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    February 2017
 
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5 Ways To Improve Small Business Second Half Performance, Profits

With the end of the 2015 fiscal year nearing, businesses should be reviewing their consolidated revenues and thinking of ways they can increase their profit margin as they enter the new fiscal year or second-half of the calendar year.

Both large and small companies may benefit from simple business practices that will increase clientele, boost productivity and efficiency, and improve labor utilization.

Richard Milam, office productivity expert and president and CEO of EnableSoft has over two decades of experience in business efficiency helping to develop productivity software.

Below are Milam’s five tips that every business should focus on when finishing the year out strong:  

1.      Focus on customers and the services you provide.There is a reason why people shop at Target over Wal-Mart: Exceptional customer service. Short lines, easy take-backs, and a smile and, “How can I help you?” around every corner. One of Target’s mission statements is to deliver, “exceptional guest experiences.” Industry leaders all have one thing in common, they build relationships with their customers by focusing on their wants and needs and providing the best customer service possible. Talk with your customers, spend more time with them, offer different programs or promotions and you will not only maintain your current clientele, but gain more customers by enhancing your company reputation and through word-of-mouth marketing. Customers will return to a place they feel cared about. Enhance your products in ways that make them easier to use, faster, less expensive, and purposeful by identifying ways that will add value to your products or services. Customers will pay more for products that work and are long-lasting. Many industries are catching on to the fact that satisfied customers directly relate to the health of their business.

2.      Implement data software automation. Today’s technology has afforded us with many capabilities and luxuries that were not possible in the past. The best businesses have invested in data automation software that have proven to save time, reduce errors in records and databases, as well as free up man-hours to perform other tasks that they previously did not have time for. Any routine, repetitive tasks that involve manual data entry can be automated by software, such as EnableSoft’s, Foxtrot. Every business has applications and databases that contain customer information, SKUs, fees and pricing, health records, billing codes, and many other types of data. Data is moved, updated, or maintained by repetitive processes that are done manually, squandering time and employee-resources. Anything that a human performs with a mouse and a keyboard can be automated by Foxtrot, the “digital employee,” freeing up employees’ time to perform other business-related tasks. Furthermore, data automation is faster, more efficient, and virtually errorless.

3.      Create a strong work culture. The great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” A company will not be successful without employees who desire to, and do, perform their job well. The top two (2) reasons why people work for a company are one (1), for the money, and two (2), for the job. You do not have to be the top payer in your industry, but if you treat your employees well, respect their work, praise them often, provide public recognition and bonuses for a job well done, your employees will perform well and continue to perform well. People will be motivated to perform at their best if they know that they are respected and if they feel valued in the workplace. Additionally, offer your employees a retirement saving plan and contribute to it. Therefore, your employees will be invested in the company—if the company does will, they do well. Provide your employees with the tools they need to do their work. If you have a good retention rate, you will not have to spend time hiring and training new employees, plus, the employees you have will continue to learn the business and be knowledgeable on ways to improve or enhance performance. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s guidance still stands true today.

4.      Give back to the community. Companies that engage in the community and get involved in various community or charitable events are likely to interact with potential customers. Through volunteerism and participating in community events, employees are able to interact with one another, build relationships with each other and the community, and function as a team. Companies that focus on giving back to the community build stronger bonds with their employees and the interpersonal relationships between employees are improved as well. Furthermore, community-involvement and providing funds to charities strengthens a company’s public image. Thereby, when people need a service or product, who are they going to turn to: the company who they personally met at a community event, or the business they know that gives to charities. Most people will not mind spending an extra dollar on a service or product if they know that some of that money will be going to a charitable cause. One study found that 82% of consumers consider corporate social responsibility when deciding whether or not to buy from a company (Delgado,2014). In 2013, the Bay Area News Group recognized 95 companies as Top Workplaces based on an employee survey regarding their workplace (Herlihy, 2014). The result: Most companies contributed to their local communities and the world in various ways.

5.      Reduce unnecessary costs.  Every business or company has raw products and services that are required to fuel their business. For example, computers, paper, pens, staplers, and even services such as copy and print services. Review what you purchase and from what stores you purchase it. Buy from vendors that offer the best value and service, and buy in bulk for the products that you utilize abundantly. It is paramount to the success of your business to be able to locate the best sources for the products you require. Additionally, leverage technologies that allow business to business or business to customer transactions, in real-time, without having to actually meet face-to-face, such as GoToMeeting, WebEx, and Skype. This reduces travel and air-time, thus saving time and money for your company, as well as enabling the benefit of reaching a broader—even International—customer audience. A large portion of a company’s revenues can be wasted on unneeded expenses. Ensure you are getting the best bang for the buck!    

 


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