It’s a rare business owner that is truly satisfied with the results they are currently getting. This is the case in both good times and bad. While it is true business cycles have fluctuated for years, times are particularly difficult for most entrepreneurs right now.
In response to these difficult times many business owners and managers have been working on cost cutting and other measures to improve the chances of them surviving and/or prospering. It’s a natural response for people to turn inward when faced with these difficulties.
I agree with that.
Focus on improving what you’re currently doing.
Try to get the fat out of all systems. Shorten up all the steps in your processes. Do whatever you can to maximize productivity.
The steps to improve productivity:
Most likely you don’t have very many of your employees sitting around being bored. People are not idly waiting for the next opportunity to show up. They’re not sitting with their hands under their chin anticipating the next crisis.
No, I’m certain they’re very busy.
So what do they actually do when a great idea does show up? What do they do when there is an actual crisis to deal with?
Well, they simply stop doing what they’re currently doing and get right on it.
They don’t stop everything they’re currently doing. What they stop doing are the things that are not vital. They cease doing the things that they don’t have to do to keep the whole enterprise running.
How are they actually able to do that? To put it bluntly, what happens is they quit doing all the nonproductive activities they’ve been spending their time on. There are several reasons for this phenomenon. One of the most important is of course, they want to make certain their busy so they won’t lose their job.
Of course, this is not optimal from your point of view. My friend, Jay Abraham, calls this, “critical mass and velocity”.
Dealing with non-productive activities.
Most likely your organization is like most. There’s a lot of energy being spent on nonproductive activities, processes and systems. These activities will continue unless you take proactive action. Things will stay the same unless you intervene.
What needs to be done is all of these processes need to be broken down into their core processes, disassembled and then reassembled. You want to get all of the fat out of all of your processes. This is true whether not you currently believe them to be good ones or not.
Your objective has to be to “trim the fat”. Once this is done, your organization will be able to begin moving forward briskly.
We don’t have the time or the space to illustrate all of the systems and processes you may have currently going on in your business. So, what we’ll do is look at a typical example that does fit most business enterprises. That would be a sales or selling process.
So, here’s how we go about streamlining operations.
The 1st step is to make a list of all the current stages or steps contained in the overall process. In a sales process this could include things such as prospecting, closing new accounts, retaining customers, advertising, social media activities, marketing, product development, sales territories and others. Each one of these areas is (or should be) a process.
Next, determine if any of those areas could be eliminated in its entirety. For example, you may have sales representatives covering different product lines in the same geographical area. You could streamline things by having each sales rep cover all products. If done properly, this would leave you with only the most vital components remaining.
The 3rd step for you to take is to look at the most expensive or long or complicated of these activities. Once you’ve identified and prioritized this list you can move to the next step
At least once a year you’ll need to analyze all the current core fundamentals with in each of these processes in the company. Score these fundamentals on a 1 to 10 basis. Generally, a 10 would be outstanding and a 1 would be dreadful. Then you’d put a plan in place to deal with the lower scoring fundamentals.
In review, identify all the processes; eliminate the nonessential ones; identify the long or complicated; and, improve on the fundamentals annually for each system or process.
Sports teams do this once per season. They generally call it “training camp”. Once you have that same methodology in place in your organization, you’ll find your businesses productivity increasing dramatically on a year-to-year basis.
Now is a great time to make a list of the processes you suspect have become bloated and to address each of them with the technique you have just learned.