How to Review and Improve Your Business for 2021
We all want our businesses to grow into the vision of success we had for it when starting out but the only way to do that is to review your current performance and find ways to improve it.
Sometimes, we can’t see the wood for the trees and get so bogged down with daily tasks and running the business, that we fail to see ways we can improve on it, or even where we need to!
In this blog, I want to talk through how to review your business, the areas you should be looking at and some improvements you can consider making for continued growth and success.
Assess your core activities within your business
This is about looking at what you actually do – the what, why, where, when and how of each task. So, the first step is to write down each task you do for your business (if you’re struggling to do this, keep a notepad by your desk and jot down the tasks as you do them over a week).
Now colour code each task using a highlighter and separate them into:
Product/service – what you actually do to create what you offer. This might be everything to do with baking if you’re a cake maker or the work you do for your clients as a virtual assistant, etc. List each product or service, and the different tasks you do for each one.
Income-generating – generally sales and marketing, but any task that has the aim of bringing in more money to your business. This might be your social media, SEO, website maintenance, paid ads, creating a sales funnel, discovery calls, etc.
Admin – the background yet essential tasks like getting the accounts done, filing paperwork, paying suppliers, etc.
Now it’s time to get critical. Consider each activity in turn and ask yourself:
- Is this a good use of my time/money or can I make it more efficient?
- Is there a different or better way of doing things?
- Can someone else manage these tasks better than I can?
- Is this really working in terms of sales/marketing?
- Can I save time here by investing in new software or equipment?
Those are just a few questions you can ask yourself (there will be others unique to you and what you do!) but the aim here is to analyse what you’re doing and how effective/efficient it is.
If you feel something is taking you longer than it should, or you know you’re not getting the most out of something, now is the time to change that. Upskilling, new software, outsourcing and new strategies are all ways you could do that.
Refine your business processes
One of the best changes you can make to improve efficiency and productivity is to improve your business processes.
Some examples might be:
- If you accept orders through Facebook, can you create automated messages on your messenger app to answer FAQs or take those orders?
- Changing paper-based forms to online versions
- Creating email templates to respond to questions or issues that arise through your email
- Having a booking system on your website to save time making appointments with clients
- Using a receipt capture app on your phone to save time on bookkeeping
There are many ways you can tweak and change how you do things to make it easier for you and put that saved time to better use within your business. You can read more about how to make your business a success with the right processes in place in my blog on the topic.
Review your financial position
Understanding the money that’s coming into your business and what’s going out is important. Not only to make sure you have enough income to cover your outgoings but to see where there may be problems and any potential for improving things.
I do have a blog taking a deeper look at how to review your business finances so I’m not going to go into too much detail for now, but here’s a summary of what’s involved.
- Make sure your accounts are up to date and accurate
- Spot trends in your finances over the past few months and year
- Analyse and tweak your expenses
- Find ways to improve your income
- Review your budget regularly
I know it sounds like a lot to do and it certainly helps to have a friendly accountant or bookkeeper involved with your business to help, but it’s not essential. Taking the time to sit down with your figures and establish what’s happening is always a sensible idea because it gives you the knowledge to fully understand what’s going on, and that can give you the information you need to improve and grow your business.
Conduct a market analysis
Remember when you started your business, and you spent a long time researching your market and target audience? You figured out if there was a demand for what you had to offer, who would be interested in buying it, what your competitors were up to you and how you could position yourself to make sales.
When was the last time you did that?
You might be surprised to hear that it’s an activity you should carry out fairly regularly, even if what you do and the problem your product or service solves doesn’t change, because the market is always changing.
There are many factors that can affect the market, particularly how and what they buy. A good example is 2020 – events of that year forced many to turn to online shopping which meant traditional brick and mortar stores had to quickly switch to eCommerce or lose out.
The same problem(s) exist, and the same people are buying to solve those problems, but how they buy and the choice they have now has changed.
If you haven’t analysed the market in which you operate recently, this should definitely be something you look at sooner rather than later. There may be new opportunities open to you now that weren’t there before, or your customers are looking to different places for what you have to offer.
Create a strategy to improve your business
With the information you’ve collated from the steps outlined above, now is the time to create an improvement strategy and grow your business!
You should have identified a mix of positives and negatives.
Of the things that are going well for you – how can you build on this? Can you do more of the same? Can you put more money into it for better results? Can you use the same strategy/resources elsewhere?
For the aspects of your business that aren’t going so well, what can you do to improve?
Can you tweak your business processes to streamline your tasks and invest time elsewhere in your business?
Can you outsource some tasks to a skilled freelancer who can get better results?
Can you reduce your outgoings to recoup some revenue to spend elsewhere, like on marketing and lead generation?
Don’t worry if you can’t spot anything you can easily change. Consider talking to an accountant, business adviser, or marketing consultant for help. Many offer a range of services for all budgets and even an hour of their time could give you some fantastic advice to help you improve your business.
With that in mind, why not give me a call for a free consultation on how I might be able to help your business through improved business processes and implementing the right software and tech to save you time and money.