In my years managing the multiple branches of my companies, I’ve learned that there’s more to making your business profitable than just having a great product or service. While those factors are important, understanding your employees’ needs, setting the right processes in place, and tweaking your business as needed are all part of driving your organisation towards being successful.
If you want to get your business out of the red and into the black, you need to streamline it, making it more efficient and effective. Here are some practices your business needs to do to become profitable — and the hard truth of what it needs to stop doing, too:
1. Set Appropriate Deadlines
When you think about it, work always expands to fill up whatever time is available for it. If you give an employee a task that takes only a day to do and then give them three days for it, that task will take them three days. To keep things moving along, set appropriate deadlines and timelines on all important tasks. Or, better yet, have their supervisor do it. They should be handling the maintenance of their department. This brings me to my next point.
2. You’re Not a Superhero — Always Remember to Delegate
As a manager or business owner, you need to spend your time on strategic planning and growing the business — not taking care of menial tasks. The most successful organisation owners understand they can’t do it all — and they wouldn’t even want to. Delegate what you can, when you can so you can spend your time elsewhere as need, like bringing in clients and making your business more profitable.
3. Keep an Eye on Your Expenses
A good rule of thumb you can follow is to list all your business expenses once a year. Remember, things change all the time, and you may be able to find more cost-effective ways to spend your money. You should also look for spending items that are not really necessary — i.e., you might want to reconsider that subscription package no one seems to be using — and simply cut these items out of your budget entirely.
4. Motivate Your Staff
It’s important to recognize that your employees are going to get paid whether they do their best or just perform up to minimum requirements — as long as they are showing up for their daily tasks. So, build your trust with your team. Motivate your staff to do their best by giving them a sense of ownership over their jobs. Make them feel that it’s not just another job — give them purpose. And offering incentives such as money, extra time off, and schedule flexibility as rewards for superior performance — that doesn’t hurt, either.
5. For Lack of a Better Term, Drop the Dead Weight
Part of management is dealing with the hard stuff. Let’s be real here: unmotivated, unproductive employees do nothing to help your bottom line. They might even drag more productive employees down to their level. Take some time and fairly review your staff. Take your time and observe; review any complaints you’ve gotten from customers or staff about them, and take that feedback seriously. If you have employees who just aren’t doing their jobs without being micromanaged, get rid of them and spend the money you save on employees who will actually help your organisation turn a profit.
6. Hire Workers with Multiple Skills
Multi-skilled employees are more flexible and often better problem solvers than single-skilled workers. You’ll have more options for delegating tasks and your organisation will be able to handle a wider range of jobs.
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7. Consider Branching Out
If you always do what you’ve always done, nothing will ever change. If you want your business to start turning a consistent profit, you need to always be on the lookout for other, potentially more profitable sources of revenue. That could mean opening a new branch of your organisation or finding other ways to make unique projects work for your team — which is an opportunity you might like to capitalize on.
8. Systemize the Important Processes
Keep a lookout for ways to systemize your organisation’s important processes — whether you’re in an office setting or a blue-collar work environment. Make templates for all the emails, forms, and documents that are regularly used. Set up automatic payments. For those out on the field, create “responsibilities” charts. Write out procedures for important tasks. When you turn processes into systems, your employees never have to spend time reinventing the wheel or doing the same meaningless tasks over and over again.
9. Use Freelancers
You might already have an office full of outstanding workers, but it’s possible they could need a little extra help keeping things moving. It can really help your bottom line by contracting with freelancers as needed rather than hiring new permanent staff members. Freelancers only cost a salary, but permanent employees also have costs related to office space, electricity usage, hardware, coffee, vacation time, and more.
Your business needs every advantage you can give it — especially in today’s climate. If you streamline your business by trimming away the fat, properly motivating your employees, and setting the right priorities, you’ll find that your business is going to become a lot more profitable.