Is it possible that your business processes are actually preventing your business from reaching its full potential? It's likely. Many business owners struggle to scale their businesses. Not because the potential isn't there, but because they have outdated business processes, including old, legacy systems and challenges in the sales cycle, that prevent them from achieving those critical goals.
If your business is struggling through a period of transformation, or you're simply looking to optimize so you can grow, these unscalable business processes--many of which are hard to see on the surface--could be the reason for your challenges.
Here are important business processes that could be preventing your business from scaling.
Technology is changing at the speed of light--and so are the needs of your customers. Today's customers expect a high standard of customer service and personalization every time they connect with your business. Whether they're looking for the latest office flooring or interested in marketing services.
Your legacy systems may not provide the high degree of service those customers have come to expect. They may slow you down, leave you struggling to pull together the information you need, or even lead to unnecessary downtime. Worse, those legacy systems often do not integrate well with your new technology. This means you may have knowledge gaps in your understanding of your customers and their needs--and what you can offer them.
Part of your business processes needs to include updating your legacy systems so that you can move forward into a new era. Look for technology solutions that will fit the new needs of your business. Not solutions that will leave you behind the times and struggling to keep up.
Whether you're pitching to investors or pitching to prospective clients, it's critical that you have a short, meaningful pitch that will show them exactly what benefits your business can offer and why they should connect with you. You're busy. Your clients are busy. Your investors are busy. They have high demands on their time and energy. They don't want to spend a long time sitting down with you and listening to the advantages of your product or service. Often spelled out in detail that they won't need until they decide to either invest or make a purchase.
Not only that, unnecessarily long pitches may cut your time and make it more difficult for you to keep up with the demands of your business. Why waste time putting together a long, detailed pitch when you could, instead, put together a short presentation or document, then connect your prospects with content that you may already have put together--including content that is already on your website or hosted on your social media pages?
The longer it takes to complete a sale, the more time you have to spend with each lead. That means significant challenges for your business as it grows. First and foremost, it unnecessarily increases customer acquisition costs. This can leave you struggling to continue to grow and transform your business. Second, it can leave you with unnecessary obstacles as your business grows and scales.
Some sales cycles are simply longer than others. When it comes to large-scale businesses making large deals and investments, it simply takes time to make a decision. Not only do you need time to develop a rapport and build trust with your leads, who need to know that your business is the best solution for this specific need, but there are also many internal processes that go into determining whether your solution is the right one for the business and ultimately gaining approval to make a purchase. That sales cycle may naturally extend longer than the cycle you would find in a retail environment. This is where customers come in deliberately to make a purchase.
However, it's important to take a look at your sales cycle and determine whether it is unnecessarily long. Creating delays could prevent your business from growing as fast as necessary.
You're an entrepreneur. In the early days of your business, you likely wore many hats and filled a multitude of roles. Some days, you might even have felt as though you barely left the office!
As your business scales, however, you may no longer have the means to provide all of those services on your own. Your expertise is in your industry and, in many cases, in business in general. As your business scales, many of the facets associated with dealing with your customers scale along with it. Your accounting will become increasingly complex. Your IT needs--from cybersecurity to networking--will grow. Keeping up-to-date on those skills will take your time and attention away from your other tasks. Often leaving you struggling to focus on the elements of your business that you do best.
If you truly want to scale your business processes and remove any potential obstacles to growth, make sure that you:
Look for talented individuals who have the skills necessary to fill those roles. Hire for soft skills and a great personality fit for your team, not just the hard skills you need. Don't underestimate the value of training a team member who has the right soft skills and a great overall fit, but who may not have the specific hard skills that are necessary to complete a specific role as a member of a larger team. Learn exactly what you need from your employees, then hire for those specific attributes.
There are a lot of services that you can take care of in-house. Many services, however, can be outsourced instead. And often, outsourcing those services will provide you with a higher standard of service at a lower cost. When you choose to outsource, you get:
By outsourcing vital services that do not fit within your company's reach, you'll often find that your employees can focus more fully on the vital tasks that make up your daily business day--and ultimately provide better service for your clients and a better environment for your employees.
As an entrepreneur, you're used to having your fingers in every aspect of the business. You're good at a lot of different things, and you have opinions about a lot of the aspects of running your business.
You also can't be everywhere at once--and you may find yourself burning out quickly if you try to do it all. While you want to provide a great example for your employees--a top-down model in which upper-level management showcases their willingness to dive in and work can go a long way toward improving overall company culture--you don't want to take on so many tasks that you will burn out or, worse, not give your best to the tasks in front of you. Instead, practice delegating. Get to know your team members and what they're good at, then assign them the tasks that fit their specific skill sets. Often, you'll find that they're able to provide more innovative solutions that can help take your business to the next level.
From the time a job comes open to the time you finally have an individual filling that role, how long does it take to hire a new team member for your company?
Is your hiring process slowing you down and serving as an obstacle to your business's growth?
Hiring a new employee can take anywhere from a few days--most common in industries with high turnover or that require relatively unskilled labor--to four months. Sometimes, you may find that it takes even longer. You have to post the job, leave a window for accepting applications, go through the applications, and move employees through your interview process. Then, you have to onboard new employees--which may mean even more time before employees can move into a position of responsibility in your business, where they can accomplish everything they need to according to their job roles.
A long hiring process may have several key disadvantages to your business processes as a whole.
While you cannot remove every potential barrier that could slow down your business processes, there are several steps you can take to reduce the amount of time it takes you to bring a new employee on board.
As your business grows, many of your business processes need to change in order to adapt to your new needs--not to mention your customers' new requirements.
By avoiding these five key obstacles in your business processes, you can grow your business more effectively. Want to discover how I scaled my business from 6 to 8 figures and was able to get out of the day-to-day so I could focus on being a Visionary CEO? Check out this webinar or contact us today to learn more.