How to Become a LEAN, Mean Profit Machine.

Tackling 7 Key Small Business Challenges.

There are only so many hours in the day.  The trick is making sure you are using them in the way to drive success in your business.  It is hard to make time to take a step back and take a clear-headed look at your business but here are a few areas that it really pays to look at.  Best of all, you may well qualify for funding for a professional to help you do it – read on to find out more.

1. Have opportunities to grow but struggle to find the cash to seize them.

Unlock the value already in your business by homing in on exactly what the customer wants to pay for and ruthlessly addressing any activities that are not creating that.

This can look like finding inefficiencies in processes, cost reduction programmes or streamlining stock management to find the right balance to support your business.  By addressing these problem areas, cash is freed up that can meet immediate needs in paying suppliers and staff but also in allowing you to forecast to fund investment.

2. Wearing all the hats and spinning all the plates.

Small business management is a rollercoaster ride as you push to grow the business and constantly adjust to the changing demands of the business and the environment it operates in.  Having another pair of eyes look at your business with you can really help see the wood for the trees and help prioritise your plan of attack.  Not just any eyes either – someone who cares, with years of experience on both sides of the desk and is up to date with the latest best practices.

3. Meeting and beating the competition.

Finding the unique selling points of your business and turning it into a lean, mean delivery machine for customer value is the surest way to stay a step ahead of others in your sector.  Do you know how you measure up?  Do you know why you win the business you do and why you miss out and what slips by?

4. Getting the message out and the customers in.

It is one thing to get your operation humming, but if nobody knows that yours is the best there is, the business will not grow as it could.  Developing a systematic approach to your sales and marketing processes so they are baked-in into your regular business activities can really help ensure the sales pipeline is sustained.

5. Data-Driven Decision Making: From Blindfolded to Bold

Do you really know how your business is doing?  Focussing on just the bank balance, waiting until the year-end for a full overview, not counting your stock regularly, unclear as to whether you are meeting your targets (or indeed setting targets in the first place!) are all alarms that you might be taking a shorter-term view of your business.  The first step to getting to where you want to be is knowing where you are now and taking prompt action to course-correct when needs be.  Even more crucially in a small business, it allows you to plan so you can be in a position to seize the opportunities that come your way without jeopardising what you already have.

6. “It’s all in Jimmy, Johnny or Mary’s head”.

You may well have a highly efficient and effective operation. It might well run like clockwork.  However, if the activities necessary to make this happen are all in the head of owner or key staff member, the first step to preparing your business to grow to the next stage is to extract the magic ingredients of your process and document them in a way that allows others to step in at times. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it’s crucial to preserve your business’s knowledge and adapt it as you grow.

7. Which superhero are you?

Here’s a conundrum you might face. You’re the driving force behind your business, proud of what you’ve accomplished.  However, you’re running on fumes and barely have time to breathe, let alone tackle the challenges we’ve discussed. Sure, you might have a team, but everyone’s stuck in their own groove. Maybe, it’s time for a little shakeup.  If you can tap into the power of your team in the right way, your business can become greater than the sum of its parts. Without a forum for ideas to flow and be put into action, those amazing insights often never reach your ears. Imagine the possibilities if you create a space for your staff to contribute and shine. It’s not just about being better together; it’s about freeing up your time to lead and manage more effectively.

Lean management for small businesses is a game-changer. It originated in the manufacturing world but has since spread its wings to various industries, from healthcare to professional services, transportation to retail. It’s all about maximizing efficiency, reducing waste, and continuously improving processes. But here’s the best part: Lean for Micro, a funding program from your local LEO, can help you tackle these challenges head-on. Reach out to me to see if you qualify and how I can support you.

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