Many people talk about the importance of having a well-run business, but what does that really mean? How can you tell if you are managing your company effectively? Bill Midgley, a SCORE mentor who specializes in Business Operations and Financial/Managerial Accounting, answers that by focusing on operations. Operations are the systems and processes of running a business. Here are some ways to make sure those processes are working well.
Check on Your Finances
Let’s start with your business finances. Do you have enough in your account? This is a simple, but important question. Do you have enough funds to pay your bills, have money set aside for emergencies and unforeseen circumstances, and also have the cash to invest? You also need to know if you have enough to pay yourself a salary. “Having all this information is critical to understanding where you are,” says Bill. Keep track of your numbers by putting them on a graph. Sometimes, your financials can be easier to understand if they’re available visually. “Typically, when you see something graphically, you start to see trends,” Bill says. You can see also get to see if things are trending up or down, or if they fluctuate from month to month.
Focus on Customer Service
“One issue that always comes up is if it is easy to do business with your company, or does the client need to go through so many hurdles to go through that it’s really a drudgery to try to do business with you,” Bill comments. Your business is non-existent without your customers. You want to make sure that they can easily purchase your goods or services and are satisfied with the services they receive. One way to find out what your customers think is simply to ask. Talk to clients personally or hand out surveys. Find out what’s on the minds of the people who do business with you. You may also ask your employees for their input. Employees are on the ground and can give important insight into how your customers feel. Find out what they are thinking and you may have valuable information on how to improve your business.
Sell What’s Needed, Not What You Want to Sell
Sell what your customers need, not just what you think they want. Take the information you learn from talking with your customers and act on it. Learn what products and services your clients are asking for and you may increase your sales. As Bill puts it, “establishing those relationships, understanding the needs of the people that you’re serving, and making sure that you’re addressing those needs appropriately” is doing good business.
To learn more about improving your business operations, check out our webinar Simple Steps to a Well-Run Business Part 1– Operate on our website.