As you know, your business is unique, and that’s one of the key reasons why your customers buy from you, your investors invest in you, and your employees stay.
Despite your uniqueness, understanding your similarities with your competitors — and making the most of them — will save you money (profitability), help build scalability (sales growth), and reduce your dependence on key people/vendors (sustainability).
What does profitable, sustainable growth equal? That’s right: solid company value and improved quality of life for the owner.
One of the ways to take advantage of your similarities is to understand some fundamentals of optimizing business processes and improving reporting.
Yawn. I get it, but that yawn will take you to the bank. Two things to keep in mind:
- Business owners often think that automation will hurt their business.
- They’ll say, “We give our clients personal attention, and automation is not compatible with that.”
- Here’s the deal: If you automate overhead tasks (invoicing, reporting, analysis, etc.), you will increase profitability (less overhead), improve sustainability (less dependence on key people), and improve scalability (more can be done with fewer people).
- If anything, automating the flow and use of information in your business will enable you to focus more personal time on your clients, not less.
- Having said that, here are a few caveats:
- Approach custom application development with caution. I’m not saying don’t do it – for example, custom algorithms to manage your service delivery may give you a great competitive advantage.
- If the person you have managing a process improvement initiative insists on the need for custom development, have him demonstrate that off-the-shelf solutions won’t satisfy requirements.
- You’re often better off using an off-the-shelf solution and tweaking your processes to accommodate it.
- Yes, you will still be dependent on a vendor, but you’ll have a tested, validated, documented, and maintained application where the costs are distributed through the entire client base.
- That’s a big benefit for your profitability and your sustainability.