You might have already been considering improvements over the break but there is still an opportunity to fully appraise your operation and instigate some impactful and meaningful change.
Here are some ideas that might be beneficial for you, your business, staff and customers and could, despite the tough headwinds continuing to blow, make 2022 a real year to remember.
It’s not how hard you work, it’s how you work
While the pandemic and subsequent restrictions forced a lot of companies to adopt new and novel working practises, it might inadvertently unlock a positive advantage for the company in terms of productivity and efficiency.
Instead of thinking about how you operated before March 2020 - imagine you were starting your company today.
What would your setup look like to meet today’s hybrid working environment?
Some industries require workers to be present on a premises but for others there are gains to be made from formalising previously temporary arrangements.
Can you make any changes to make the system work better? Does any equipment need to be updated or purchased to enable remote working to be even more effective? Do you need to incorporate new training into your business to make it work more efficiently?
Also consider what didn’t work as well as you had originally planned. Can this be altered to work better or do you need to write it off to experience and revert to previously successful patterns and processes?
It can be tempting to commit to exciting, major changes at this time of year - personally and professionally - but take a moment to consider the impact on the business and whether incremental improvements might be a better and more sustainable goal.
Can’t someone else do it? Automation and Outsourcing
The past two years have seen a plethora of automated and remote solutions rise to meet the newly created demand for businesses having to operate at different locations or under altered circumstances.
This might have been a jarring experience for entrepreneurs and business owners who are used to being hands on and doing everything themselves but it might also have shown them that it can be viable and productive to let someone else take the strain of some essential but time consuming tasks.
Whether it’s accounting, HR, order processing, social media or any of the hundreds of other tasks involved with running a modern business, the new business environment shows that automation has finally met its moment and can handle the demands and expectations placed on it when the idea was a novelty.
Time is going to remain the most precious commodity a director or leader within a company has, so dedicating as much of it to the truly critical tasks is easier than ever.
Reboot your business plan
A business plan isn’t a holy relic that remains unaltered for eternity. Nor is it a collection of promises pulled together to secure funding when the business was just starting out.
It’s an active and adaptive mission statement and roadmap on how to get there and like any good company, should be flexible enough to adapt to changing conditions and circumstances.
Now is the perfect time to have a look at the plan, especially if it was written pre-Covid, and adapt it to your new surroundings and your new horizons.
Maybe your initial goals have changed since forming or joining the company. Maybe you’ve already surpassed them in which case, what have you been working towards in the meantime?
Rebooting your business plan for 2022 will not only be a refreshing exercise but will help clarify priorities for the company and individuals within it to work towards as well as getting a better understanding of how their work impacts and improves the firm for everyone else involved.
Another key part of the business plan that should also be revisited is the marketing/advertising/promotion sections.
Hopefully it has been updated since the advent of social media and the internet but even the past two years have seen seachanges in the environment that need responding to in order to take advantage of a more cyber-based customer base.
Reaching existing and potential clients where they want, how they want is going to be an essential building block in any successful company’s sales strategy and should be integrated into the main business plan and updated regularly if it isn’t already.
Take the customer journey yourself
This could be the ideal time to put yourself firmly in the shoes of your customers.
Check out your website from their point of view. Try and purchase something and see how easy or not the journey is.
Does it need to be simplified or tweaked?
If you’ve got a physical store or have regular face-to-face customer interaction then ask a friend to do the job and let you know what they honestly thought about it.
While you’re the owner/director of your own business, you’re a potential customer to every other company out there so it’s important to assume that role for yourself and test your own process occasionally.
Ask an expert
The final piece of advice is probably the simplest.
It can sometimes be hard to get a truly objective view of your own business because it’s yours - you have put so much of yourself into it that even if you want to be objective, it can be virtually impossible to separate yourself.
So having a new, impartial pair of eyes take a look at the business from top to bottom and come to some concrete conclusions could be a huge benefit.
For business owners and directors we offer a free initial consultation where we can talk about what obstacles the company faces and give our impartial advice on what options there are to improve the situation.
We also offer a business viability review that looks at how the company operates on a day-to-day basis and how it could survive for the next 12 months based on cash flow and profit and loss forecasts.
If you’re looking for a new perspective that could help point you in the right direction then we’ll be there to help - any month of the year.