the Working Woman
When you study ways to improve the quality of business performance, you can find many suggestions and gimmicks that will promise to improve various aspects of a company. You might be told to increase the traffic flow, or the conversion rate, or the number of new leads. Each of these factors is important to achieving the ultimate benefits of business growth, but may not be a final answer if the process is simply mechanical. If you leverage your talent in business it can help to improve the revenues; even during these grim economic times. Here are some suggestions to make use of the talent that is available to you in the employees of the company.
You get the most out of your business staff when you invest resources in professional memberships and in educational opportunities. These activities should be those that provide genuine value for the dollar. When you bring in outside people, ask how actual learning will be measured and expect a report once the learning activity is concluded. If the learning that takes place with attendees need action, make certain that they get the support that is needed to implement the actions in the business. If you encourage professional memberships for key members of the business, the follow-up from conferences and seminars should be to share ideas with other members of the staff.
When you ask employees how to make the business grow, you may be surprised at the answers. Even the fact that you ask them is a boost to morale. Often employees are in a better position to make suggestions for improvement and enhancement of the business than management. Instead of hiring expensive consulting firms to review procedures and methods, listen to the people in the company. One of the benefits that you will gain is assuring key members of your employee roster that they are being listened to. Lack of appreciation and recognition is a problem that often arises in a company. This will not occur in companies where employees are encouraged to share ideas and make suggestions, and those suggestions are implemented.
One of the areas that you can encourage input from employees is by asking for ways to solve problems. Often, some very good suggestions will come from the people that are closest to the issue. For example, if your costs are out of control, ask the staff to identify areas where costs could be reduced and waste eliminated. They may come up with an idea or two that could make a significant difference in solving of the problem. It is important to implement as many of the ideas as possible. If you can do this quickly, the benefits are even greater. You shouldn't stay focused on the negatives though; solve the problems then return to the positive side of doing operating the company.
If you are not able to expand as much as you would like to during economic slowdowns, you can use the time to find out what your employees strengths are. This process involves identifying areas of expertise and matching those abilities with the tasks that need to be done, cross department. You may develop employee interests in ways that are totally surprising to you. When there is an economic slowdown, you might use the light duties as a time to train employees in a different function from what they have performed in the past, not only expanding the employee's skillset, but making them a more productive member of the team.
Put employees to work gathering information about the market. Often, those individuals who work with customers learn facts that will help to better direct your sales efforts. As a single entrepreneur, you can't possibly access all the information that is available to a group of people. Interaction with customers or clients will improve your ability to recognize market trends. Listening to customer gripes and complaints might tell you ways to improve your service or products. If you can fill a customer request by finding an innovative way to use existing resources, it may open up an entirely new market niche. IBM was able to completely reinvent itself as a service organization and develop new revenue streams by listening to both employees and customers.
When there is a need to improve your staffing levels, asking employees for suggestions is a great form of recognition. It shows the current employees that you respect their opinion. Often they will know of someone who you would not have reached otherwise. The knowledge that a current employee's loyalty is praised and used will be a boost to morale. The message of encouragement can be improved by finding and focusing on the existing potential in your staff members. If you can leverage your talent in business you use potential of people who already have company loyalty This will save time and resources in recruiting and training. Consider a bonus for ideas- it's cheaper than finding new staff!
If you haven't already done so, prepare and implement a comprehensive business strategy. This should be a high priority goal for you regardless of the economic time. Writing these goals and strategies is not enough. They need to be known and understood by the staff members who will be utilizing them. In fact, you can leverage your talent pool by involving employees in the creation and implementation of good strategies. They need to know what to do, of course, but they also need to know how they should accomplish the goals.
Use the opportunity to focus employees on the delivery of effective customer service. When employees understand the value and importance of top level customer service policies, they will contribute to business growth. When employees understand the reasons for certain actions or policies, they can use them to make decisions based on that policy description. This gives customers more immediate response to issues which will build customer loyalty.
Employees are a valuable resource for any business. You can tap into the networks that they are part of and use those links in many ways. Expanding name recognition through personal contact and word of mouth is one of the best ways to increase revenue. When you take advantage of your existing resources, you make use of the staff that are already in place in the company. You don't need to go outside to reach the market segments linked to company employees through hobby groups, religious organizations, professional memberships and neighborhood gathering.