When you look back at the past year, what do you see? Did your business grow or did revenue and earnings fall back? Sure, the economy was not that great, but that’s been true of the past several years too.
Here are some ideas to help improve your business to be better equipped to beat your business competition next year.
Use Collaborative Tools
Making the communication better between employees is important. Beyond using email to send messages, task managers can help to organize the tasks associated with a project with managers able to distribute the tasks to the appropriate personnel. Todoist and Remember the Milk are ideal tools for managing multiple lists and accessing these lists from mobile devices, directly on the web, or through web browsers.
Spreadsheets and word processing documents can be shared, using Google Docs, between multiple users who can each update different parts of the spreadsheet or document in real-time for the ultimate in collaborative efficiency.
Survey Your Customers
Communicate directly with your customers on social media channels, or via a blog post to survey what products they would like to see developed next or what features should be added to existing products. It is quite likely that the staff will be surprised at the responses which could differ markedly from what they planned to do next.
Be aware that what customers say they want and what they will actually spend money on when the product becomes available are two different things entirely. If at all possible, announce a product shortly after the survey, price it, and offer it for pre-sale to gauge a real sense of customer take-up. Then, build the product.
Be Open to Flexi-time and Working from Home
Whilst many employees will be happy to have an office to go to for their work and to separate their working life from their personal life, other employees would prefer more solitude and to cut out the long daily commute.
Offering flexi-time or working from home arrangements could be beneficial for some employees and certain positions that do not require a physical presence in the office 5 days a week at fixed times each day. Employees who get to switch to flexi-time or working from home will likely stay more loyal partly because of the difficulty of creating the same arrangement with a new employer. Improved employee retention saves money on employee turnover, reduces business disruption when someone leaves the company, and cuts training costs for new hires.
Keep the Business Fleet Running Optimally
Any business that has one or more vehicles available for staff to use will need to keep some body shop tools available. Someone handy with the tools can make minor fixes to the vehicles to keep them out of the hands of a mechanic for days at a time. Employees who need to make a small adjustment to their own vehicles before setting off home after work can also make use of the tools too.
Beating the competition is about working smarter, not necessarily harder, in key areas that can make a big difference at the end of each month. Focusing on the employees is key because they’re the engine that pushes the business along.