As a small business owner, it's essential to get the most out of every dollar spent and every hour billed. That's why planning is so important.
A little forethought extended to every aspect of your business can help you maximise efficiency and increase your profits. In this post, we'll look at how you can think strategically and plan to help maximise the work efficiency of your small business.
Planning ahead can help keep you in line with your financial goals. In the fourth quarter of the preceding fiscal year, finalise your budget for the next one. Analyse the numbers from the previous year to gauge where you should apply your money and resources going forward.
It's important for every business to have a marketing plan to help you promote yourself to the people who need to hear from you the most. If you have a marketing coordinator, discuss your strategy with them. If you don't, you may want to identify an outside vendor to work with on helping your business spread its message.
Here are some marketing ideas to consider as you plan:
- Who are your target audience and ideal customer?
- Are you on social media? If not, which platforms would be the best ones for your business to set up accounts on?
- How do you get in touch with your customers? Email? Direct mail? Advertising? How effective is your outreach?
- Do you have a plan for content creation (i.e. social media posts, blogs, etc.)? What is your content posting schedule? Do you have the time and/or staffing resources to do this? What type of content would be most useful for your customers?
Developing an outreach strategy will help save you money and time by streamlining your marketing efforts and giving you a higher return on your advertising investments.
Before you contact potential clients or interact with existing ones, it's important to have a sales strategy for both scenarios.
Think about how you establish and follow up on sales leads. Document any strategies or best practices you have on finding new customers. You should also think about what hasn't worked so you can avoid doing it in the future.
You should also document how you interact with your customers after you make a sale. This shows you what worked before so that you can repeat that process with new customers.
Write all of these sales practices down in a handbook so you'll be able to refer back to them later. Recording your sales procedures helps you cut down on training and execution time if you add more salespeople in the future. That helps your business close sales faster and more effectively.
Below are a few simple administrative tips that can make your life as a small business owner easier:
- Develop a directory of all of your contacts. This could include any of your employees as well as any vendors or contractors you work with. This can be printed out and put into a binder or maintained electronically through software such as Microsoft Outlook.
- Check out these business templates and tools you use to maintain operations.
- If you have employees, draw up an organisational chart to clarify everyone's roles and responsibilities.
- Document all administrative tasks (expense, reporting requirements, equipment maintenance) in an easy-to-comprehend operations manual.
Putting all of this information down on paper can serve as a handy reference guide. This limits time spent explaining or learning administrative tasks, allowing you to focus on the daily operations of your business.
Planning can help your small business in multiple ways. Holding meetings or writing plans on specific areas of your business's work such as marketing or sales before executing your strategy can help streamline operations. Documenting your company's best practices in handbooks can cut down on training time.