All companies want to be successful, and one way to increase success is through business growth. How can this business growth be achieved?
We sometimes hear from business owners who wish to replicate their successful business and expand to one or more new locations. They often say that they “…need someone to come and package up (their) business from head to toe so we can expand.” That’s what they say — but is that what they need to grow their business? How can you use this time to focus and develop more sustainable customer relationships to increase your customer satisfaction or customer quality?
What is your growth strategy for your company, and what tools do you have in place to get there? It all starts with a business vision you have for your company or department. Is that vision being accurately and concisely communicated throughout the company? If not, the outcome can be far from what you envisioned.
For example, say your vision is to launch a social media marketing campaign to appeal to a broader, younger, Internet-savvy audience. What does that mean for your marketing team that is unfamiliar with social media networks? What does it mean for your sales team that has no experience with that type of lead? And most importantly, does your product make sense for that audience?
These are all questions you need to answer with a clear strategy before you launch a campaign that could end up costing your company. Our business experts are eager to help formulate your company’s strategy into clear steps that will lead to success and business growth.
The benchmark for growth should be customer quality, which comes from discovering your Value Proposition. A Value Proposition is simply a statement that captures the customers’ perception of what your company does that they value. What makes you unique among your competitors? Understanding customers’ perceptions of your company — and aligning your strategy to meet those perceptions — will lead to increased customer quality, the ultimate goal for any company.
Once you have established a Value Proposition and sharpened your understanding of your customers, what is left? That’s where Lead Generation comes in. You don’t want to waste time cold calling and selling to people who don’t want or need your products. Lead Generation uses what you have learned about your customer to create highly focused, customer-centric, often visual marketing campaigns. Creating a website with the right message — and proactively getting that message into your customers’ hands — means they will come to you, not vice versa.
Expanding your operations to new locations will test the limits of your policies and procedures. Hidden inefficiencies are often revealed when sales and production increase. If low turns on accounts receivable and inventory, long sales or production cycles starve your cash flow, then something is wrong. Your policies and procedures should document cycle times for your critical operating metrics.
Did you know that franchises are four times more likely to survive than a start-up primarily because they have a well defined operations manual? Are you growing your business like franchises grow theirs? Most companies that expand successfully do so with a combination of:
After a few e-mails back and forth between the small business owner and Bizmanualz, the gravity of the situation — their “replication strategy” — becomes apparent. The process of documenting best practices, implementing policies and procedures, training employees, and implementing a quality management system is no small undertaking — any one of them alone would be daunting, let alone all four. While the owner’s first inclination may be to have someone to come in and do it, seldom are they in a position to budget for it.
Nor would it be advisable, in most cases. For most of our customers, existing staff — labor — is the largest cost, by far. When you dig down for what the owner really wants, it’s to enable the current staff to achieve the desired business growth without spending more money than they’re already spending on employees and related expenses. Given our customer’s practical concerns, our approach has evolved into guiding and enabling growth, not sending in a “hired gun” to do it for them. We guide growth through training and workshops, and we enable growth with our products and services.
By simplifying your procedures, you can cut waste with confidence that you are not cutting essential value-added services customers want to buy. Simplifying procedures helps with business growth because it streamlines your operations, documents them, and thus makes it much easier to replicate your operations at another location.
Hiring people is simple compared to ensuring they know what to do and have the resources to accomplish their job. Policies and procedures provide the framework for a management system to oversee new employees and communicate who does what by when. A new operation based on proven procedures is easier to manage because you can evaluate its performance against known metrics. And should the metrics indicate a need for adjustments-typical when rolling out a new location-staff will have procedures in place to affect needed changes. This significantly reduces the risk of opening a new location.
Bizmanualz can help you simplify procedures faster and more efficiently than you can do it yourself because we are continuously writing, publishing, deploying and updating policies and procedures. Our latest procedures represent lessons learned by our thousands of world-wide customers.
What can you do to ensure your company stays on top and pursues the right opportunities?
Your company’s business council is the meeting where all program mangers come together and ask each other the “what by when” questions. What are you going to do? When are you going to have it done? As the company’s CEO or lead business development executive, you (with assistance) must do a bit of career coaching and keep track of the answers, and go over the responses at the next meeting. Are we ahead or behind schedule? Are there any roadblocks in your way to keeping the commitments you, the program managers, have to this council? If so, what resources can the council, and by extension the organization, bring to bear to overcome the obstacles?
Because the business council asks both for commitments to meet revenue, and rations resources to achieve program goals, it is uniquely situated within your organization to hold managers accountable and remove all obstacles (read: remove excuses). It is where pie-in-the-sky demands for revenue come face-to-face with unrealistic demands for resources and reality emerges. The new business council is a conclave where managers hold each other accountable to their commitments to one another, and that is the germ of espirit de corps.
Programs whose revenue potential is too far off in the future or not large enough to matter won’t make the cut. Programs closer to the core business where concrete steps are easier to identify and execute become the singular focus of program managers.
Our customers have taught us that when their businesses expand geographically, they often face challenges in coordinating, controlling, and distributing their policies, procedures, and best practices among their locations. That’s why Bizmanualz has a software platform that will help you handle these challenges. You can rent access to our OnPolicy procedures software and upload your procedures so that when you’re ready to expand, all your locations can access controlled releases of policies and procedures, as well as other key documents.
Furthermore, you’ll pay only for what you need! Billed monthly, our web-based software will be particularly cost-effective for our small-to-medium-sized customers. You’ll get the convenience, control, reporting, and smooth operations that you want, with none of the hassles of maintaining the software in-house. It will come pre-loaded with your Bizmanualz policies and procedures. All you’ll need is an Internet browser. Often times what one forgets while attempting to expand business is the importance of a good website for the company. Websites draw more eyeballs and help in the growth of business.
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