Guest Posts

10 Ways Small Businesses Can Streamline Their Systems to Maintain Momentum in 2023

September 20, 2022
|
7
Min Read
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Small businesses are the backbone of any economy, and owing to the pandemic, they have grown over the last two years. The Census Bureau states that in 2020 alone, the US saw over 5.4 million new businesses. This number continues to rise.

If you are an owner of these small businesses, you might wonder: How do I improve my existing business processes? How do I make the best of my current resources? 

It might often feel like 24 hours isn't enough to complete your to-do list. Hence, learning how to optimize your processes becomes even more important. Process optimization helps you work better with less and helps you learn what it truly takes to run your business to ensure long-term sustainability and growth.

You can do this by investing in tools and using automation tools to enhance processes, making and sticking to a budget, listening to your customers, and more. This approach will help you focus your time and energy on what is important to business revenue and growth.

But where does one start? To help you, we've compiled a list of ways to streamline your essential business processes and systems to amplify your business growth. So, let’s get started!

11 Ways SMBs can streamline business processes in 2023

1. Keep tabs on your finances

Initially, it might be easier to know the exact amount of money you have and how you will spend it. But, as a business grows, so do the expenses. Before you realize you might spend more than you have available to spend.

Hence, we recommend you keep track of your cash flow. Having a detailed cash flow statement will help you know the exact amount of funds you have at that moment. Once you know this, you can make informed business and financial decisions.

Also, investing in an invoice management tool makes sense if you send out invoices to multiple clients or vendors. With this, you can prevent delays and errors in receiving or paying for goods and services. You can also use a spend management software to know the ins and outs of money.

2. Offer flexibility to your employees

Allowing employees to work from home comes with multiple benefits, as they don’t need to commute and are less likely to be distracted by their colleagues. Which business doesn't want a team that is more likely to focus on working?

Whether you have two employees or a dozen, you can boost productivity by allowing flexible work arrangements. For example, you could enable them to work from home at a time suitable for them. By bringing in this work policy, you will be more likely to hire diverse candidates, reduce costs, and ensure your team can maintain a healthy work-life balance.

SUGGESTED READS:

3. Invest in finding good quality leads

Sales are the heart of any business. Your sales team needs good-quality leads to ensure you can keep new business coming in. Also, the better the quality of your leads, the more likely your customers will purchase from you. Moreover, cold calls can tarnish a brand’s name. 

Hence, it’s important to get good quality leads. 

One way to do this is by using a tool to help you find and connect with leads. In addition, using a tool makes your sales team less likely to make cold calls and spend more time converting prospects into customers. 

4. Build an online presence

If you are still not using any social media or online platform for your business, it is time to start. Today, it is one of the easiest and most effective ways to build your brand, connect with customers, and offer effective customer service.

Depending on your products and services, you can choose a suitable platform. For instance, if you are into products that cater to a younger audience, Instagram is a good place to start. If you’re looking to connect with other professionals, there’s nothing better than LinkedIn.

That being said, your online presence should not just be limited to promoting your products and services. Instead, it should be a way for your customers to know and interact with your brand.

You can harness the power of online media by sharing mission statements, charitable efforts, and customer feedback. Remember, the goal is to stick in your target audience's minds in every way possible.

5. Reward customer loyalty

Finding new customers is no cakewalk. In fact, finding a new customer can cost three times more than a current one. Hence, it is pretty obvious why you should prioritize customer loyalty.

We agree there's no one way or even a ‘right’ way of doing this. But one of the most effective processes is creating loyalty programs. Every time a customer gives you business, consider offering a few perks. These perks could be as simple as giving them a discount, offering freebies, and so forth.

Rewarding loyalty will make your customers happy and ensure you build a strong relationship with them.

6. Prioritize quality 

Running a small business might mean there isn't sufficient money, time, and expertise to fulfil existing customer needs. At such times, it might seem tempting to go with a solution that doesn’t require a huge investment—for example, using a cheaper alternative while making your product or choosing a vendor that delivers for a lesser price but doesn’t have the best reviews.

While this might work now, this is not the best option to run your business in the long run. Hence, it is better to save money to invest in good-quality solutions to help transform your business. You can apply this method to all aspects of your business, from hiring personnel to investing in automation tools.

7. Delegate tasks

From accounting and marketing to sales and administration, a lot goes on behind managing a business. As a result, staying on top of every task is not always possible. This complexity and the requirement of simplifying it is where delegation comes in. 

By assigning certain tasks to your team members, you can get the bandwidth to focus on something more important. You can consider outsourcing specialized tasks to experts or automating tasks with tools. With this, you can also ensure your job is getting done on time and more efficiently.

But you can’t just delegate anything. Delegating the wrong task can easily lead to a disaster for your entire company. So, what should you delegate? You can start with simpler tasks, such as maintaining your website blog and setting up a marketing automation tool. This delegation could also allow new team members to understand new roles and responsibilities.

8. Set well-defined and achievable goals

Setting goals is essential for your business's success. You can use goals as a roadmap to move forward with your day-to-day activities. To make your goals achievable, break them into smaller milestones.

Breaking larger goals down into smaller goals helps you measure how close/ far you are from your end goal and what your plan of action needs to be. For instance, your end goal can be to increase revenue by 40%. 

To ensure you fulfil this goal, you can set smaller milestones such as increasing website traffic by 15%, converting 7-8 leads every month, and so forth.

9. Build a network

Did you know that over 57% of people in America shop locally? Most of these people do this to keep money local. So, this could be your chance to cater to them and increase your customers. The best way to do that is by networking.

If you are running a store, consider hosting a small event. Here, you can hand out samples of your products for people to test. These networking events are a good way to get the word out, build connections, find like-minded entrepreneurs, and increase your visibility.

If you do not have a physical space yet or are not into mainstream consumer products, you can spread the word using an online network. For instance, go live on Facebook.

10. Never stop learning

You should recognize that no matter how much you accomplish, there is always more to learn and use for even greater success.

Even if you don't have the time or want to learn in a typical classroom setting, there are a variety of alternatives to expand your knowledge and continue to know so that your business can prosper. Online training, self-paced programs, collaborative possibilities, coaching, and even reading can all be part of continuous learning.

Being updated on new and changing technologies can help small business owners make better decisions and save money, time, and other resources.

Conclusion 

To sustain growth, you must adopt the mindset that risk is your best friend. When sustainability becomes part of your organization's core values, you can better sustain company growth, but you are also five steps ahead of the competition. 

Leaders must be powerful trailblazers to get there, forging new roads that few would see through to the end, let alone take. This bravery can ignite previously undiscovered prospects and infuse the workplace and employee engagement with newfound purpose and excitement.

Guest Posts

10 Ways Small Businesses Can Streamline Their Systems to Maintain Momentum in 2023

September 20, 2022
|
7
Min Read

Small businesses are the backbone of any economy, and owing to the pandemic, they have grown over the last two years. The Census Bureau states that in 2020 alone, the US saw over 5.4 million new businesses. This number continues to rise.

If you are an owner of these small businesses, you might wonder: How do I improve my existing business processes? How do I make the best of my current resources? 

It might often feel like 24 hours isn't enough to complete your to-do list. Hence, learning how to optimize your processes becomes even more important. Process optimization helps you work better with less and helps you learn what it truly takes to run your business to ensure long-term sustainability and growth.

You can do this by investing in tools and using automation tools to enhance processes, making and sticking to a budget, listening to your customers, and more. This approach will help you focus your time and energy on what is important to business revenue and growth.

But where does one start? To help you, we've compiled a list of ways to streamline your essential business processes and systems to amplify your business growth. So, let’s get started!

11 Ways SMBs can streamline business processes in 2023

1. Keep tabs on your finances

Initially, it might be easier to know the exact amount of money you have and how you will spend it. But, as a business grows, so do the expenses. Before you realize you might spend more than you have available to spend.

Hence, we recommend you keep track of your cash flow. Having a detailed cash flow statement will help you know the exact amount of funds you have at that moment. Once you know this, you can make informed business and financial decisions.

Also, investing in an invoice management tool makes sense if you send out invoices to multiple clients or vendors. With this, you can prevent delays and errors in receiving or paying for goods and services. You can also use a spend management software to know the ins and outs of money.

2. Offer flexibility to your employees

Allowing employees to work from home comes with multiple benefits, as they don’t need to commute and are less likely to be distracted by their colleagues. Which business doesn't want a team that is more likely to focus on working?

Whether you have two employees or a dozen, you can boost productivity by allowing flexible work arrangements. For example, you could enable them to work from home at a time suitable for them. By bringing in this work policy, you will be more likely to hire diverse candidates, reduce costs, and ensure your team can maintain a healthy work-life balance.

SUGGESTED READS:

3. Invest in finding good quality leads

Sales are the heart of any business. Your sales team needs good-quality leads to ensure you can keep new business coming in. Also, the better the quality of your leads, the more likely your customers will purchase from you. Moreover, cold calls can tarnish a brand’s name. 

Hence, it’s important to get good quality leads. 

One way to do this is by using a tool to help you find and connect with leads. In addition, using a tool makes your sales team less likely to make cold calls and spend more time converting prospects into customers. 

4. Build an online presence

If you are still not using any social media or online platform for your business, it is time to start. Today, it is one of the easiest and most effective ways to build your brand, connect with customers, and offer effective customer service.

Depending on your products and services, you can choose a suitable platform. For instance, if you are into products that cater to a younger audience, Instagram is a good place to start. If you’re looking to connect with other professionals, there’s nothing better than LinkedIn.

That being said, your online presence should not just be limited to promoting your products and services. Instead, it should be a way for your customers to know and interact with your brand.

You can harness the power of online media by sharing mission statements, charitable efforts, and customer feedback. Remember, the goal is to stick in your target audience's minds in every way possible.

5. Reward customer loyalty

Finding new customers is no cakewalk. In fact, finding a new customer can cost three times more than a current one. Hence, it is pretty obvious why you should prioritize customer loyalty.

We agree there's no one way or even a ‘right’ way of doing this. But one of the most effective processes is creating loyalty programs. Every time a customer gives you business, consider offering a few perks. These perks could be as simple as giving them a discount, offering freebies, and so forth.

Rewarding loyalty will make your customers happy and ensure you build a strong relationship with them.

6. Prioritize quality 

Running a small business might mean there isn't sufficient money, time, and expertise to fulfil existing customer needs. At such times, it might seem tempting to go with a solution that doesn’t require a huge investment—for example, using a cheaper alternative while making your product or choosing a vendor that delivers for a lesser price but doesn’t have the best reviews.

While this might work now, this is not the best option to run your business in the long run. Hence, it is better to save money to invest in good-quality solutions to help transform your business. You can apply this method to all aspects of your business, from hiring personnel to investing in automation tools.

7. Delegate tasks

From accounting and marketing to sales and administration, a lot goes on behind managing a business. As a result, staying on top of every task is not always possible. This complexity and the requirement of simplifying it is where delegation comes in. 

By assigning certain tasks to your team members, you can get the bandwidth to focus on something more important. You can consider outsourcing specialized tasks to experts or automating tasks with tools. With this, you can also ensure your job is getting done on time and more efficiently.

But you can’t just delegate anything. Delegating the wrong task can easily lead to a disaster for your entire company. So, what should you delegate? You can start with simpler tasks, such as maintaining your website blog and setting up a marketing automation tool. This delegation could also allow new team members to understand new roles and responsibilities.

8. Set well-defined and achievable goals

Setting goals is essential for your business's success. You can use goals as a roadmap to move forward with your day-to-day activities. To make your goals achievable, break them into smaller milestones.

Breaking larger goals down into smaller goals helps you measure how close/ far you are from your end goal and what your plan of action needs to be. For instance, your end goal can be to increase revenue by 40%. 

To ensure you fulfil this goal, you can set smaller milestones such as increasing website traffic by 15%, converting 7-8 leads every month, and so forth.

9. Build a network

Did you know that over 57% of people in America shop locally? Most of these people do this to keep money local. So, this could be your chance to cater to them and increase your customers. The best way to do that is by networking.

If you are running a store, consider hosting a small event. Here, you can hand out samples of your products for people to test. These networking events are a good way to get the word out, build connections, find like-minded entrepreneurs, and increase your visibility.

If you do not have a physical space yet or are not into mainstream consumer products, you can spread the word using an online network. For instance, go live on Facebook.

10. Never stop learning

You should recognize that no matter how much you accomplish, there is always more to learn and use for even greater success.

Even if you don't have the time or want to learn in a typical classroom setting, there are a variety of alternatives to expand your knowledge and continue to know so that your business can prosper. Online training, self-paced programs, collaborative possibilities, coaching, and even reading can all be part of continuous learning.

Being updated on new and changing technologies can help small business owners make better decisions and save money, time, and other resources.

Conclusion 

To sustain growth, you must adopt the mindset that risk is your best friend. When sustainability becomes part of your organization's core values, you can better sustain company growth, but you are also five steps ahead of the competition. 

Leaders must be powerful trailblazers to get there, forging new roads that few would see through to the end, let alone take. This bravery can ignite previously undiscovered prospects and infuse the workplace and employee engagement with newfound purpose and excitement.

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