11 Processes You Need to Make Sure Aren’t Broken in Your Small Business
Fix Broken Process and Increase Your Small Business Profits
In today’s episode: We discuss 11 processes for you to make sure that they aren’t broken. Broken processes lead to a decrease in sales and profits. Our main goal today is to continue to find ways to boost your small business’s profits. This is our 6th step to increasing your profits from the free ebook: 8 Steps to Increasing Your Profits in Your Local Small Business
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Episode 97: 11 Processes You Need to Make Sure Aren’t Broken in Your Small Business
Welcome back to the Local Small Business Coach Podcast. I am your coach, Tammy Adams.
Today we are going to take a look at your business's broken processes and how they are costing you profits and sales
Did you know that almost everything you do in your business is the result of a process you have put in place? How you accept new jobs, to how you schedule them, to how you execute them and how you get paid for them. Plus, all the steps in between. Each one has a specific process that you have created. The problem is, are they the right processes?
What if I told you, that your current processes are costing you sales and profits? Would you be surprised? Or would you agree? I have a feeling most of you can think of one or two processes that you know are killing you right now. Maybe it is your quoting process, or maybe your customer follow up or your scheduling process. Whatever process is causing you the most pain, needs to be top of your list.
Step 6 of the FREE eBook: 8 Steps to Getting to $100,000 in Profit in Your Small Business
But before we dive in much deeper, I want to remind everyone that we have been going over the in more detail each of the 8 Steps to Getting to $100,000 in Profit in Your Small Business. Today we are going to dive in deeper into step 6 which is to Identify Broken Processes that are Costing You Profit and Sales. As you recall from our last few episodes, we have been working on creating a good, solid plan for increasing your profits. So far, we have brainstormed a bunch of sales ideas, created a gameplan, found some low hanging fruit in our costs and expense. Now it is time for us to look at fixing these broken processes.
This step is very important and you want to make sure that you DO NOT skip it. You see, all the extra sales mean nothing, if you have poor processes to execute them. Think of poor processes as buckets with holes in them. They allow profit to seep through unless you plug up the holes.
Let’s take a poor scheduling system for example. If you just take on jobs and toss out a day and time, then you probably have the following holes in your bucket: You aren’t organizing the jobs in a systematic order, you are probably overlapping or crisscrossing jobs, you might even be costing yourself a job a day. It is also possible you are forgetting jobs or showing up at different times then what you promised your customers or clients. These are just a few of the problems you will experience with this one broken process.
Now, imagine your business having 3, 4 or more of these poor processes? Imagine how much money you are losing due to not carving out the time to fix them.
WHICH PROCESSES SHOULD YOU FOCUS ON?
While each of your businesses are different, there are still a lot of overlap. So, I thought I’d go over a few of the most common broken processes.
Scheduling for Customers
We already talked about this one. Make sure that you are putting a scheduling system in place. You can do this via your Google calendar or you can also use these new online scheduling tools that allow your clients to schedule themselves with a time that is convenient for them. At minimum, these programs will allow you to better schedule to specific areas or job types. This also includes your employee schedules. Do you have too much help during the slow times and are understaffed during the busy times? Make sure to look at all scheduling needs.
Are you finding that your turnaround time on getting quotes back to your customers or clients is longer than 24 hours? Are you losing business due to not getting them the information they need quickly enough for them to make a decision? Why is this happening? Is it due to a lack of time? Too many resources to consult? Where are the roadblocks you are having and address them. Stop losing sales due to customers walking away.
Lack of Inventory Controls
Are you taking inventory on a regular basis? Having good inventory numbers helps you order correctly. It is critical that your on-hand counts are correct. If you currently don’t have a process in place to do your inventory, then you need to fix this.
Do you order by the seat of your pants or do you have good tracking process? Some folks order what they think they need vs ordering what they actually need. Ordering should be based off actual sales numbers. You should order based off trends and history. If not, then you could be costing yourself sales. Without some type of tracking system, you will being ordering off your gut vs true numbers.
Do you have a process you follow for each of your jobs to ensure you are getting paid? If you aren’t creating invoices as you go, or at least as quickly as possible, you are missing out on sales. There are payments slipping through the cracks. This is one reason I highly recommend Freshbooks. Not only does it help you with creating invoices, it also lets you send an email immediately for payment online. No more waiting on checks, you get paid right away. Plus, you get a great bookkeeping program. Try it for free – Visit Freshbooks
If you are anything like me, the one thing you hate about your business is having to sit down and do your Bookkeeping on a regular basis. Instead you stuff those receipts in a box or a drawer and hope they will magically put themselves into your QuickBooks or Freshbooks. The problem is, when we do not do this, we are actually leaving out expenses that we forget about. When the time comes to file our taxes, we are overwhelmed and miss things that slipped through the cracks. If we were keying things in weekly, odds are we would remember everything. You need to make sure that you look at this process and put in place what you need. If you don't like doing it, then find someone in your family who can do it for you or invest in someone for $10 an hour to help out.
Customer Follow Up
One area of my real estate business that I know I am leaving money on the table, has to do with my customer follow-up. For many of us, we need to cultivate our relationships with past customers or clients much better. By not doing so, we are missing out on their repeat business or any referrals they might have. It's important to check in every six months just to say hi. Keep our names top of mind.
One area that a lot of folks struggling with is getting back to people in a timely matter. Especially because you spend most of your day in the doing of the job. You want to make sure that you have a process in place for responding to emails, text messages and phone calls. Do you have a set time every single day? Maybe you can challenge yourself to get back to everybody within a 2-hour window. Please make sure that you really look at this process. It is a critical one to your business. In today's world, people want to be responded back in a quick timeline. Remember, sometimes even a quick response is better than no response. An example I like to use is, in my business, if I can't answer the phone because I am with a client, my text messaging is set up that I send a message back that says sorry I am tied up with a client and I will get back with you soon as I can. I can't tell you how many times I'm told by a potential client that they really enjoy that feature because it let them know I got their message. It bought me some time instead of them reaching out to the next agent. Look at your processes and come up with how you can do this in your business.
This is a critical one. You want to have a process that ensures you hire the best. Your hiring process needs to start with how you will find folks, to how many you will interview for each job position. You also want to make sure you are consistent with your questions. You don’t want to wing it. If you have employees, you want to take this process very seriously. It is one the biggest decisions you will make for your business.
Onboarding and Training Processes
So, once you hire them, your next process will be how you onboard the new folks and train them. Too often they are thrown to the wolves and forced to sink or swim. This is a horrible process and almost guarantees you will lose a bunch of potential good folks. You want to make sure that each of your employees come in and go through the exact same training every single time. You will want the training materials put together in a systematic way and how they will go through them and who will do the training.
Job Duties Done on Regular Basis
The final process I want to highlight are the day to day job duties we having in our business. You each of you have processes you do over and over. The problem is, you haven’t automated them to be done the same way each time. One thing that helped McDonald’s become the behemoth it has, is Ray Kroc realize that with a young workforce and hundreds and eventually thousands of stores, McDonalds needed to have a process for everything that could be done the same way each and every time, regardless if the employee was 90 days on the job or 9 years. You need to take that same approach in your business.
Walk through your job duties and ensure that you have processes in place that can be duplicated over and over regardless of who is doing them.
WALK YOUR BUSINESS FROM BEGINNING TO THE END
While we only highlighted these 11 processes, your business might have other processes that you should consider improving. These just happen to be some of the more common ones. You really want to make sure that you walk through your business from client acquisition, from advertising and all the way through customer follow-up not to mention all the steps in between.
TIME FOR A GAMEPLAN
Once you have your list of processes that are broken within your business into different buckets you will want to put together a gameplan. By the way, do not think that you can tackle all of these processes at once. You will need to figure out which ones are going to have the biggest impact on your business right away and work on them first. Which ones are going to give you better sales and profitability? Then once you fix these items you can move on to the next one or two.
But here is the neat thing, odds are if you pick the right ones it will have a trickle-down effect and will actually knock off some of the other processes because of their overlap. For example, if you work on better communication with your clients and customers, you might find that you must come up with a more organized calendar to work in a better communication process. Since you are working on your calendar, you might as well tackle the whole calendar problem and include your scheduling process. Now you get two good ones to work in tandem.
Once you get this gameplan together, we will take this one and put it with the other ones we have been working on, and head on over to step 7 of our 8 steps to $100,000 and profit. So in our next episode we will start to work on the resources that you need for all of these game plans and action items that you have been coming up with in the last few episodes.
And as we wrap up this episode I want you to know, that I realize being a local small business owner can be a lonely gig at times. But you don’t have to do it alone. Just know, I’m always here for you.
By the way, If you like what we are taking about, then make sure to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode, if you love the podcast and what we are talking about, then please leave a 5 star review so other local small business owners know this is a podcast that they can’t miss.
Meanwhile, I wish you the best in your business and remember: Great Customer Service, coupled with Great business practices will set you on the path to Great Profits!
Bye for now…..
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Our Training Materials for Local Small Business Owners: TrainingforLocalSmallBusinessOwners.com
Starting a Local Small Business Website: StartALocalSmallBusiness.com
My Recommended Bookkeeping Program for Local Small Business Owners: Freshbooks Link
Why? Helps you invoice quicker and more importantly, get paid quicker. Let’s you know when your clients have opened the email and they even help send reminders. Clients / customers can pay right from their phone or computer. Give it a Try: Freshbooks
**Freshbooks is an affiliate link. This costs you nothing. I only recommend due to how much folks have loved it. I am paid a small commission but trust me. Even I use it. Try it for free for 30 days and see if you don’t love it too!
Don’t forget, if you are looking to take your local small business to $100,000 in profit, head on over to LocalSmallBusinessCoach.com/8steps to download the free ebook & workbook called: 8 Steps Local Small Business Owners Need to Take to Make $100,000 in Profit. Where I’ll walk you through how to double or triple your current profit level.
Also, don’t forget to shoot me an email on any topic or question you would love for me to cover in an upcoming episode of the show. Just send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you are Thinking of Starting a Local Small business, over at StartALocalSmallBusiness.com we have lots of free tools and resources to help you get your local small business started. Plus, we now have a more in-depth course to Help Get you going. It has 12 modules, 50 mini videos and 13 downloadable tools a person can use to start their local small business. You can find the link once again at StartALocalSmallBusiness.com. I also have set up a special discount code for listeners of the podcast. At checkout, just add the code PODCAST to save 25%.
See you on the next episode!
Two Great Books to Help You With Your Small Business:
Highly Recommend all Local Small Business Owners Read the eMyth by Micheal Gerber. You will learn some critical things about running your business.
The second book is one I wrote based off a popular example I always use when folks are trying to understand their role as a leader with their people. Check it out.
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