I’ve worked for a number of different industries…. banking, government, automotive, utilities to name but a few…. But the overriding activity I’ve been involved in has been systems implementation and continuous improvement.
I hate waste… I just think that if you can do something easier, faster, cheaper etc why wouldn’t you…. And once someone has been in business a couple of years, you can bet your bottom dollar that there are improvements to be made.
At the beginning
You start your business and you use all the free systems…
Then you start to become more successful, you get busier
You add systems piecemeal as your business grows …
You duplicate stuff.. add information onto your email list, copy and paste it into your sales funnel, then use that information to create an account in your invoicing system..
You feel it should be easier.. but aren’t sure where to start… so you keep on doing the same old things
Maybe even take on a Virtual Assistant so you can build your business, and believe me, I’m not saying you shouldn’t outsource the stuff you hate or haven’t got time to do… I really do think that outsourcing your day to day operations could be the best thing you ever did… but its not the only answer!
You should also be taking some time out to REFLECT on what you’re doing. Look at your customer journey and understand where the value is at
If it isn’t something the customer is willing to pay for… ask yourself why are you doing it
Is it because its key in getting paid
Or is it just because you’ve always done it that way?
Why not take a step back and review what you’ve been doing, how your business is growing and what you need to change to make your business even more successful…
And I know its hard, I’ve been there myself. Everything is ticking along okay.. You think things could change, but you’re so busy being IN the business that you haven’t got time to reflect ON you business.
Value stream mapping
Why not try a lean production technique… Value stream mapping. It originated from the Toyota production system and I first came across it when I worked in automotive. We got a new production line supplying Toyota and they used to come in regularly to understand what we were doing to improve our processes and become more cost efficient. Partly so we could pass on cost savings to them, but also because they believed in supporting their supply chain.… The methodology is all around how you can improve, how you can become more efficient and try to do more, with less..
And why not use it in your online business. Especially if you’ve been in business a few years… you’ve automated stuff and have tons of activity going on
The FIRST step is to take all of the main activities you do in your business from marketing through to after sales and jot them down on post-it notes
Take one of those activities and brain dump EVERYTHING you do to manage that part of your sales funnel… and I mean EVERYTHING! Include systems, manual tasks, checking information, waiting for things etc.
The NEXT step is to identify which of those tasks the customer actually pays for … I.e goes into the production of the product or service you provide. These are your value-add (VA) activities
THEN look at those activities that the customer doesn’t pay for (as such), but you need to do to maintain/build your business… I.e. marketing activities, invoicing the client, transportation, mobile phone and internet costs etc. These are your necessary non-value adding (NNVA) activities.
Anything that doesn’t fall into these 2 camps are non-value adding (NVA) activities, such as producing things no one buys, duplicating data because your systems don’t talk to each other, waiting for stuff to happen…. Etc etc etc..
And you NEED to STOP these as soon as possible.
Identify why you are doing them….
Is it something you were doing at the beginning, but it no longer needs doing.. I was told a story a long time ago, about a guy who dropped supplies every week to this island… then one day someone questioned it.. and the project that he had been commissioned for had ended years earlier.. but no-one had thought to tell him.. and because he was still getting paid for it, he hadn’t asked why the stuff was still there!
Ask yourself, whether its something the industry does, so you feel you should do it to… even though it doesn’t add any value.. why not get together with some of your peers and ask them why… if you get enough support the change could snowball!
Perhaps its just because your system isn’t intuitive.. You work in your office, but your materials are in the building across the street. You’ve produce great programs, but never sell them. You get distracted by social media and find the morning has gone..
DO something about it NOW!
Just stop doing it, update the system so you don’t have to do it. Implement a system that stops you having to do it.. whatever you need to work SMARTER not HARDER 😉
Why not take some time out during this “quiet period” and do just that.. and feel free to contact me if you want me to talk you through any of this in a bit more detail