible, and everything runs like clockwork. There are various business functions that are more important than others, and you will have to invest in training and managing your team to provide more value for your customers. In case you would like to optimize the operations in your business, you will have to look through the processes and make sure that they work together as smoothly as possible. Below you’ll find a few tips on how to manage your staff, resources, time, and customers better, whether your business is online or offline.
#1: Improve Your Management Skills
You cannot manage functions in your business well if you don’t have the relevant knowledge. In case this is your first business, it might be time to go back to college or enroll in an online course to learn some of the most important leadership skills that will help you take your company to the next level. There are business administration and advanced MBA courses available you can complete on the internet, so you don’t have to take more time off your business than necessary. From keeping your accounts up to date to managing difficult employees, there are several skills you can pick up that will help you run your company smoother.
#2: Have a System In Place
It is also important that you design the business processes carefully and train all your employees on the standards. If you are in the manufacturing business, you will have to create manuals that will explain each process for your staff, so they know what to do at any given time. In case you are dealing with customers face to face, you have to lead by example and establish the standards of communication, so everyone knows how to approach problems and deal with various situations. You might want to try mind mapping that will help you visualize your business processes.
#3: Create Clear Policies
You must have clear and easy to understand behavior, health and safety, and conduct policies in your company, so everyone knows what is acceptable and what is not. If you don’t want your employees to hang out on social media all day, you’d better include this in your internal policy. It is also crucial that you take care of diversity and inclusion in your company, and create a policy that people need to adhere to. A negative atmosphere at work can lower employee productivity and result in lower retention rates, increasing your human resource costs for a long term.
#4: Train Your Staff
Without adequate training, your staff will not be able to deal with challenging situations or advise your customers appropriately. It is your responsibility as a business owner to provide your staff with basic training. From compulsory training on health and safety, compliance, and industry standards, to internal communication, problem solving, time management, and other practical skills, you have to provide your employees with the tools and skills to do their job to the best of their abilities. More efficient employees will deliver better products or services, and this will result in higher reputation, improved customer satisfaction, and profits. Always take care of your staff and regularly evaluate their training needs.
#5: Develop Your Own Leaders
When the time comes to expand your business, you will need new team leaders and managers. Often recruiting for senior positions from outside the company can be a gamble, therefore, you might want to work on your methods to identify your potential leaders early and help them develop their skills. Your staff is more likely to accept the leadership of a person who has done the same job before and knows the company than an outsider. You can also motivate your workers to develop their skills and save money on training and recruitment.
#6: Improve Your Communication
If you would like your office to run smoother, you will have to ensure that information flows freely in every direction. Adapt a democratic leadership style that allows people to express their concerns, provide suggestions, and discuss important problems before it’s too late. You can improve the collaboration among team members and teams by creating a shared goal and engaging in team building activities. Building a community in the office can involve team nights out, meetings, suggestion boxes, and encouraging collaboration between various departments.
#7: Create a Mission and Vision Statement
It is important that you clearly communicate what your business is about and communicate this toward your employees. If your company doesn’t have a mission and vision statement yet, it might be a good idea to create one involving your employees. You can take on board their recommendations and ideas and make them feel like they are a part of the big family, instead of just executors of your plans. You will have to focus on the long term goals of the business, your standards, and the vision for the future for you and your employees. Whether you would like to be the best at customer service, improve delivery times, or reputation, you can include this in your mission and vision statement.
#8: Have a CRM System
To make it easier to complete office tasks, get the books in order, communicate with customers, or manage orders, you might want to invest in a CRM system tailored to your needs. This can save you time and money and improve the overall efficiency of your business for many years to come. If you have a customer relationship management system in place, you can easily find out more about your potential and current clients, calculate the costs of acquiring a new contract, and the value of each customer. Take the guesswork out of managing your office and clients and get intelligent solutions deliver the hard facts for you every day on demand.
#9: Take Care of Customer Support
Apart from having a CRM system, you’ll also need to provide your clients every opportunity to get in touch, make a complaint or a compliment, provide you with feedback and suggestions, or obtain information about their orders, invoices, and accounts. If you don’t have a phone system and a social media messaging app, it might be time to invest in this infrastructure. You might want to get 1300 numbers to make it easier for your clients to get in touch any time. A virtual call answering system and a social media messenger, along with an advanced support page and a FAQ section on your page will help you build trust and improve your reputation as well as customer satisfaction.
#10: Measure Efficiency
To make improvements in your business processes, it is important that you start measuring employee and system efficiency. You can identify the most productive employees and make better decisions about a pay rise or promotion. Further, by continuously evaluating your customer support and back office functions, you can identify the development areas, so you can make changes to improve service and cost efficiency. If you need your employees’ help to evaluate your current system and company software, ask them for feedback. Alternatively, if you are looking for an unbiased review, you can hire external audit firms to carry out the inspection and checks.
#11: Motivate Your Staff
It is also important that you learn how to improve your staff’s commitment to work and motivate them the right way. According to some experts, non-financial rewards work better, but this is debated by other business professionals. You will have to find the right balance and take into consideration your employees’ needs and wants before creating a reward and recognition system. Whether you are providing additional leadership training for the best performing employees, hand out bonuses, or give them vouchers, you will have to find a way to align your employees’ aspirations with your business goals. Sometimes even an award or an early finish on Friday will do the trick.
#12: Automate Your Marketing
Today it is much harder to get noticed by your potential clients, due to the increased global competition. You will have to invest in marketing your business and getting to know your customers, so you can keep on engaging with them. Branding, PR, and marketing are time consuming, and you might not have the budget to employ a full time expert to take care of your blog, social media content, search engine optimization, and press releases. You can instead invest in online marketing solutions for small businesses that are tailored to your industry and needs, allow you to monitor results, and make improvements while staying in touch with your current and potential customers.
If you would like to improve the operations and processes in your office, you must take care of the business infrastructure, staff training and motivation, and measuring results. You can save a lot of time and money if you align various business processes and evaluate them regularly. Take control of the different functions, empower your staff, and put an effective training, reward, and recognition system in place.