Hubris is a dangerous emotion, especially in the business world. In fact, it can ruin a company overnight because without the willingness to see where you are going wrong and improve on this your business will never move forward and stay relevant in the current market. With that in mind, check out the guidance below on how you can better your business.
Identify the Problems
The first step in this process is to identify any potential problems that may need fixing or improving. Of course, the tried and tested methods of doing this such as reviewing the quantitative reports on sales is usually the first stop.
However, as any data specialist worth their salt knows, using only quantitative data from one source can give you a seriously skewed view of a situation. That is why is essential to include other information gathering activities in this step as well.
In particular, formal audits completed by outside experts can help provide a sense of objectivity that those working in the company will not have. Also, feedback from both customers and employees can be incredibly valuable in establishing where a business can improve.
Luckily, customers honesty is usually something that is fairly reliable. Although it is important to remember that you always get the odd one or two that will exaggerate their claim in the hope of getting a discount or refund.
Unfortunately, employee feedback may not be so trustworthy. It’s not that your employees are deliberately lying to you either, it’s just that their answers may be clouded by office politics, a desire to seem more committed to their role than they are, or a concern that if they are truly honest, they are in danger of losing their jobs. That is why it can be helpful to offer anonymous surveys for current workers, and conduct exit interviews with those that are leaving.
The latter choice can be particularly useful as you are much more likely to get a genuine opinion from someone that is no longer interested in the dynamic of the company. You can even check out posts like The 20 Best Exit Interview Questions To Improve Your Business to help you come up with an effective questions set. Something that can help you ask the right questions and get the answers you truly need to make meaningful improvements in your firm.
Fix the Problems
Once you have the issues you want to improve on identified, it’s time to take action. Obviously, there is no one size fits all solution that will be of use here, and it’s vital to match the resolution to the issue, as well as take into consideration the cost of such improvements and whether such a move will pay off in the long run.
For issues with productivity and redundancy, it can be useful to look at streamlining processes within your company. This may be regarding cutting out redundant steps in a particular process or system. Alternatively, it may include automating some takes, so they no longer take up as much time and resources.
Other areas of improvement may need a change in company ethos and policy to be effective. This can be a tough nut to crack too, especially if you are working for a large business with a lot of bureaucracy and red tape to cut through before you can make any changes.
Lastly, another, but not the only way to improve on particular issues in your business is to consider using equipment and software that is better suited to the job. This is something that may cost your firm regarding initial investment. However, it is also something that can boost your business in a variety of ways including productivity and customer satisfaction. Both being areas that are vital to address if you want your company to be able to hold its own in today’s market.
Monitoring the Results of the Fix
The third stage in this improvement process is to monitor the changes you have made. This step is so crucial because it allows you to assess the impact these changes are having on your business.
Obviously, ones that are having a positive impact are worth continuing to pursue. While ones that are having minimal to no impact can be ceased and the funds redirected some something more effective.
While there are all sorts of way to collate data on whether your improvements are having a positive impact or not, in most cases you will need to look at two factors.
The first is the original method you used to identify the problem in the first place. This could include things such as customer reviews, and employee feedback.
The second is the bottom line figure. These figures are something that will show the effect not just on things customer satisfaction, but also the financial impact these improvements have made in the business as a whole. An effect all companies need to be aware of and monitor as profit and financial success is the one thing that keeps commercial firms functioning and out of bankruptcy.
After all, if the improvements aren’t making a difference to the bottom line, then it is sensible to conclude that they are probably not worth continuing with, in the long term.
Use That Data to Feed Back into the Cycle
By identifying, collating, and acting on the information, as well as monitoring the results, you can help your business to continue to improve.
In fact, it is the consistent focus on the process that is useful here. This is because instead of acting reactively to major issues as they become problematic, you shift your business to working in a proactive style. A style that catches and fixes problems while they are still small enough to only have a minimal impact on the success of your company.
In conclusion, your business could constantly be strengthened if you use this cycle of identity, fix, monitor and repeat. A system that will ensure your business improves in response to the greatest need and remains dynamic and relevant enough to be successful in the current market.