Every home needs a spring cleaning and a business is no different. The constant influx of paraphernalia that accompanies any business can grow into an oppressive mountain of the unused and unwanted. There are other larger issues that might also be bloating your business, such as staff that you may be keeping on for sentimental reasons. A cull can be painful, but your business and mental state will benefit in the long run.
This is the first and perhaps most important lesson. Business owners and managers become attached to their staff, methods, policies and items in the company. A great first step is to sit down with your employees and discuss their future aspirations, this will allow you to understand who is really moving the business forward. If you enjoy socializing with someone at the office Christmas party, that shouldn’t come into your decision making process. It does sound harsh, but the cold truth is that your staff may be happier somewhere else. You should take this unsentimental approach into other areas of your business.
Use Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM)
Are you managing your customer base with an ever increasing number of spreadsheets and documents? If you’re relying on outdated software, or an in-house method, then it’s certainly time to upgrade to a modern CRM. A CRM will allow you to track sales, easily manage a database of customer information, and can increase your customer acquisition and retention.
If you want to learn more about CRM’s, then I recommend checking out Zapier’s excellent guide on the subject. It’s important to research before choosing the software package, but Salesforce is perhaps the most widely used CRM solution.
Readdress Your Inventory
Overstocking can lead to unnecessary waste. Not only does your unsold stock represent a lost opportunity, but the warehouse space it uses is expensive. It could be that you’re unnecessarily looking at increased warehouse space that will subsequently lead to increased insurance, security and staffing costs. An experienced warehouse manager should prevent this from happening, make some time to inspect your warehouse and speak to your staff. Damaged and deteriorated stock should also be another concern. Though it’s not suitable for every business, you should at least consider utilizing the JIT (just in time) inventory system first developed in the Japanese automobile industry. Accounting4Management have a more in-depth article on this, which you can read here (http://www.accounting4management.com/just_in_time.htm).
Office Clear Out
A tidy room leads to a tidy mind, so that old fax machine that you last used in 1997 has to go. There are usually local services for recycling electronic devices, don’t simply chuck them out because they won’t decompose and will end up on a landfill somewhere. An office tidy-up doesn’t require you to completely redecorate or imitate a trendy tech start-up office. The ‘it’s not broke so don’t fix it’ mentality has led to some seriously outdated office spaces, which will transcend into your workforce.
Keep it Simple
In an effort towards maximizing productivity and revenue, many businesses have increasingly relied on protocols, policies and reports. Now these can be useful, but many managers are so entwined in red tape that they struggle to complete their basic responsibilities. If your staff are forever jumping through hoops, it might be time to simplify the process. Two fellows of the Boston Consulting Group have written a fabulous book – Six Simple Rules: How to Manage Complexity without Getting Complicated. It’s a widely praised book and many are moving towards a refreshingly simple structure, thanks to the writings of Morieux and Tollman.
If you’re battling against physical and emotional clutter in your workspace, it could be time for a mini-upheaval. Liberate your daily routine, but first of all draw up an action plan. Simply rushing into a new regime could potentially damage your business.
This article was written by Dylan Fairwell of Rubberbond, who specialize in roofing solutions for both commercial and domestic buildings