The journey to success is a different experience for many entrepreneurs. Starting a business can be considered a major achievement, but keeping it running is a greater challenge. Every business, big or small, faces many common challenges. And as a business grows, problems and opportunities require different solutions. The method that worked a year ago may not be the best method now. To ensure early success, mastering the business operations can really help the company culture, and of course revenue and profit.
Whether you are a new or experienced entrepreneur, there is always room for improvement in operations. Try these six tips to improve your business operations.
Establish an onboarding and training process
From day one, employees must have a very clear understanding of their tasks and responsibilities. Communicate what new hires are supposed to be doing and arm them with the necessary tools, equipment, and resources to do it properly. Be proactive about training as this will help employees develop skills that can be immediately applied to appropriate work tasks and practices.
Michael Buzinski: “Trainual [online software] allows me to put in processes and a knowledge base for everybody in my company. I can assign certain knowledge to certain job descriptions or certain sectors or segments within my business.”
Document processes, workflow, policies, and any decisions to be made into a manual where all employees have access to. Capture as much detail as possible as documentation can become the blueprint of your operations. Ask your employees to document a day in their life so you can have an audit of what it looks like to be in your business from their perspective. This way, when they move up or out of the business, you have the knowledge you need for the next round of people who are going to take their places. But do not just document processes, document successes and pitfalls too.
Madeline Raithel: “It’s really an audacious task to take all the documentation that you have and then put it into a manual that makes sense that people will be able to go over, read and learn. But don’t let that stop you from just starting to document every little thing, because then that at least gives you the freedom to live in that moment and truly be absorbing the information as it’s being thrown at you.”
Create an 'idea bank'
Ideas often come at the most inconvenient times and places – while driving, in the shower, right before you drift off to sleep, and so on… But there are also days when your mind is doing really well at coming up with ideas. Either way, step into that. Pick up a pen and paper, use Evernote, or keep a digital record in something like Google Docs. Bank all those great ideas that you think of for future activities. But do not just store them, get stuff out of the idea bank too as quickly as possible. Remember, most of the ideas you have are really just leaves on a tree. And that tree is a project.
Adam Schaueble: “I know that all these ideas, they don’t disappear into the ether. I don’t have to take action on them right now because we all know we can waste a lot of time if we’re always starting, starting, starting, starting, starting, never finishing. So I allow myself to work on three key projects per week. And then each week each Thursday, I review my idea, pluck off anything that makes sense. Otherwise it just stays in there and I’m good.”
You simply can’t – and shouldn’t – do everything yourself. By delegating certain tasks to others, you can focus on higher-value activities or critical issues of concern and use your time more efficiently. Delegation also gives subordinates enough room and space to develop their abilities, a sense of importance and empowerment. This will encourage personal development among the members which will then lead to overall team success.
Natasha Miller: “I think delegation is really hard to come by for some people just like getting over the hump to put down your whole systems and processes down in a manual. You just have to do it because the sooner you do it, and then you let go of that ego that says, either I don’t want to do this, or I don’t want to relinquish control. As soon as you do, there’s so much freedom in that.”
Find any place that you can automate and create a workflow solution. Automation can improve efficiency in a business by eliminating a large number of repetitive or scheduled workplace tasks, reducing time wasted on redundant tasks, and helping to increase overall productivity.
Chris Bro: “Your time is valuable. So think of your, your hour as worth, whatever it happens to be. And if you can find something cheaper than what you would charge someone for an hour of your time. We’ll then automate that thing. So if you think an hour of my life is worth 200 or 500 or $2,000, then find something that will automate that so that you’re not doing the minutia and you’re working on something bigger.”
Add a human touch
It’s no secret that we now live in the modern world of social media. For business, it’s no longer an option, but an essential tool to reach potential customers, gain valuable insights, and grow your brand. Although technology tools allow tasks to be automated, no substitute exists for the human element. Set the tone, personality, emotion, and values when you communicate with your clients or audience. Focus on building relationships and real human connections. There is a big difference between engagement and simply being there.
Chris Bro: “We’re a tech company, but we want the human in there too. So that’s why I said, we get you about 90% of the way done on those posts. And then the human just comes in, adds a little flourish as their little human touch makes it more human. That’s a key on social media to be human. And then you can schedule out your future on all those social media tools.”
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