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Management

3 Ways to Improve Your Business Operations

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In a competitive market, you have no choice but to be constantly evolving. Sticking to operations and tactics that used to work for your business years ago may be causing it to lag behind in competition today.

Regardless of the size of your business, there’s no room for improvement without modern technology. Innovations work primarily in operational efficiency, which is crucial if you need to cut costs, optimize time, and enhance the customer experience. And guess what? Every business needs that if owners aren’t planning to shut them down anytime soon.

Without streamlining and facilitating, your company’s potential goes to waste. It’s time to change that with three simple tips.

Take a step back to evaluate shortcomings

If you haven’t kept track of industry trends in a while, you should get back into the habit ASAP. Sure, you know your company has something that makes it stand out, as do all other companies with similar purposes, and that should definitely stay the same. What shouldn’t stay the same are inert internal operations and old methods screaming for improvement.

Business owners aren’t the only ones involved in operational gearing. Without competent and productive staff, companies would never reach their goals or thrive in any way. That’s why your employees are as much a part of the goings-on as you are, and may have noticed several things you probably haven’t.

Periodically meeting with your employees to address gaps and areas in need of development is an open-minded approach, as it brings together different points of view from different departments into plans, and consequently tangible goals. Adopt this tactic to kickstart refinements and work towards increased efficiency.

Outsourcing is key

You may already have sketched out the changes you want to make, but the question is: how can you make them work well?

Oftentimes, being a constant part of your own business’ daily operations will lead to you and your employees overlooking certain aspects. When deploying an impartial party and its services, experts who aren’t familiar with your management might quickly pinpoint what needs to be improved, alongside when and how it should be done.

For example, companies like brightpattern.com offer a range of services to streamline customer service by implementing modern technology in call centers. There’s software that rids customers of dreaded long holds, allows customers and representatives to communicate through various channels (email, chat, phone calls), and provides employees with a dashboard containing all the necessary customer data for quicker and complete assistance.

So if poor customer service is what’s been holding your progress back, consider hiring tech-savvy services to assist with development.

Empower your employees

If workers can’t measure how well they’re doing and whether or not their work has a positive impact on the company, then they might be wasting time and money, and a reduction in headcount may be necessary. That’s why you need the right tools to use your best judgment.

It’s virtually impossible to accurately track employees’ productivity without performance metrics and a good communication strategy. Your staff members need numbers and pointers to know their strengths and weaknesses, but they also need to stay in the loop about current operations in order to help the company move forward. A combination of solid communication and numbered progress helps employees know how crucial their hard work is to collective success.

When operations are running smoothly and everybody is aware of their respective importance in a business, you’ll see a shift in events, customer retention and higher gain, and a cut in costs. Even after modern solutions are established, you should never stop seeking growth and ways to educate your employees. It’s a huge team effort — get everyone involved the right way, and you’re off to exceptional management.

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Management

4 Tasks That Your Business Should Outsource

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With every period of business growth, there is more to do. Often a growth spurt can take a business owner by surprise and leave them with too much to do, and not enough time to do it.

Existing personnel are expected to take on tasks and responsibilities outside their comfort zone, and maybe you too need to upskill in areas you’ve got little hands-on experience, just to get the job done. What a recipe for ‘mountains of stress’!

Almost half of all entrepreneurs are taking too much on, and Gallup Wellbeing Index says it the women who are reporting their stress more than men. Hence, it’s hard to say which gender is better at delegation.

While there’s no single solution, mainly if the growth spurt is unpredictable, outsourcing tasks to third parties can lessen the strain on management. You may not need to use third party providers and being locked into lengthy service contracts instead look at a more flexible workforce.

Delegating appropriate tasks to freelancers or external teams allows you to focus on doing what you do best – and what makes you happy. This is leadership.

Managing everything in-house is unrealistic for most businesses today. However, some tasks require your special touch. It’s those that are too tedious, complicated or expensive that you’ll benefit from outsourcing. Here are four such functions.

Marketing

There are several reasons to outsource marketing. Working with the right agency can give you a fresh perspective that’s backed up by professional insight. It will also be easier to scale up your efforts, not to mention lower overhead expenses.

Moreover, you can gain access to the latest technologies to improve efficiency and achieve more significant results, and this is especially valuable for smaller businesses that aren’t familiar with current digital trends in marketing. You can gain a significant competitive advantage by implementing a digital strategy that’s developed by experts.

Admin

In a whitepaper by Harris Poll, staff spend an average of 40% of their day handling administrative tasks. Most of it involves repetitive, menial activities that can be done by someone else for a fraction of the price. This includes data entry, document management, travel arrangements, inbox organization and proofreading.

Thanks to websites like Upwork, Fiverr and Guru, you can easily find a freelancer to do these things for you. The key is to pick someone who you can rely on to do the job right. This guide details where to start in the selection process.

Legal

As you may be aware, in-house lawyers aren’t cheap. But if you want the peace of mind that comes with knowing your business is compliant with all relevant rules and regulations, you need to have access to legal expertise. This can spare you the (much higher) cost of running into a lawsuit or another unforeseen legal issue.

These days, you can access legal services through online marketplaces like Avvo and UpCounsel, while Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom provide legal documentation

Human Resources

Every new employee increases your human resource responsibilities exponentially, so it’s a good idea to consider hiring outside help. Plus, several risks come with being unable to keep up with the demands of human resources, such as failing to make payments and file documents on time, not to mention hiring the wrong employees.

Outsourcing to a provider can ease the load and reduce your risk. Depending on your circumstances, you might not need to ship off everything. For example, a payroll company can process compensation while you handle the rest.

Conclusion

Businesses need to be more nimble to survive recessions and staff up when business demands it. Also, make sure you’re not overloading yourself with mundane jobs. Think carefully about the tasks that take up most of your time and outsource some jobs.

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Finance

5 Ways Your Business Can Slash Expenses Now

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When you feel the time has come to slash business expenses to reduce overheads, then there are plenty of different approaches to achieve this goal. Needless to say, when there’s been too little attention on spending less up until now, they’ll be greater opportunities for savings. However, don’t despair – there are always a few ways to make it happen.

Here are five ways that your business can save money.

1. Purchase Recycled Office Furniture

Whether you’re wanting to replace tired desks or chairs that are now proving unstable or a new office is being equipped, it’s necessary to set the office up with what the staff needs.

While companies often only look at buying new furnishings, there is another option, and that’s used office furniture, including workstations, chairs, desks, tables. Near new workstations, for example, are a good purchase for startups with a limited budget. With more than half of all new businesses going to the wall every year, many of these companies sell off their office equipment and chattels making it a far more affordable option for businesses keen to improve their carbon footprint. Used office furniture from reputable suppliers is high-quality and often comes with a warranty.

2. Optimise the Marketing Plan

Instead of marketing across many different channels and seeing varying results with each one, try narrowing the marketing strategy down. Examine the results to determine which channels and marketing campaigns have delivered the most customers at the lowest customer acquisition cost. In case that’s unclear, the customer acquisition cost is based on the average amount that it was necessary to spend to secure one new customer.

Once you know this information, it’s possible to tweak advertising plans to only spend on the most profitable campaigns from a customer acquisition standpoint. This optimises the current marketing approach to reduce the total marketing spend while delivering the same results.

3. Reduce Recruitment Costs

Look for ideas that will cut down on recruitment costs.
For instance, ask existing outperforming staff for a recommendation of a friend or colleague who might be interested in joining the company. Also, see if there’s anyone that you’ve been impressed with who could be invited to come on board.

When you’re using recruitment consultants, get the best deal in terms of what they charge. Check around on different job boards for the industry and other alternatives. See if you can do some of the recruitment work in-house to avoid the often-extortionate recruitment fees by putting in a bit of legwork.

4. Improve Systems and Limit Staff Meetings

Most workers aren’t that productive. Repeatedly, research has shown that office workers tend to grind for half the day and lose the other half to inefficient processes and procedures, overly long meetings, excessive breaktimes, gossiping, using social media and the internet, and more.

Breakdown each role so that there are systems and processes to follow. Remove all redundant steps to cut out the time-wasting elements. Also, have the staff members suggest better ways to get their work done, which often results in time savings there too. With meetings, go in with a plan, stick to it, set a time limit on the meeting, and get everyone back to work right after.

5. Be Greener

Use green technologies and ideas to save money on energy expenses.
Look at everything from energy-efficient light bulbs, dropping PCs down from performance modes to lower energy ones, and turn off what’s not being used all the time. Ask the staff for their suggestions on other ways that the company can be greener – employees often have amazing ideas in this area that can be implemented quickly.
There are a good many ways to save money as a business. Thankfully, it doesn’t mean it’s necessary to operate like a Scrooge either.

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Management

How Agile Training Can Improve Project Performance

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Project management is a complex practice that requires the many stages of planning, execution, monitoring, and others. Usually, you work with a planned set of activities that are completed in a rigid sequence, with little to no room for changes. The ultimate goal is to achieve a particular result within a specific time while considering constraints.

Over the years, the agile methodology has become more popularly used in organizations. The approach has proven to be effective in improving project performance and responding to market dynamics compared to traditional forms of project management. However, given the differences between agile and traditional styles, agile training is crucial to making the shift in management practice.

Agile is About Increment and Iteration

Agile is essentially a mindset or framework that you can adopt in your organization’s projects. It is about breaking down work into smaller and more manageable pieces called user stories that are delivered in repeated cycles called iterations.

The rationale of the approach is to have shorter cycles so that you can continuously respond to changes and adapt to them rather than trying to deliver everything in one go at the end.

As its name implies, agile refers to being able to move quickly, especially in today’s volatile market. With such an approach, you can measure performance at the end of each cycle, so you immediately know how consumers respond. Although agile was initially targeted at software development, it has, over time, emerged as a global strategy that can be used in any organization.

Benefits of Agile Methodology

Nowadays, managers are embracing the agile methodology because the short iterations help lower risk and take action at the early stages. With an agile approach, you can expect to get a higher product quality since you are frequently testing it during the development stage. Since agile is flexible, you can make adjustments and developments incrementally to improve your product.

The agile method can also help you increase customer satisfaction since you can respond to dynamic and changing needs in the market. Likewise, being able to deliver products to the market quicker will merit positive reception from the consumers. Another benefit of adopting the agile approach is that the fast iterations will help you generate quicker returns on investment (ROI).

Agile Training is Critical

To successfully adopt the agile methodology, getting agile training is crucial. In the agile approach, collaboration among team members is critical, so ensuring that each member is well-versed with the strategy will help maximize its benefits. You have to train your team to be consumer-focused so that you are always addressing needs.

There are many agile training frameworks existing today, with one of the most popular ones being Scrum. The Scrum team typically consists of a Scrum Master, Product Owner, and developers.

The Scrum Master leads the team and ensures that the development team is effectively fulfilling its goals. The Product Owner then makes decisions for the projects, which include writing the user stories. Finally, the developers create the software and conduct continuous testing throughout cycles.

With the popularity of the agile approach today, you will find several training courses available to get you started. Courses typically tackle different project life cycle frameworks, essential agile values and principles, and the roles of each team member. Once you complete your training, you will become a certified practitioner, something that will surely give you an edge in the workplace.

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