Do you ever feel like your business moves at a molasses-like pace? If so, you aren’t alone. Most of America’s small businesses have issues as it pertains to efficiency. And in order to break out of this sticky mold, you’ll need to reevaluate your current processes.
5 Sticky Friction Points to Reevaluate
Every business has its own unique dynamic. But by and large, the same common chokeholds prevent organizations from experiencing the level of efficiency they strive for. As you consider your own internal friction, here are some common issues:
1. Poor Communication
Communication is something that nearly every organization struggles with in some capacity or another. But if you study the successful companies that are becoming more efficient as they grow, you’ll discover that almost all of them have found ways to streamline their internal communication. Here are some problems you need to look out for:
- Excessive meetings. Your employees are spending hundreds of hours a year in meetings. And the brutal truth is that only a small percentage of them are necessary. Your overreliance on meetings is killing your productivity.
- Inbox fatigue. Stop CC’ing everybody and their mother! Excessive emails are swamping your employees’ inboxes and keeping them from doing meaningful work.
You can use plenty of solutions to address these problems, but start by looking at SMS software for internal communications. SMS has quick delivery times, nearly 100 percent open rates, and is designed for efficiency.
2. Client Dependence
Overreliance on a single client can create issues with cash flow and possibly put your business at risk of going under. This is one of the bigger problems lurking beneath the surface at otherwise successful companies. And it extends into other areas, too.
“Small to mid-sized businesses are commonly overexposed to a single market, a specific community, one distributor, or a single industry,” Rick Spence writes for Financial Post. “The problem is so widespread because this is the way so many businesses start. You’re supposed to pick a niche and stick with it. But what’s good for a startup doesn’t necessarily work for businesses that want to survive and grow over the long term.”
We’re not telling you to drop a client that’s bringing in revenue, but rather to prioritize revenue diversification moving forward. Better balance will protect the business you’ve worked so hard to build.
3. Ballooning Debt
Debt has a role in business. In fact, debt might be one of your single best resources for growth. (Particularly in a market like this where rates are so low). But too much bad debt can eat up your cash flow and prevent you from leveraging your financial resources to the fullest extent.
Now may be a good time to consolidate some of your debt and pay off any high-interest loans that are preventing you from maximizing cash flow.
4. Strained Partnerships
Partnerships play a huge role in entrepreneurship, startups, and business success. Some partnerships are internal – between two owners – and other partnerships are external – involving third-party groups like suppliers or shipping companies. In both scenarios, strained partnerships can bring operational efficiency to a standstill.
It’s imperative that you treat partnerships with the sensitivity and respect that they deserve. This means addressing issues head-on, respecting the integrity of the relationship, and keeping a long-term perspective. It’s okay to lose the battle, so long as it means winning the war.
5. No Mouthpiece
You might have the greatest product in the world, but you can’t monetize it without an audience. And if you’re 100 percent reliant on paid advertising to get your message out to the masses, you’re in trouble. You have no mouthpiece to talk directly to your target audience.
There are a number of ways to speak to your audience – including via social media or blogging – but everything pales in comparison to email marketing. If you want to speak directly to your audience at all times, building an email list is the way to go. Make this the year that you buckle down and invest in your list. You’ll never regret this decision.
Shift Your Approach for Greater Efficiency
Efficiency doesn’t happen by accident. Friction is the default mechanism of modern business. It’s up to you to fight your way through these chokeholds and identify opportunities for growth. Whether it’s communication, debt, or partnerships, strategic realignment can make your company healthier for the long-term.
Anna Johansson is the founder and CEO of Johansson Consulting where she works with businesses to create marketing and PR campaigns.