This year do you feel poised to take your company to the next level? Have you purposefully forecasted and defined your strategies for taking your company out of its current status? Growing your business is an exciting, fast pace and challenging time. Here are 4 steps you can leverage to kick-start your initiatives and to create a strong, sustainable foundation for moving forward.
1. Re-evaluate Processes to Focus on Value-Add Elements. While reviewing and documenting an existing process, now is the time to identify elements that are value-added. A value-added element of the process includes an activity that the client is willing to pay for or is crucial to preparing the product or service for the marketplace. Conversely, non-value-added elements include steps that have appeared in the process over time, are in place to account for technology deficiencies, or steps that were just badly designed and implemented in the first place. Once the entire process has been divided into value-added and non-value-added elements, the work to design the future state can begin.
2. Avoid Quick Cost-Cutting Tactics. Taking costs out of a business can be deceptively easy to do — at least initially. Cutting low-hanging fruit such as providing coffee in break rooms, consulting services, laying off temporary employees or removing a layer of management can result in considerable savings. However, these savings are often not sustainable. Slowly but surely, decisions will be made by front line employees and managers alike that add costs back into the business. Within short order, many companies find themselves back in the exact same place they were before the costs were cut; only now employee morale has suffered and there is a general resistance or apathy to cost cutting throughout the organization. Instead of periodically launching cost cutting efforts, your company should consider adopting a continuous improvement mindset that focuses on introducing value into every process, not just removing costs. When employees are able to demonstrate that they increased the percentage of value-added tasks in a process, they should be recognized and rewarded.
3. Communicate Your Strategy and Expectations. In a lot of companies you would be surprised to learn that the CEO thinks up a strategy and never tells anyone else. But without a clear strategy communicated and expectations set, how can you test the assumptions on which it rests? How can you modify it over time? To develop an explicit strategy, you don’t need a planning staff or even a formal planning process. All you need to do is write it down and talk about it with your key managers, directors and /or close counselors. One of the fundamental benefits of communicating a strategy is that it creates unity and consistency of action throughout your company. Growth occurs organically and at a much faster pace when every department works toward the same objectives.
4. Be Your # 1 Fan in the Marketplace. When you stay in your office pontificating over product details, admin and minute activities you may progress your business, but you won’t greatly increase your revenue. As the leader of the organization, you are the best person positioned to be out in the marketplace spreading the word about your growth and the new opportunities occurring. Leaving the office and stirring up your network will make a real difference in the long run. This is especially true, if you strategy for growing includes expanding into other markets and forming new strategic alliances.
McLean, Koehler, Sparks & Hammond (MKS&H) is a professional service firm with offices in Hunt Valley and Frederick. MKS&H helps owners and organizational leaders become more successful by advising them regarding their financial, technology and human capital management needs.