Make 2015 more productive and profitable

February is upon us already so that means one twelfth of the year has gone up in smoke, never to return. Was your January productive? Was it profitable? There are many skills required to be a commercial business owner and changing the way you operate from time to time can help you and your team to be more productive within your business environment and in turn run a tighter ship to be more profitable.

You know how to spin plates, right?

As a commercial business owner, I am confident you know only too well the process of having to juggle many tasks at once. It becomes a fine art and one that not everyone does well. The typical scenario of firefighting the day-to-day tasks that land on the desk can impact real operational productivity. By streamlining core business activities though, more time and energy can in fact be refocused on the main aim of the game – making profit.

5 key business areas with opportunities to improve

• Planning • Systemisation • Delegation • Communication • Investment

Opportunity 1: Planning

All commercial businesses need targets and goals and the overall business direction needs to be planned, properly, by the business leader/s. Ideally, a business leader/s should be taking a day away from operations every month to plan the months and year ahead. This involves reflection, adaptation and change as well as mapping out the process to ensure results will be achieved. There is of course short term planning too. Try when reviewing daily tasks to always prioritise on the basis of what is most important in fulfilling business objectives, not necessarily just what is deemed as urgent.

Opportunity 2: Systemisation

The key to releasing hours of time within your business day is systemization. Hours which are saved from not duplicating tasks and from getting tools, systems, processes and technology to do the work for you. Granted, it takes a bit of setting up but once it is in place, you can again refocus your attention on developing the business in other areas. These should be in place, at the very least: • Scripts for any standard emails, letters and phone-calls and any process carried out regularly. • Spreadsheets for anything that needs tracking that you don’t have a more sophisticated system in place for. Client database, project task list, business KPI’s, and your potential customer list are examples. • A bookkeeping and financial reporting system that records income and expenses in a time efficient way Figurit offer FREE accounting software to all small commercial clients for income and expense entry. This can save hours of time and produce easy to read reports on monthly profit performance.

Opportunity 3: Delegation

Delegation is difficult and rarely do business owners have this skill completely nailed. Effective delegation takes years of practice and the key involves an open mind to allow other people to take the reigns around a task whilst you still retain responsibility overall. The reasons people are poor at delegation are often due to one or all of the following: “Someone else will never be able to do the job as well as me” “I don’t have time to explain to someone else how to do it” “The client only likes to deal with me” “I don’t like to ask someone to do this menial task” Delegation keeps work flowing through the system and ensures the person with the right level of ability is working on the tasks they should be. Remember, when delegating: • Give clear instructions, explaining background information • Delegate, don’t abdicate – keep an eye on things through the process • Ensure the person has the necessary skills for the job Before starting any task or project, think, “am I the best person to be doing this and can my time be better spent on something else”.

Opportunity 4: Communication

Poor communication is often apparent in businesses of any shape and size, but it tends to be the bigger the business the bigger issue with communication. Regular updates with your team on how the business is performing, what new projects you have on the horizon and just general time together to catch up and discuss ideas can work wonders for building moral and motivation. If you don’t already hold a team meeting, then introduce a weekly 30 minute get together, which could upscale to daily if results are positive. Also, regular one-to-one appraisals, where your employees can share thoughts, ideas and concerns with you, are vital. This could be the missing piece of the jigsaw in gelling your team together.

Opportunity 5: Investment

Businesses often need a little boost of time or money to progress them to the next level. If your business is running at a good profit, consider investing some of this back in to oil the wheels of the engine. This could be expanding your team, perhaps a new sales person to work towards reaching a new income and profit level. Always aim to keep up to date with new technology and equipment that can ultimately make your operations more efficient and productive. Figurit work with many London based commercial business owners and these are areas we see limiting business potential time and time again. We will cover these in more detail over the coming months on our blog and newsletter. T: 020 7376 9333 E:

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