If you are a business owner who has this sneaky feeling that your decreasing margin isn’t to do with decreasing sales, read on.
We have a philosophy here at No More Ifs Or Buts and it’s Don’t Just Be. There is always a better way of doing things and Be Efficient is one of those big ones.
How do you fancy getting to the end of the day, end of the week, month or financial quarter/year and feel like you’ve achieved something rather than fought fires?
So we’ve come up with 5 helpful tips to make you more efficient and to help you make more money.
1. Talk More
We’ve all heard about how email is a time killer but not only that, it can be a relationship killer too. Try an internal team ban on emails for 3 days. All internal conversations are to be conversations not email. Whether that is a quick phone call or a saving up of little questions for a quick coffee/meeting. Not only does it save time by not checking and drafting so many emails, it means improving communication between team members.
Once you’ve managed to instil this philosophy into your team communications, try widening it out, take this approach with clients and suppliers. Not only will it save a huge amount of time, it will mean that relationships improve and not only are you likely to generate more work from your clients, your honest and regular communication with them will mean that if issues arise, clients and suppliers are more likely to be supportive and understanding of situations if they are talking to a real team member rather than just reading emails.
2. Tech time
Look at your systems and processes, in particular those technology related ones. We’ve just looked at the broadband speed we are getting here at NMIOB. Apparently we are getting 15mbps through our fibre connection. On first glance, that seems fine, but in fact on our 4G phones, we are getting 60mbps. That means we can work 4 times faster on our phones than using the wifi! Add that up across the week, month and year and you start to see how inefficient it is using a poor connection speed. We could be so much more efficient with our time.
Technology changes and improves at such a high rate nowadays that you need to regularly review your business. If you haven’t upgraded any software or hardware in over 12 months, just have a look at how yours is doing. It doesn’t mean that you need to change everything and make an investment every 12 months, it will just help you to see how your kit compares and will give you an idea for planning when you may need to make those bigger investments.
3. Skill audit
Your staff are undoubtedly your most important resource, but you need to ensure that you have the people with the right skills and availability, on your projects at the right time or you risk eating away your profit margin.
Do you use your staff to the best of their abilities? Are you still making decisions and inputting into meetings that you know realistically your team can do on their own?
If you find you can’t trust your team, ask yourself if you have the right team members. You should be in a position where you can focus on the strategic planning that will drive your business forward, don’t waste time on the small decisions and conversations that aren’t using your time effectively.
Rather than always hiring that freelancer or specialist in, can you invest in a training course for one of your team to keep the skills in-house?
4. Be Picky
It’s really easy in business to say yes to everything, I’ve been there and done that. There’s an in-built scepticism and worry that business owners have that you can’t rest on your laurels. I’ve seen this, felt this and agree that in most it’s a good little reality check to have on your shoulder.
The question to ask yourself is: Are your clients allowing you to run your business efficiently? Have a look at your client list, who is a big time waster, who is extremely high maintenance, who doesn’t pay their invoices on time. Are they really worth the money? If you can streamline your client list, can you spend more time on the clients that are worth more or it will give you the time to spend doing bigger and better things?
I’m not suggesting you go out and fire your annoying clients but just spend a little time looking at how efficient your relationships are with your different clients and ask yourself are they all worth the same amount to you?
The news that M&S is to shut down 60 of it’s clothing and home stores is a great example of this in a large organisation. They are shifting their focus to food and whilst 60 of it’s stores will disappear, they will be replaced with over 200 simply food stores. They have analysed which parts of their business are more profitable.
Un-billable work is one of those secret drains on productivity and therefore efficiency. When you look at how much time you spend on each client, also look at what other things you spend your time on, what takes up lots of your and your team’s time? What can you stop doing or what can you automate?
5. Sell More
And the last one is sell more for less effort. Whilst I said you can make more money by not selling more, selling more with little effort is just as good. Do you have a good CRM process? We’ve all heard that it’s easier to sell to existing customers than new customers but can you honestly say you’re doing your best with your exiting customers? Are they buying all your services or products? Why not?
Look at your existing customers first.
Then look at everyone you’ve had past contact with through your CRM system. Keep those leads warm, all it takes is a phone call, an email, a coffee or a lunch every so often to keep those contacts on the warm side rather than cold side. Keeping a good warm pipeline ticking over is a much more efficient way of approaching sales than panicking when you see sales dip and going out and buying mailing lists, offering silly discounts or taking a scatter gun approach to networking.
So there you go, 5 top tips to make you earn more money by being more efficient.
Get in touch if you are not achieving the levels of efficiency you would like in your business for a free consultation.