Operating a new business is an exciting challenge filled with possibilities and lofty goals. After the launch, the adrenaline begins to weaken and the real work begins. Businesses can flounder through no fault of the owner. Markets get stale, economies fail, and new competition appears around every corner. Being stuck in a rut is not uncommon for most entrepreneurs, but there are effective ways to refresh and improve any business structure.
The first step in reorganizing or upgrading an existing business is to notice what is currently happening. Take an inventory, physically of any products, and mentally of staff, overhead, cost savings, software, and every other aspect of doing business in within the organization.
Even the most intuitive business owner cannot effectively make a change to improve business if they do not know what changes are needed. And they cannot know what changes might be beneficial if they are unaware of the areas that are not operating to full capacity. This necessary first step cannot be overstated.
Keep What Works
After a complete inventory, business owners can move to the next step of the improvement process. Most things are probably operating at status quo, and the inventory phase confirmed any challenging areas. In between what is desired and what is actually available lies the steady areas of the business. This is what is working well and worth saving.
These processes, employees, manufacturing tactics, and marketing strategies are going to be kept. In fact, they will be kept in place and human capital will be praised for their hard work and efficiency. Let employees know up front what types of evaluations are happening and what role you expect them to play in your inventory and subsequent improvements.
Refresh And Replace
Change can be unsettling for most people, especially when they think their job may be at stake. Reassure employees that restructuring the business is for the improvement of all, and that their efforts are appreciated. When downsizing is required, transparency is an absolute must. Keep it simple, straightforward, and as private as possible. Preserve dignity at all times.
The way businesses deal with their own workforce is a general indicator of how they will treat their vendors, customers, and other acquaintances. Reputation is key for any business. Let employees know that the disruptive innovation is for the purpose of launching the business into its highest growth spurt ever. Like construction debris, the mass improvements and minor adjustments are part of the process of renovating a priceless work of art.
Employee input is vital to a growing business. Solicit input from all levels of employees and from as many customer base demographics as possible. Marketing a business requires finesse and mutually beneficial contacts.
Take the feedback seriously and input suggestions when appropriate. Thank customers and employees by incorporating their ideas and personally expressing your gratitude in small but meaningful ways. This could be a temporary employee parking space near the front door as a way to honor a project manager who came in on time and under budget on a tough assignment. It could mean a customer appreciation day with a special discount or free shipping.
Be creative in honoring employees and customers and your business will naturally improve. Be diligent about cost savings efforts, reducing overhead, and avoiding waste.
When business is slow, take the opportunity to spruce up the building and office space with a thorough cleaning. Treat employees to a small event or have a meal delivered on a particularly stressful day. The element of surprise is a business owner’s best friend. Keep them guessing, and they will be sure to come back for more.