As a small business owner it’s easy to get caught up in the endless mountain of work that requires your urgent attention. Customer needs always come first, but then there are all those other things that also need to be looked at. Like preparing for that finance meeting, reviewing a new sales proposal before it goes out to a great new prospective client or scheduling your marketing team’s annual performance reviews.
It’s hard to see the woods from the trees when you’re plugging holes and putting out fires on a daily basis. The secret to the most successful businesses is their ability to maximise time spent focusing on the customer and associated value-add activities and reducing time wasted on non-value add activities.
The first step forward is taking a step back and truly looking at how your business runs.
Business Improvement has long been a feature of big corporations, but is now becoming more common in small and medium enterprises. It’s a set of techniques that help you analyse your business and a set of tools that help you make your business better. The key focus is on reducing unnecessary waste from your business – whether it be time, money or energy.
Business Improvement helps you:
- Define – actively identify the problem areas within your organisation and determine what the ideal end outcome looks like
- Measure – thoroughly research the current situation and determine if you have the data required to make informed decisions about next steps
- Analyse – look in detail at what the root cause of the problems/inefficiencies are
- Improve – use a structured method of thinking to work through the problem and make improvements
- Control – maintain the improvements through ensuring that all aspects of your business work effectively together
Jack Welch, former CEO of GE said “If you come to work with one thing on your mind everyday it should be, finding a better way everyday.” Having a structured way of making improvements to your business means that you can spend more time innovating and leveraging your competitive advantage.
Implementing effective business improvement techniques can have a huge positive effect on a business. Through strong management, small businesses can see running costs reduced, improved employee engagement and significant savings to the bottom line. Now who doesn’t want that?!