By Carolyn M. Brown, Black Enterprise
Both large and small companies may benefit from simple business practices that will increase clientele, boost productivity and efficiency, and improve labor utilization. Mid-year businesses may 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. Instead of waiting until the end of the year, small businesses should be conducting a checkup at midyear to reassess and make sure goals are being met.
Many businesses currently are not meeting mid-year goals and what they can do the latter half of the year to turn things around, says 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 his five tips he says 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. 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, says Milam. “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, he advises. “Customers will pay more for products that work and are long-lasting.”
2. Implement data software automation. 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, Milam explains. 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.
3. Create a strong work culture. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once 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,” Milam recites. “A company will not be successful without employees who desire to, and do, perform their job well,” he adds. The top two 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,” he explains.
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, Milam explains. Through volunteerism and participating in community events, employees are able to interact with one another, build relationships with each other and the community. “Furthermore, community-involvement and providing funds to charities strengthens a company’s public image. 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,” he adds.
5. Reduce unnecessary costs. 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, Milam suggests. 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, he adds. “A large portion of a company’s revenues can be wasted on unneeded expenses. Ensure you are getting the best bang for the buck.”