If your business is chugging along at a good clip, and you are feeling like it is gaining ground on competitors, making a reasonable profit every month, and generally making you happy as a business owner, it could be time to streamline your day to day operations. By making some upgrades, your business could get to the next level.
Businesses are always evolving, and most business owners always put a percentage of the profits back into the business to expand and upgrade. Here are a few smart ways to reinvest your profits wisely, creating an environment for growth and prosperity.
Upgrade Your Hardware
Did you struggle at the beginning of your business? If so, you aren’t alone. Right now there are thousands of people out there who are anxious to start a business, and are scrambling to get startup loans today, hoping to get their businesses rolling tomorrow. When you are on a bare-bones budget, and trying to cover all of your bases with a new business, it’s easy to go cheap on everything you need to physically get the job done, without overextending yourself.
If you are finally seeing the fruits of your labor, and you feel comfortable reinvesting in yourself to streamline your business and provide your service in the most reliable ways you can, it might be time to upgrade some of the equipment you need around your business. Let’s say you had to get the cheapest possible laptop and printer in order to take online orders and fulfill them: now that you can reinvest some money, it could be time to buy a better laptop and more reliable printer. Especially if what you have been working with doesn’t quite cut the mustard, breaking down and needing replacing or serviced too frequently (and causing delays or problems with day-to-day business) then it is a good investment to get the tools you need that will deliver efficiently and reliably.
Get Serious About a Strict Schedule
If you have suffered in the past because you and your staff have had trouble adhering to a schedule, causing issues that might even include the loss of clients because of time constraints being met in an adequate way, then one way to get proactive about tight schedules (aside from screaming and yelling) is to take advantage of one of the thousands of apps that are out there to schedule and handle time management. Getting your whole staff on board to use a scheduling app or any app that can address your particular needs is a step up from schedules written in a day planner. Although old-school methods of time management work for some people, it might not translate to an entire staff.
Here are five great apps that are highly reviewed for 2021 to help with scheduling issues:
- Acuity Scheduling: This highly rated scheduling software requires a monthly fee, but offers a number of appealing features that can be customized for your unique needs. It integrates with Squarespace and other applications for sales and marketing, allows for safe online sales through PayPal and other payment apps, allows for sharing of schedules with social networking platforms, and allows for easily tracking revenue and pointing out no-shows, plus many more amazing features
- SimplyBook: This is arguably the best scheduling software out there that is available for service industry professionals. It allows for easy online booking and payment, with “pay now” options that can easily be added to websites or social networking posts. The POS system is flexible and has email and SMS receipts to allow for paperless interactions. Far too many excellent features to list in one small article.
- HubSpot Meetings: This scheduling tool integrates with very popular programs like Google Calendar, Office 365 and has a very helpful WordPress plugin if your website is hosted by WordPress. It has a nice option to add in details about your most valued customers to offer a more customized experience for them (things like whether they prefer to fly coach or business class, what kind of cuisine they prefer at a business lunch, where they like to golf, or other information that helps business meetings with clients to go flawlessly). Offers both a free plan and a paid plan, so great for businesses that are starting out.
- Bookafy: This tool allows you to easily create meetings, where you can custom design the look of your scheduling page. Also offers automated video meetings, and offers payment collection options. This tool helps to easily share effective visual ad strategies to multiple platforms. Plans start at $7 monthly after a free 1-week trial.
- Setmore: This flexible scheduling app allows for useful features from any business, ranging from a sole proprietorship to small to medium-sized businesses, large organizations, or NGOs. It is easily integrated into multiple platforms: desktops, tablets, or any sort of smartphone, and allows for multiple employees to easily manage appointments and one on one interaction with customers. It is a little pricey for a small business though, at $25 monthly.
Get Serious About Figuring In Overhead
Now that your business is really starting to make a name for itself, you need to nail down just exactly how overhead should affect each customer, and adjust your prices to meet that overhead. Lots of new business owners might just have a ballpark estimate of what the actual cost is to do each individual job, without getting an accurate number to factor in on things like the cost of keeping the business headquarters running every day, and variations in what staffing costs as the company grows and takes on new people in management roles.
Sit down and make a concerted effort to see how overhead factors into each customer’s final cost. By being able to justify the cost, even down to the cent, will help minimize any kind of disputes with customers about pricing, and will also help you as the owner to make sure that you are charging an adequate amount to cover your bills, without inadvertently under-charging for individual services.
Update All of Your Contacts
Part of streamlining and optimizing a business to run more smoothly calls for an occasional update of information that might have changed or become outdated. Hopefully, any kind of spreadsheet-style database your company has is already fully online, but if not — now is the time to simplify your life and make it so. Getting rid of outdated data about your clients, vendors, companies you do business with, and removing and replacing outdated passwords and contact information is something that should probably be kept up with regularly, but things do get hectic, so a full annual review of contacts is not a bad idea to prevent missed opportunities in the future.
Streamline Inter-Office Communication
If your business has grown from a one or two-person company into a small company with a number of employees, you might have moved the employees into offices or cubicles if you have a brick and mortar base of operations, and inadvertently caused them to become disjointed and unable to share information or equipment in the best ways. Examine the layout of your expanding office space, and make sure that everyone has equal access to essential things like office printers, the coffee maker, and any other item that is necessary for day-to-day operations.
More importantly, it is essential that all information that needs to be shared by the whole team or parts of the whole team is accessible by everyone who needs to know. Also, if there is an essential task that needs doing regularly in the office, but only one person is the go-to person for that essential task, there should be a backup person to act in their shoes in the event of illness or other emergencies. Nobody likes having a group video chat about the minutiae of a minor office task when they are at their mother’s deathbed; having more than one person be familiar with an essential task is a must.
Those are some minor glitches that can be spit-shined and polished to make your business the well-oiled machine that you have always dreamed it could be. Your customers will appreciate the effort, and your employees likely will, as well.