Stop Being Busy, Start Being Productive: Operations versus Profits

Managing a business relies on a network of systems and processes that are efficient yet flexible. They require careful scrutiny and evaluation to insure they include the right methodology and procedures. The art of accurately evaluating and tweaking your processes to improve your operations profitability is critical to building success and staying competitive. Systems and processes are put in place to keep companies on course toward their profitability goals and to minimize surprises along the way. They provide a clear and consistent blueprint for how business is done on a daily basis and how decisions are made. Inefficient systems and processes are costly in terms of dollars, waste, rework, delays, resource utilization, whereas ineffective ones are pricey as well because they are not reliable. They don’t do what they are meant to do.   Use the right metrics Management can’t comprehend the extent to which their organizations and processes are efficient and effective unless they choose and use the right metrics. The results of those measurements will help them improve the processes and the overall organization. This includes management processes as well as lower-level work processes. Some process efficiency measures are: resources (dollars, time, labor) expended per transaction of unit; cost of poor quality result and rework; percent of time items were out of stock when needed; percent of on-time delivery. Some effectiveness measures are: how well the output of the process meets the requirements of the end-user or customer; how well the inputs from the external suppliers meet the requirements of the process. By contrast, measures of ineffectiveness include: defective products; customer complaints; decreased revenues. For each of the metrics chosen,...

Small Business: 3 Signs You Need a New Strategy

Uncertainty of the Future Whether you own an established business or a startup, the day-to-day hustle of running a business can send your intentions to oblivion. With fires to put out in every corner, you are drawn into a reactive state of mind that you carry with you into the next day, week and year. With a coherent strategy, your company will have identifiable business objectives and a specific set of tasks to fulfill them, putting control back into your hands. Objectives are used to develop short to long-term growth and productivity plans, essential for the sustained success of your organization.   Lack of Accountability Every single problem is dumped onto your desk. From front line employees to middle management, they identify the problems and expect you to come up with the solutions. Yet they argue about why your solutions will not work. Business strategy creates an environment and culture where people are empowered to think for themselves, develop their own solutions and work together to implement them, owning and accepting accountability for their implementation. Also, leaders invested in a strategic planning have greater internal focus and are less likely to let outside factors and influences negatively weigh them down. With their strong belief that outcomes are not outside their control, leaders take responsibility for their actions and people are more willing to support and follow.   Lack of Time How many times a day do you say, “I don’t have time” or “I don’t have enough time”? Lack of time is a common problem that plagues small business owners. A business plan and strategy will allow you to...
3 Strategies to Make a Financial Difference in Your Business

3 Strategies to Make a Financial Difference in Your Business

Business owners and executives have long sought ways to improve their bottom line. Usually their energy is focused on how they can attract more customers to generate additional sales. However, working strategically is the key to immediately boosting the bottom line. Business strategy is not only about how to be more profitable tomorrow but also how to immediately march more dollars into your business and onto your balance sheet! These tactics will help your business grow in any kind of economic climate, recessionary or otherwise. Here are 3 Strategies to improve your bottom line today: Implement or Upgrade Your Systems and Processes. Systems and procedures are put in place to keep companies on course toward their profitability goals and to minimize surprises along the way. They provide a clear and consistent blueprint for how business is done on a daily basis and how decisions are made. Inefficient systems and processes are costly in terms of dollars, waste, rework, delays, resource utilization, whereas ineffective ones are pricey as well because they are not reliable. They don’t do what they are supposed to do. The first step is to go back to the fundamentals: ‘why’, ‘what’, ‘who’, ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘how’ questions. The first question about any process/action is, why do it at all? Often many steps exist simply because of the status quo: ‘We have always done it that way’. The second question might be, why do we do it this way? Then, what is being done? What should be done? What can be done? When should it happen? And so forth. The second step is to not only look...
Grow or Fail! There is no in-between.

Grow or Fail! There is no in-between.

Most small business owners go out into the marketplace with high hopes of success only to face heartbreaking disappointment when their business fails. While 400,000 new businesses are being created annually, 470,000 are closing, leaving a deficit of 70,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The first five years of an organization are crucial. During this early stage, you prove your concept, assess your impact, adapt and grow your company to adulthood. Like any other evolving entity, if it doesn’t grow it dies. It is said that what you don’t know won’t hurt you but nothing could be further from the truth when you run a small business!  Opportunities to grow surround you. Before reading any further, I am asking you this: Do you really want to grow or are you too afraid? If your answer is a resounding ‘Yes’, then onward! Success is there for the Aggressively Prepared! Here is what it takes to be aggressively prepared: Plan of Action: Without a clear goal, there will be no clarity or focus. The first step is to be specific in setting your target, like for example ‘acquiring 30 new clients per month’, ‘increasing top line revenue by $150,000 per quarter’, etc. But your plan of action must include more than your goal. It must identify key steps or objectives that must be achieved in order to accomplish the desired goal. Using one of the above example, what is it going to take to acquire 30 new clients per month? 100 calls per day, 23 emails, a digital advertising campaign, trade show, etc. Resources: Now that you know which direction...

3 Things Entrepreneurs Must Do to Keep Their Business Model Relevant

3 Things Entrepreneurs Must Do to Keep Their Business Model Relevant – Entrepreneur Hideout At the most basic level a business model is a map that describes how a company will operate, make money and ensure that the doors remain open. The business model is the skeleton upon which the details of operation are attached such as specific vendors, locations, customers, products, services,...