Ways to Optimize Your Operations
These operation strategies can optimize your business’s efficiency today and gear it for growth tomorrow.
Winging it will only take you so far in business. In reality, entrepreneurs must continuously create systems to improve operations if they want to make sure that their businesses aren’t just growing, but thriving.
“If getting bigger just means you’re spending more time in the office running the company and putting out fires, how is that smart?” asks Melissa Galt, an Atlanta-based business coach, strategist and creator of the course, “Design Your Business Blueprint.” Galt shares five strategies to help you optimize operations and make your business's future brighter.
Create a business blueprint. If you’re wondering each morning what to do that day, you’re not making the most effective use of your time. A blueprint is a roadmap that shows you where your business is, where it’s trying to go and what needs to be done to get there. While a good business blueprint is flexible and malleable, it provides a sense of structure so the business owner knows where to focus efforts. “Structure helps you know when, where and how to delegate, and what support systems you need to put into place,” says Galt. “That frees you to do the things you’re best at.”
Find the right clients. “I’m a huge advocate of having fewer, better clients where you make more money in less time,” Galt says. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to clients who aren’t a good fit, whether they cause too many headaches or spend too little money, Galt advises. Instead, focus your attention on increasing your business’s marketing efforts on potential clients that will yield the sweetest fruit.
Create repeatable processes. Once you know what processes are working in your business, make it easy for those processes to be repeated. For example, instead of reinventing the wheel every time you start a new marketing campaign, see what can be salvaged from the old one, make a few tweaks, rinse and repeat. Systems can be created for everything from training to sales to lead generation, Galt says.
Have the right tools. Software and cloud-based services let you automate tasks and free up time to do other things like attract new customers. Lead generation and email marketing are two tasks that can particularly benefit from automation, Galt says. Among the tools she recommends: LeadPages.net for lead generation and Infusionsoft and AWeber for email marketing. However, don’t make the mistake of wasting money on tools you don’t use or that your business hasn’t yet grown into, Galt warns.
Know how to boost cash. Most small business owners will have to endure times when money is tight — but creating a cash flow strategy can help your business get through a rainy day. For example, service-based businesses can raise quick cash by announcing an upcoming rate increase and letting current clients know they can enjoy the current rate if they buy in the next 30 days.
Product-based businesses can announce a newer, greater version of a current item and give potential customers the opportunity to take advantage of a limited-time special offer.
Once these successful strategies are put into place, document everything so when you’re ready to outsource tasks, the manual is already written. The goal is to streamline operations so that your business can run without you, Galt says. “I want my business to work for me. I don’t want to work for it.”