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Business improvements, what do you do first?

James Morris
Published by:
James Morris
Published on:
June 21, 2018
Modoras Accounting (QLD) Pty Ltd ABN 81 601 145 215
Business Improvements what to do fits

New Year’s Resolution time. Okay –  so it’s not the calendar year-end, but there’s no reason why the end of the financial year can’t provide the trigger for you to make some improvements to your business. Or, more specifically, one improvement.

What if you could pick one thing in your business that you’d like to change? Which area would you choose? Which element of your business gives you the most stress? If time and money were unrestricted, what would you do?

We haven’t got an answer but we’ve done a little research on which areas of your business might benefit most from your attention.

It’s not calendar year end, but there’s no reason why EOFY can’t be the trigger for you to make improvements to your business.

No matter how successful, every business has areas that could use some attention. It could be the way you’re doing your marketing, it could be your sales department, it could be customer service, or improving your finance function.

Deciding which one to work on means projecting which one will, once improved, give you the most benefit. Remember, benefit may not be obviously financial. It could mean your people are happier or more productive, or more of your customers become raving fans.

Of course, happy staff and customers will translate to more sales and better service, but the financial benefits are not always immediately obvious, and that makes your decision a tough one.

Make sure the problem you’re trying to fix, is actually the main problem.

Ben Simkin, suggests that it’s common for business owners to believe they’ve identified a problem within their business, only to solve it and find there’s another underlying issue they weren’t aware of1.

It’s also common to discover the problem you think you’re having is merely a symptom of another, larger issue. He gives the example of a business who thought their marketing plan wasn’t working.

When they took time to investigate further, they found their sales staff were stressed and spending too much time on admin to perform their sales tasks well.

This brings us to an interesting point. Maybe working on keeping your people happy and productive will reap the most benefits?

If you could pick one thing, perhaps it’s your people?

An article by Eric Sui in Entrepreneur highlights the area most business owners would focus on if given the chance. Staff. Employees. The team.

Keeping your employees happy, well rewarded and motivated is a challenge that businesses of all sizes find challenging. Eric refers to a survey undertaken by TINYhr which asked employees what THEY would change in their company, given the chance.

The biggest group, 15% said they’d improve communications, 10% said they’d improve empathy and people skills and 8% wanted to increase wages. And a substantial 11% wanted their boss fired or gone2. This is most confronting for business owners, knowing that there’s a strong possibility they are the reason their employees are unhappy at work.

There’s no doubt investing in happy employees is worth it, the benefits to productivity are clear. If you’re going to make just one change to your business, you might find focussing on your people brings significant benefits.

Based on the survey, start with a good hard (honest) look at business culture, the way employees are treated and the quality of internal communications.

Make the thing you’re best at, even better

Susan Payton takes an unusual approach to business improvement. Payton says rather than selecting an area to change, take your business’ unique selling point (USP) and work hard to absolutely nail it3.

Your USP is the way you delight your customers, it could be your amazing speed of service, or the outstanding quality of your product.

Whatever your business excels at, take the opportunity to give it some extra attention. Take the idea of surprising and delighting your customers a step further.

The only thing that stays the same is change itself. Source: Adobe Stock

Be good at change

David Sturt, writing for Forbes Magazine has another interesting perspective. He says rather than improving various parts of your business, and making changes across departments to implement these improvements, you should simply prepare your business and its people for the fact that change is inevitable4.

He says that technology is changing so quickly, he finds it amazing that many jobs are advertised with just 7 or 8 bullet points (often recycled through several employees) and new team members aren’t encouraged more often to be innovative about the way their job is done.

Think of the benefits. Actively asking your staff to improve the way they do their job, gives them power and authority and increased motivation.

Your business will benefit from motivated staff and the improvements they make to how they perform their tasks, processes and meet their goals.

Spend your time wisely and watch your business improve

For small and medium business owners, taking one area of your business at a time and making improvements makes a lot of sense. You simply don’t have the time to spend making intense improvements on every aspect of your operation.

Choosing the area that will most benefit from improvement means you can focus your time and attention (and money) where you’ll reap the best rewards. Many organisations find paying more attention to their people is a clever and rewarding way to make improvements.

As part of this, encouraging people to expect change and even initiate it themselves as part as continuous job improvement can be a positive way to encourage your people to take control of creating their own perfect role.

If you’d like some advice or direction on smart, practical ways to improve your business, contact the team at Modoras.

Over to you

How do you decide which areas of your business to work on? Do you know where your help is needed?
If you liked this article please share.

Want to know more?

Talk to a Modoras Business Advisor today on 1300 888 803 or book an appointment online.

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  1. BusinessNET- Ben Simkin, Oct 2014. Business Problems: Be careful which problem you’re trying to fix
  2. Entrepreneur- Eric Sui, Feb 2015. What’s The Number 1 Thing Employees Would Change If They Were The Boss
  3. Forbes – Susan Payton, Jan 2017. Take One Thing In Your Business and Do It Better This Year
  4. Forbes – David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom, Oct 2014. Update Your Expectations: The One Thing In Business That Needs To Change

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This blog has been prepared by Modoras Accounting (QLD) Pty. Ltd. ABN 81 601 145 215. The information and opinions contained in this blog is general information only and is not intended to represent specific personal advice (Accounting, taxation, financial, insurance or credit). No individuals’ personal circumstances have been taken into consideration for the preparation of this material. The information and opinions herein do not constitute any recommendation to purchase, sell or hold any particular financial product. Modoras Accounting (QLD) Pty. Ltd. recommends that no financial product or financial service be acquired or disposed of or financial strategy adopted without you first obtaining professional personal financial advice suitable and appropriate to your own personal needs, objectives, goals and circumstances. Information, forecasts and opinions contained in this blog can change without notice. Modoras Accounting (QLD) Pty. Ltd. does not guarantee the accuracy of the information at any particular time. Although care has been exercised in compiling the information contained within, Modoras Accounting (QLD) Pty. Ltd. does not warrant that the articles within are free from errors, inaccuracies or omissions. To the extent permissible by law, neither Modoras Accounting (QLD) Pty. Ltd. nor its employees, representatives or agents (including associated and affiliated companies) accept liability for loss or damages incurred as a result of a person acting in reliance of this publication. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

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