As small business owners, we have a constant drive to find ways of working smarter rather than harder. For most industries advancements in technology and “off-the-shelf” business solutions can help with most aspects of the business, including information and data storage, quotes and scheduling, accounting and point of sale processing.
Up to this point, technology has evolved faster than the people using it. Still, we now find ourselves in the unusual position whereby our behaviours are changing more rapidly than the technology that we are using. As a result, small businesses are forced to embrace different ways of working and communicating with both employees and customers.
Focusing on Business
The key to focusing on success within your business is to think about how you can react and adapt more effectively and efficiently. Try concentrating on one thing at a time:
> Being precise when defining the challenges that your business is facing is the first step to developing a clear and focused strategy.
> If you need to evolve several areas of your business, start by prioritising with your initial focus on the section that will bring the most positive change.
> Remember that increasing value within your business at this time may not be solely financial.
Business agility can take many forms and in the current business environment is not necessarily about perfection, but more about removing barriers to doing business more quickly and giving yourself – as a business owner – permission to experiment and perhaps even make mistakes in some areas – but importantly, the need to move on quickly and learn from any missteps along the way.
Focusing on People
Like me, you are probably finding that remotely doing business has thrown you – unreluctantly – into an endless round of video calling with both clients and colleagues in the past months. While this way of working can feel impersonal, it can be an opportunity to learn more and learn more deeply about the people that we have become remotely involved with.
By embracing each other digitally, we can still gain efficiencies and insights into our colleagues and customers that otherwise could have taken months or even years for us to gather. As a suggestion, perhaps make a comment around one of these points when you’re on your next video call:
> Acknowledge the books on their shelves and artworks on walls
> Show interest in the family photos that they display and the family members and pets that occasionally loiter on camera
> Take time again to make sure that they are not feeling isolated because of the lack of Friday Drinks or other regular business-related or social activities and arrange a face to face catch up.
Focusing on Technology
One way in which focusing on the latest technologies can lead to success in business is to embrace some of the many collaboration tools now available. Consider document sharing platforms to encourage the collaboration of ideas amongst staff in a secure environment.
If your business is principally customer data-driven, then consider improving customer focus by updating your current CRM – Customer Relationship Management – platform. Having the most appropriate system for your business can save time and money and help you securely retain and quickly retrieve data to help you streamline your customer experience and service.
The focus of a CRM is to help small business owners engage and build on their customer relationships. Here are some ways in which a CRM can help your business:
> Organise customer data – helps you and your team to keep track of customer interactions to ensure a seamless process
> Sales reporting – record steps in the sales process to ensure all opportunities are maximised
> Sales forecasting and analysis – make it easier to predict business through-flow
> Workload allocation and prioritisation – promotes employee satisfaction by creating accountability
The increased need to adapt your business quickly means that all interactions now need to be meaningful and new projects must focus on generating additional value as rapidly as possible.
It is crucial, in this rapidly evolving era, to remain sharply focused on your specific business goals and objectives and remember that value can be added in ways other than cost.
If you’d like to have a virtual chat in relation to administration and operations aspects or other needs to add value to the success of your business as an SME contact On Point Support.