The new year provides a great opportunity for your business to reevaluate what is going well and what can be improved, as well as work toward business optimization. This process will help you to improve upon things that may be costing your business or slowing down productivity.
But where should you start?
We have put together four suggestions for how you should go about shifting your strategy toward business optimization in the new year. It all comes down to evaluating data and company feedback in order to cut the fat in your business and discover newer, better processes.
1. Deep-Dive Into Data.
As a business owner, you should always be collecting data. Whether it’s ROI, market share, or advertising analytics, you should constantly be evaluating hard statistics to make sure that you’re on the right track. While the start of the year is always a great time to do this (especially before you renew contracts and set budgets), this would ideally be a process you should revisit quarterly or even monthly.
For example, let’s say that you’re spending 10% of your marketing budget on Facebook. Maybe that comes down to $10,000 a year, which is a notable sum. That could be going really well or perhaps not, since some businesses do well marketing on Facebook and others don’t. If you’re not getting suitable traffic from your efforts, then it might be time to ask if it’s worth it. But you’ll never know if you’re not regularly collecting and revisiting the data to check for efficacy.
Likewise, if you don’t have a robust data collection system in place, now is the perfect time to seek one out. In fact, 85% of companies worldwide see better, more responsive communication with customers as a result of improving their data quality. That same study found that 75% of businesses believe that poor data collection or quality inhibits their ability to provide quality customer service. So if you’re not making a concerted effort to collect and use your business’s data, consider investing in a CRM like Salesforce or Hubspot that can help you keep track of your stats over time, and even run reports on your results.
2. Listen To Your Employees.
Your employees are a great resource for learning what is and isn’t working within your organization. That’s why it is so important to be responsive to their feedback. In fact, one study found that 82% of employees have ideas that could help their companies better achieve their goals, but over a third of employees felt like their companies weren’t receptive to feedback. That’s a huge disadvantage to companies that are trying to find fresh, new ideas that will help to grow their business.
So how can you make sure that your employees’ ideas are heard? Some companies set up an anonymous suggestion system so that employees feel safer when providing feedback and do not have to be concerned about retaliation if they give their honest opinion. Some companies ask for employee feedback during performance reviews or on a rolling basis. You should implement whatever would work best within your organization, and make sure that your employees feel comfortable coming forward with their ideas.
3. Cut The Fat.
“Cutting the fat” is where you take the data you’ve collected and the employee feedback you’ve received and put them into action. Does your annual marketing budget report show that you failed to break even on your investment into billboards for 3 out of 4 quarters? Cut it. Have your employees let you know that the old fax machine isn’t working? Replace it. Anything that’s creating an inefficient environment has to go.
Sometimes this can be difficult. Maybe you’ve been spending on a certain CRM that just isn’t working anymore, and you’re afraid to make the switch to something more user-friendly with more features. What if it doesn’t work? That leads us to our next point.
4. Look Before You Leap.
In other words, do your research before making a major switch. You need to make sure that any new program or system will work within your specific industries, is user-friendly, provides all the features you need, and fits within your budget. If you’re curious as to what factors you should consider or what’s available when purchasing new CRM systems or tools for your business, there are many guides online that detail the pros and cons of each. That way, you will be able to make the best, most informed decisions for your company.
We hope that this guide was helpful to you wherever you are in your business optimization journey. If you invest some time in reviewing data and employee feedback, you too can make decisions that optimize and improve your business’ functionality — leading to better ROI, higher profits, and lower costs.