This is Laura Lee Rose, a business and efficiency coach that specializes in professional development, time management, project management and work-life balance strategies. In my Professional Development Toolkit package , I go into professional development and real-world IT topics in detail. If you are interested in more training in these areas, get signed up
Today’s question came from a reporter working with small business owners.
With clients expecting orders to be turned around faster than in the past, how can a small business speed up their operations?
Anything that repeats can be optimized and automated. One recommendation to speed up operations, is to give discounts to entice the client to do most of the work for you. For instance, if your business is to design and create ads for a free local business directory magazine – then if the client provides you with the ad verbiage and graphics (such that all you have to do is publish), they get a discount.
The best way to get clients to easily adhere to certain standards and format, is to create some type of application for them to use. Using the same ‘free local business directory magazine’ example, a website application page can be created for internal staff as well as clients. This webpage application would increase the number of resources (both staff and clients) that you can distribute the work without lowering the quality. Increasing the number of people that can do the work will speed up your operations.
For this example:
1) Provide a customer designer website page that allows clients to create their own promotional material.
2) Provide various templates that 80% of their clients can use as their promotional design foundation.
3) Provide basic design options (example upload logos, adding text, preview ability etc).
4) Provide a video tutorial to show how people can create their own materials.
5) The more the client does on their own, the bigger the discount they get.
You still send clients their resulting ad for final approval before publishing. And if they need more of your help to finalize it – you can decide to limit it to 20 minutes (for example) without additional charge.
For the 20% of customers that the promotional website does not work for, you charge for your time, graphic expertise, editing, etc. But you have cut your time and effort by 80% and all your clients get a faster result.
If you do not want to provide an automated design website — still use the concept. If the client provides you with the ad and graphics (such that all you have to do is publish), they get a discount.
Bottom line: To speed up operations, put in some mechanism to allow for more hands to actually do the work for you. This might include: automation, streamlining, optimization, providing tutorials, data/format validation or even outsourcing.
What steps or things can you optimize, delegate and automate in your area?
If you need assistance in pinpointing these areas, setup a project-specific coaching session with me [email protected]
In my Professional Toolkit, I provide worksheet, templates and guidance on how to accomplish these things. For more information on how to get this toolkit, please contact:
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6420 E. Broadway, Suite A300
Tucson, AZ 85710
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