Running a business takes time, commitment and focus. It can become overwhelming and difficult to know what to focus on at times, especially if the business is slower than expected. Don’t lose hope and don’t forget about why you wanted to start a business in the first place. It takes work but it is worth it; the freedom, the chance to be your own boss, putting your idea out there… Read on to find out how to cut the fat from your business so you can run a leaner, more efficient and effective business:
Be genuine & original
With so many businesses with endless products and ideas, you need to make sure your business offers something that is unique and valuable to customers. You need to have a sizable audience and the passion to create, test, improve and work on your product. If you copy someone else’s idea you won’t get far, so take an idea you like and think about how you can transform it into something amazing and most importantly, make it YOURS!
Be flexible & ready for a change
Change is constant and it is something many businesses try to battle with, however, if you redirect this energy you will find that change is a welcome challenge that continuously pushes you to improve. Trying to fight change and creating products with a rigid idea is going to stunt the growth of your business. All we are saying is, don’t be dead set on your very first idea – your product is going to need to grow and change as you see how it is received by customers. This is simply part of the business so embrace it and give yourself a competitive advantage! Change is good, it shows progress so don’t be so quick to dismiss mixing things up a bit.
Run tests before launching
There’s nothing worse than a product launching and then hitting basic hurdles that should have been checked and cleared way before the launch. If you try to cut corners such as not testing the efficiency of your product then you may lose a lot of money as well as customer support. Even if you have complete confidence in your product and its ability, TEST it! Things may come up in the test that has not even crossed your mind yet and this is your businesses reputation we are talking about. Not doing the tests may sound like a time saver but you could cause irreparable damage to your business’s future with such a rookie move. Be smart, build a reputation to be proud of.
Listen to feedback
Ask for feedback, acknowledge and listen to feedback and finally, IMPLEMENT necessary improvements. Your customers are the ones who are paying for your product so it is essential you listen to what they are saying. Showing you are listening not only helps you to improve the product you are selling it also helps to build your brand as well as increase and improve customer loyalty. Respect is a large part of running a lean business, by listening to the feedback you are allowing doors to be opened and your team can continuously strive to produce the best product possible. Your customers will be able to provide you with invaluable insight and by interacting with your customer base you can begin to understand their needs and current annoyances.
Monitor and review
In order to run a lean business, you need to have the confidence to constantly put your products as well as your marketing and distribution methods under the spotlight in order to take a closer look. You should run tests, analyze the information you have and make sure you are spending money in the right places. If you do not do this, your product and techniques will become sloppy and most likely, underwhelming. You should be constantly learning; about your product, your audience, what is successful and what is not… Oh, and don’t forget to put your findings into practice!
Know when to spend & when to save
Do you really need to upgrade all the phones or computers in the office? Or your employees work efficiently using the existing computers? Upgrading tech is fashionable at the moment, make sure you splash out on the latest gadgets only if it is necessary. Ask yourself questions like “Will this bring value to the business?” before investing in something and don’t scrimp on the areas of the business your customers will see. Make sure your website and areas such as your reception are professional, welcoming and deliver the desired message.
Get rid of waste
Look at each process and ask, “Does this bring value to our customers?”. If it doesn’t, then it’s waste and your business is better off without it! By taking this approach you can really strip everything back so that each process that your business goes through is worthwhile and provides value to your customers. The goal is to build a high-quality business by making sure each process is not only valuable but also highly efficient and protected from error and issue where possible.
Another way to get rid of waste is to look at the process and ask yourself how it can be improved – you could automate a process that is tedious, repetitive or regularly exposed to human error. For example, you could rent a franking machine and frank mail instead of using traditional stamps – this not only helps to automate the mailing systems but your business will experience substantial savings too. When sending mail with a franking machine; costs are reduced and the process is streamlined. By improving just one process you can clear the waste from a whole department!
Those are 7 key ways you can cut the fat in order to run a more efficient, well maintained and run a lean business. When running a lean business, you need to be prepared to ask difficult questions, be willing to dig for answers and always be ready for a change.