Often, we have clients come into the office not because they’re ready to build a new website and start a marketing campaign, but because they feel pressured to keep up. If you find yourself in this situation, it can be quite stressful. You’re making decisions from a mindset of what will be fastest, rather than what will be best.
This pressure is hard to avoid, especially if your business picks up very suddenly and you find yourself swamped. It’s one of the hardest things that a business owner needs to do, and it begins with looking inward and examining your efficiencies and obstacles. Think about how you are spending your time, what are your major business and marketing goals, and review your past for efficacy. You need to make sure you’re making decisions for your business in a deliberate and mindful manner.
Here are steps that you can take to practice business improvement.
1. Review the Past
What do you spend most of your day, week, and month doing? Are you spending most of your time on work that is advancing your business goals and earning you leads, or have you been sidetracked by work that isn’t going to help you achieve your ultimate goals?
What are you doing in your business right now that takes time away from your goals? Sometimes you get stuck in a rut doing things because it’s always what you’ve done before, but then you lose track of the time and effort going into it.
For each of the priorities and obstacles you name, put an actionable goal on changing them. What does that change look like, and what is the first step?
2. Review the Present
What do you want to be doing, and what do you not want to be doing? If you wrote a business plan when you started your business, take it out and look at what it says. What was your original goal, and what are you doing now to meet it? What are you doing that is missing the mark?
You wrote your business plan for a reason, so be sure to use it now that you need some help with the direction of your company.
If you didn’t write a business plan, it might be a good time to start one! Make sure that you set real, attainable goals. Think of your business plan as a roadmap.
3. Check In and Converse
If you have employees, they probably have some ideas about where your business is inefficient, missing the mark, or even impeding your goals. Make time to sit down with employees and find out what their concerns and suggestions are.
Making these conversations positive and actionable is going to encourage your employees to be engaged and take leadership in their roles, and it saves you a lot of thinking time and work.
Some employees may not be able to answer your questions on the spot, so keep the lines of communication open. For some people, this is more easily communicated over text instead of face-to-face. The more flexible you are, the better the information you can hear from your employees.
4. Organize and Delegate
Now that you have reviewed your goals, your path to success, and what is impeding that plan — ask for help!
You may want to give your employees some new responsibilities if the staff your company has can handle the extra work. However, often this is when you may want to look to move work to external freelancers or firms. The difficulty is that adding new staff to your company, or even a new vendor, often first requires you to add his or her training to your already strained workload!
If you’ve taken the time to work on your business improvement in the previous steps, then this shouldn’t be too arduous. If you already have employees, there are many ways that you can distribute the time investment required to train a new employee. Your current employees should be able to shoulder some of that time and workload, and have your new hire working efficiently.
5. Track and Test
Business improvement isn’t something you do once. Done properly, it becomes a regular practice and habit for everyone in your company. Book improvement time into your calendar, and use it to check in on key metrics, talk with employees and customers, and review how your company’s time is being used.
Over time, your company should be a more effective place to work, your employees will feel more empowered and engaged in the day-to-day management of the company, and your growth decisions will be made based on patterns of change, instead of last-minute time crunch.
At ATAK, we use internal teams to ensure that an opportunity to improve doesn't get pushed aside. If you're ready to build an ecommerce website with a company that understands the value of being proactive, give us a call.