KOA – Key Operational Areas of Your Business

by on October 6, 2014

Key Operational Areas of your Business

One of the key operational areas (KOA) of your business should include a cognizant focus on marketing and sales efforts.  They have a direct correlation with one another and can make or break your organization.

A business should start by first assessing the critical issues that the marketing initiatives will solve. What are the goals for our business? What are our strategic initiatives? What are our objectives? How will we get where we need to be via specific marketing tactics and long term strategies? Why are we choosing this route versus another? You can visit business sites to see examples of what is operationally viable to various industries.some of the money

In assessing the operational activities for your marketing team, it’s imperative to think clearly how this will be enacted in a real life scenario.  Putting together an operational marketing map will allow you to identify and elaborate upon each individual area and then, of course, discern how each relates.

As you break down the individual components of your strategy, you will need to pinpoint how you will define success for this activity? Think broadly about the various aspects of delivering this activity that would enable success and clearly define what those steps will be.  That, of course brings us to the next point…

Primary Steps: pinpoint possible initiatives, several actions overall, that will explain how exactly how this plan will play out from one day to the next. As the first step in preparing your operational marketing strategy, this will prepare you for each key action area that follows.  Accordingly, for every action on which you partake, consider how that specific capability will work itself out in the real world.  When you chart out an operational performance workbook, it will enable you to further understand the bits and pieces of each individual piece.  It’s like building a house. You begin with the foundation, plan for each step, and execute. We witnessed a marine contractor who did piling repair in Texas execute this strategy perfect to grow his business into a budding empire.

You must carefully consider the possibilities, expertise and, required application of what human expertise you can provide based on what you will deliver regarding the information that you can successfully deliver to your target audience. Regardless of whether these are your areas of expertise, you need to address these key steps as a necessary initial strategy in deciding where you will need support or need to delegate.   Delegation is an important faucet in undertaking especially as your business begins to grow. This trait will ensure that you are not suffering from strained resources and can continue to provide quality and maintain a consistent level of service.  Accordingly, you should ensure that all relevant employees are skilled at being cross trained in multiple areas of the business. This will also provide you success should you ever choose to exit the business.  It will make creating a logical succession plan a much easier task. You can also contact similar companies to understand the key areas they are tracking.

In continuing to define what is necessary to exploit the key operational areas of your business, look closely at the assessing the operational areas within each individual department of the business.  Carefully assess the various contributors to areas such as finance, marketing, management, operations, customer service, manufacturing, and whatever other areas make up your organization.  Additional blog posts will follow that center around each of these areas specifically. In the meantime, keep in mind that distinctly crafting a plan for each of these areas will be a follow up and necessary step in the process.

It is also necessary to plan for the structure and industry of your specific business or organization.  Are you in banking, retail, or a professional service oriented business? A mom and pop corner store will operate much differently than a mid-sized corporate type law firm.  Regardless of the size and scope, a specific focus on key operational areas and predictors of health will benefit any organization. Similarly, it’s imperative to strategically separate the areas of focus based on your organizational structure as well as the operational objectives and tactics in your business.  For instance, key operational areas for a contractor might include safety management, human capital management, avoidance of waste, or abuse.  There may be specific roles focused on eliminating or monitoring these areas.   Conversely, in a law firm, key operational areas may include client management, follow-up, and client relationships.

Overall, the key operational areas for a business to focus on should take into consideration a number of factors including but not limited to nature of the business, scope of the business, and overall employee enhancement and training.  Direction of the business should also be quantified and described through visual mapping to ensure proper understanding and implementation of any well laid plans.

Considerable work has been put into laying out what key operational areas are in various businesses. A little research can help you lay these out for your business as well. If you are confused or looking for additional help on this topic, be sure to subscribe to our blog to get updates. You can also research additional topics on Google or other search engines.  You can also research how you would rank for various indicators in your general industry by going to a website within an industry similar to yours.

Get with the times, don’t fall behind the crowd, and be sure to invest your time in the planning process. Overall, it should work to benefit, you the owner, you the business, and you the employees by laying out a clear plan of what is expected and how the team will get there.

Rags to Riches – Creating Wealth

by on June 22, 2016

We talk a lot on this blog about business processes, how to be successful; however, the truth is, we all secretly want to follow these stringent business processes in an effort to build our own wealth. Here’s a little inspiration from a video I watched recently on YouTube. What do you think about Nick’s situation… his experiences?  What would you have done in his shoes?

How to Improve Customer Service in Your Business

by on February 29, 2016

Customer Service Main

Customer service, finance, and accounts, human resources, production, administrative support, IT, research and development, as well as marketing and sales are some of the key operational areas of any business. Customer service is particularly important because it has everything to do with providing your clients with a top-notch and more so satisfactory experience. Have it in mind that you’re only in business because of your customers, and so you should go out of your way to make sure that you keep this group of people happy. As a strategy to improve your customer services level in your business today, this article highlights some key strategies.

Improve Customer Services

A.     Sharpen Your Customer Skills

  • First things first – your customer service team should possess the right skills for the job. There are CRM software and dozens of tools that seek to automate customer support. But without a strong, skill-based staff base on the ground, the shortcomings will be evident. So, what are the main customer service skills that you should promote in your team?
  • Empathy and consistency – customers are different. Some are likely to be irate. Others will ask all sorts of questions. Your customer support team should know how to handle all of them and provide a consistently good service. To do this, they’ll also need a lot of patience.
  • Communication – communication is the cornerstone of a sound customer services strategy. Your employees should be able to listen carefully and clearly convey messages to customers. You don’t want people to think they’re getting a discount when they actually are getting a bonus product – those twos are really different things. Positive language should be emphasized, and a cheerful tone should be maintained throughout the organization while addressing customers. At the end of the day, clear communication should help advance your organization.
  • Adaptability – things change, situations come up, customers are different – that’s the typical business scene. That customer that you served jovially last week might come back with a foul mood. Your employees should be able to adapt accordingly and make sure to provide a likable and perhaps uplifting service. To be able to do this, continuous learning is needed. Employees should invest their time and effort to harness their skills.
  • Worth ethics – customers are looking to forge lasting relationships with representatives who can see their problems through to resolution. While doing this, good time management skills are required so that you do not spend a lot of time just serving one customer. It’s important to stay focused on the organizational goals so that you can cultivate the right balance between efficiency and progression.
  • Thick skin – the customer is always right – you’ve probably heard that a hundred times. In the customer care context, this means that you should be able to swallow all pride and accept negative feedback or blame. The customer’s happiness should be kept in mind always.
  • Knowledge – your customers are probably so because they have knowledge of your product. An effective customer support team is able to increase knowledge on the products and services that the firm provides. In order to be able to provide this information, learning is required so that no question will be too detailed for you. But when there’s something you’re not so clear about, you don’t lose anything by saying ‘I don’t know’, and then committing to finding an answer fast.

B.      Look at the Full Picture

Good customer service today, followed by an unsatisfactory performance the following day isn’t going to work. Have it in mind that poor customer service at any point in the lifecycle of your customers can destroy the relationships you have invested so much to acquire. Consistency is key. While it’s important to pay attention to key touchpoint, you also need to be able to take a step back and take a look at the whole picture.

C.      Improve Your Approach

Your employees may have all the knowledge and skills they need to interact with customers. But they also need organizational strategies that will allow them to please clients. Here are a few approaches that work:

  • Get personal – your clients need to feel that they have access to real people, not automated programs and FAQs. Go beyond your automated email responses, leverage social media, and reply to their posts. Publish company photos and employee bios on your website, and let your customers get that real personal feel.
  • Availability – your customers should be able to reach you as soon as they have a problem that you need to address. For instance, consider working late or early when needed. If your business is online-based, hold Skype meetings, or physically meet with some of your local customers. Even publishing a physical address helps enhance trust and drive the point that your company exists off the internet too!
  • Take care of your customers – are you fully meeting the needs of your customers? That’s a key operational question for your support service team! Businesses grow because they are able to build strong relationships with their customers. Consider rolling out a VIP treatment program for your best clients, so that they may feel appreciated.
satisfaction survey

satisfaction survey

D.     Allow Customers to Provide Feedback

No matter how hard you work, you’ll never be able to get ahead of all customer issues. It’s important that you focus on learning the good as well as the bad experiences your customers have firsthand. How do you do this? By allowing people to provide their feedback regarding your business, products or services. Whether you do this through a phone survey, a CRM tool, or just a contact us page, feedback gathering is a great way to enhance your service provision.

Enhancing your customer service is a priority decision. Studies suggest that businesses lose a lot of money when unsatisfied customers sway to the competition. Your existing clientele is highly valuable, and potentially a source for massive repeat business. It’s important that you treat them right, and that starts by deploying a customer services strategy that actually works. The tips provided in this article should get you started on the right footing!

5 Easy Strategies to Increase Operational Efficiency in Your Firm

by on February 29, 2016

Business Operations

In order to remain competitive in today’s enterprise arena, businesses must increase their operational efficiency. That means oiling the key operational areas for maximum efficiency. Since SMEs tend to have limited resources as compared to the Big Brands, it’s important that they pursue certain efficiency strategies in order to be able to reduce costs, enhance customer service, and beat the competition. This article highlights 5 easy tips to get going with high efficiency in your firm.

KOA 1

  • Information Accessibility – one of the best (and easiest) ways to promote efficiency in your firm is to furnish employees with the information they need to do a great job at all levels. Small businesses should have the flexibility to react much quicker than large competitors. Make sure that your company’s network is fast, and that the IT (or other) infrastructure that your business relies on is not letting your team down. Provide the environment and stable resources that your employees need to realize their best performance.
  • Enhance Collaboration – effective collaboration between employees, suppliers, partners, customers and other stakeholders in your business is a great way to increase overall efficiency while at the same time reducing costs. Modern technologies such as video, voice and data facilitate an interactive platform through which seamless collaboration can be fostered.
  • Streamline Communications – without any good communication, performance is likely to dwindle in your firm. Managers and supervisory-level employees should be able to leverage mediums such as email, phones and other channels to communicate fast and easy. Team collaboration tools such as slack.com also make this process easier, as employees can share ideas on a similar project and communicate on the go right from their mobile devices. Adequate infrastructure should also be set up to allow your employees to communicate with customers. Consider installing a Live Chat solution on your website, and leveraging channels such as social media, mobile chat services, etc. to make communication a basic part of your business.
  • Outsource IT Tasks – small businesses usually do not have the financial capabilities needed to hire a fully-fledged in-house IT team. So how do you access those applications and get various technical set ups done? While hiring a local IT expert is a great option, outsourcing is even better! If you need a website or logo done, or some data entry work is taken care of, you can pull it off at minimal cost through outsourcing platforms such as upwork.com. Outsourcing doesn’t mean shipping jobs away from your locality. It is a cool way to allow your employees to focus on productive activities that are centered on the core competencies of your firm. This indeed helps make your business competitive.
  • Increase Employee Retention – if your employees are facing sluggish networks, unclear communication, and other such hurdles, they are likely to get frustrated. Your customers could pick this frustration and lose confidence in your offering. You could also lose highly valued employees. To make sure that this doesn’t happen, ensure that you have the resources and environment necessary for smooth operations.

In addition to these tips, you might also want to master the science of planning. Businesses that fail to plan indeed plan to fail!

Marketing and Sales Strategies That Work

by on February 29, 2016

Internet Marketing

Your marketing and sales strategy can make or break your business. A key operational area, marketing and sales prospecting is a priority for most firms. Statistics suggest that over 90% of all startups fail within their first two years. A big percentage of these fail because they are unable to craft a competitive marketing and sales approach. If you don’t do enough to stand out from your competition, you’ll probably lose your customers to the competition. It’s important that you focus on improving and possibly changing the way you acquire, retain and maintain clients. This article offers a handful strategies that work just fine.

Think Big

Regardless the size of your business, cultivate the mental image that you’re the most successful person in your niche. Try to figure out how much of your time needs to be consumed by typical office work. Are you doing all the little paperwork by yourself? If you want to go somewhere, it’s probably time to do hire someone else to sweat the small stuff while you pursue on big goals. Namely marketing, customer relations, and expansions. In black and white, marketing is a core activity that should be assigned ‘important’ status in your time management board!

Be Different

A big part of marketing has everything to do with standing out from the competition. Think about that restaurant that has your car cleaned while you eat. Or that furniture shop that entertains kids while their parents shop! Isn’t that standing out from the crowd? There are numerous things you can do to distinguish your business from what everyone else is doing. You just need to tap into your creative mind and figure out something based on the needs of your customers, and the demography of your niche. Effective marketing starts with differentiation.

Enhance Relationships

Your existing customers are a powerful marketing arsenal. They can offer repeat business or bring referrals to your firm. Consider creating a database and keeping in touch regularly. You might want to call them during their birthday, send a newsletter, and do just about anything else that’ll make them feel appreciated and keep your business name in their mind!

Hire Top Sales People

If your business is particularly new, this is one of the best strategies you can pursue. Instead of wasting your time on marketing wannabes, hiring experienced sales people can open doors you didn’t know existed. I have seen startups double or even triple their growth rate within months after hiring skilled sales staff.

Set Goals and Monitor

This is more so a strategy that encompasses all the others above. You need to set goals as to what you want to achieve with your marketing. If the aim is to double revenues, your marketing strategy should be pushing you in that direction. Different approaches work or don’t work based on your niche, so it’s important to monitor. Focus on what’s getting the most results, and drop what doesn’t seem to be working. Keep your goals in mind!

These seemingly easy strategies are a great way to spruce up your marketing and sales activities this year.