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There are over 30 million small businesses in the United States alone. And despite the pandemic, that number is set to increase even more in the future.
While that’s great news for the economy and entrepreneurship, it also means that the businesses operating today will find themselves in more crowded markets, requiring innovative solutions to remain competitive.
And at the heart of staying in business is using the right strategies when running your company. If you can ensure that the internal processes run smoothly, overcoming obstacles will become much easier, and you’ll be able to allocate more resources towards innovation.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the crucial aspects of running an effective organization below.
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One of the biggest enemies of productivity in any business is employees having to go through the same repetitive tasks repeatedly. Whether it’s filing information, sending out reminders, or even sharing information within a team, inefficient processes can eat up most of the time people have available, leaving little of it for activities that make the biggest difference.
Therefore, as a business owner, your primary goal should be to automate as many processes as possible. Today, the abundance of automation tools can help you streamline tasks in marketing, sales, customer support, customer relationship management, project management, payroll, and any other part of your business that takes up a lot of time.
There are solutions at all price points, customized for various niches, so you should start looking at the most pressing issues your business is facing and allow a modern tool to solve them while also freeing up your team for more productive activities.
If you’re hesitant about what you’d have to spend, at least look into the free automation tools that are available, which can help you recognize their value and get started without having to make too big of an investment.
Over time, the automation tools you implement will have a compounding effect, not just saving time but also reshaping how your company operates on a larger scale.
Protect Your Company Legally
Legal issues aren’t something most entrepreneurs give too much thought to. At least until they hit them without any notice, and they are left completely clueless about what they could do. If you want to avoid such a scenario, it’s a good idea to prepare and try to figure out how you could protect yourself legally from some of the more common situations that could arise.
Since most of today’s communications take place online, you should start by ensuring the legal admissibility of electronic records in your company. It’s a standard that helps ensure your company’s digital records will be deemed as trustworthy and reliable enough to use in court, should the need ever arise.
At the same time, you should use legal counsel to develop contracts that protect you in various situations and ensure that you won’t be taken advantage of by an unfair client or partner.
Finally, because of increasing regulations for businesses operating online, you should make sure you comply with the regulations in the country or region that you operate in.
This includes the well-known GDPR compliance requirements set out by the EU, which you must adhere to if you want to operate there, especially since these types of regulations are believed to become needed in the United States in the near future.
Help Your Employees Grow
Improving employee productivity and motivation is probably the most powerful way to boost company performance. But while most business owners understand this, few actually know the right methods for achieving an employee productivity boost while also keeping them happy.
Luckily, there are proven strategies that can be applied and used in any type of business, so you just have to be willing to implement certain changes, and you will see powerful results.
For starters, you should consider implementing a one-on-one coaching process in your company, where executives and more experienced team members regularly help their peers and subordinates overcome obstacles, expand their areas of expertise, and advance their careers.
Sharing knowledge and experiences can produce outstanding outcomes because it helps your entire team move forward instead of limiting progress to a few people who are in a better position or are more independent.
Another powerful strategy for helping your employees grow is giving them more responsibilities. Sure, this can be scary for business owners and executives, but only by trusting your employees and giving them more challenging tasks can you help them become better.
You should also promote a healthy and collaborative team culture, where project teams are regularly reshuffled, and people are matched to projects based on their strengths and interests. You may discover hidden talents in people in the wrong roles, making finding the perfect position for each person on your team much easier.
Finally, don’t be afraid to reward excellent performance and make sure to offer plenty of encouragement to people who show initiative and are proactive in the way they approach problems. Even though providing too many might not have the desired effect, offering occasional rewards and bonuses to those that excel in their jobs can be a great motivator.
Listen to Feedback
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It’s hard to admit to being wrong. And that can be especially true for business owners that worked hard to achieve what they have and don’t want to listen to criticism. But sometimes, only by listening can you create meaningful change and ensure that your company is continually moving forward.
One of the easiest ways to collect feedback is to talk to your employees. These people face various challenges every day, and they are also the ones who interact with your customers. So, you will likely gain a lot of valuable insights about things that could be improved, annoying issues that keep repeating, and simple fixes that could be applied as soon as today.
If you want to learn more about your audience and cater to its needs, the best approach you could take is to talk to your best customers directly. By organizing interviews, setting up surveys, or even running polls on your site, you could learn more about what your customers want and make more informed decisions in the future.
Finally, to identify the most pressing issues, implement a system for collecting and analyzing your support team’s interactions with both happy and frustrated customers. These communications can be a gold mine for insights about how your customers think, what they love, and (most importantly) what they hate about doing business with you.
Think Long Term
Finally, as the leader of your company, you must be capable of distilling what truly matters in any given situation and think not just about the immediate benefits of a decision but also how it will impact your company long term.
The most successful organizations are able to prioritize their long-term goals above all else, thinking strategically about the types of assets they should invest in and how to create the right conditions for expanding their share of the market.
Luckily, most of the strategies discussed above do a great job of not just providing significant short-term benefits but also of setting up your company for long-term success based on the wide-reaching effects those changes can have.
But at the same time, you should sit down and think about where you want the company to be in five, ten, or even twenty years. Once you crystalize those core ideas, everything else will start falling into place.
The way a company is run can be the deciding factor in whether it succeeds or not. For both small and large companies, finding ways to streamline processes and boost employee productivity is always a top priority, especially with competition in most markets continually increasing.
Luckily, if you take a proactive approach, listen to feedback, and implement new technology, it’s possible to make tangible improvements quickly, which can make a big difference in your company’s bottom line and long-term future.