In a recent post I had suggested that you only fix the broken things to maximise your investment in systems and processes, I stand by this, however it does not mean you should not look to fix everything in your business even if it is not broken.
Everything in the business world is changing quickly and if you do not constantly review you may get left behind or not be making the most of your investment. Obviously fixing the things that don’t work is a priority but there is always value in improving those things which are already working, making them slicker, easier, more intuitive and ultimately more cost effective, but make sure any changes are aligned with where you want the business to go.
You are busy running your business, so how can you keep on top of that review? Here a 5 ideas.
1. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Blogs: Follow people in your industry, follow your suppliers, not just your product suppliers but also your technology and service suppliers. What you are looking for is the golden nugget of information that says a supplier has a new service or Tips and Tricks for using the systems you use.
Pros: Can be reviewed at your leisure
Cons: Sorting the wheat from the chaff
2. Interact with your customers: Make sure you have an effective channel to your customers, currently this may be one way, i.e your marketing, make it two way and listen to what your clients are saying. They may have issues, some may even have ideas.
Pros: They are your life blood who better to listen too for improvements
Cons: Can be subjective not objective
3. Back to the floor: It may have been some time since you took a customer order or worked with a supplier as you have staff to do that, once in a while do their job. What better way is there of finding improvements to your systems and processes. May be take this a step further and have rotating jobs so that different people end up working in different areas of the business, but gather feedback, this also has the added benefit of reducing the bottlenecks caused by ‘specialist’ people being on holiday/off sick.
Pros: Kill two birds with one stone, i.e perform holiday or sickness cover
Cons: You hired someone to do the job because you didn’t want too!!
4. Open door policy: As your business gets bigger make sure you are available to your staff, listen to what they have to offer.
Pros: Builds rapport and trust with your employees
Cons: Be careful about in action on suggestions bought to you.
5. Surround yourself by partners: Partners, such as Relativity who are separate to the business yet understand it and who are able to be objective with a separate pair of eyes, and don’t be afraid to talk to them, I can’t speak for partners you may already have but we are more than happy to chew the fat if you are buying the coffee 🙂
Pros: A lot of value and expertise for what could be very little if any investment
Cons: There aren’t any, I would say that wouldn’t I.