This blog has been inspired following a friend’s recent experience with the medical system in the UK. Said friend went in for a routine operation about seven weeks ago. The procedure lasted only five minutes and the recovery was supposed to be a week.
To cut a long story short. She was nowhere near better by the end of that first week. In the past seven weeks she has been back and forth to GP’s, consultants and hospitals, being misdiagnosed. It took four days of waiting in a hospital bed and a lot of pain-relief drugs before they did any scans. As it turned out she needed another operation. I am keeping my fingers crossed that she is now on the path to a full recovery.
As this story unfolded, I despaired at the way things were being run. It seemed such an inefficient use of time, money, medication etc. It got me thinking. How can hospitals - or any business for that matter - afford to be inefficient? And so, I have identified some areas that you might want to look for in your business.
Check if you are running an efficient and profitable company.
Maybe the institution itself has such rigid and old ways of doing things. Just because ‘that’s the way we always do it’, doesn’t mean it is still fit for purpose. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:
1. Bad financial management
Many businesses find themselves running out of money. Cash flow is key for all businesses. How this happens usually falls into one of these categories:
To avoid this, you have to know your figures inside and out. You need to keep an eye on them regularly, so that you can spot dips or downward trends. Make sure that your financial projections are on track. If you see things changing, then something elsewhere may need to change too. Try to stick within your budget. Cut any unnecessary expenses. Always invoice straight away and get paid on time. Where possible set up automatic billing that you can be in control of.
2. Bad Management
Every organisation needs someone at the helm, leading, taking charge. They have to ensure that no matter how big the company is, that the right processes and procedures are in place. The entire organisation should be seamless and efficient. This is true for both the staff and its customers.
For that to happen, there needs to be regular training, communication and policies. Everyone must be on the same page. No one person or department should be the ones doing it all. Every role should work as a cog to help the wheel roll smoothly. There also has to be a single point of authority. Larger companies often appoint department heads and team leaders to make decisions.
So, do you have the right staff in place? Do they do the job with pride, care and attention. Are you paying them what they deserve? Do you offer rewards and incentives? Your staff are your biggest asset, so you need to treat them well. Good management also recognises when they don’t have motivated staff. First you need to address it to see if you are able to change this, otherwise you face the tough task of letting them go. Dead weights can also hinder a company and have devastating consequences.
Can you honestly say that your company is working as efficient as it could be? Do you conduct regular days on the business with staff? Do you ask them how things are, what could be better, what needs to stop, what to introduce? The people on the ground can often find solutions. Do you spend time thinking about what the business might look like in 12 months’ time, or in five years? Be forward thinking, be proactive.
3. Bad customer service
It is surprising to see how many businesses have bad customer service. This could be because of what we have discussed about management and procedures. Yet, without any customers, you wouldn’t have any business. Giving good customer service should come easy. Ask yourself, how would you like to be treated and map that out. Use your common sense. Good customer service doesn’t need to be expensive. If you do get complaints, listen to your customers and put it right fast. Then tell your staff what you have learned from the experience. Explain how you want them to do things from now on, so that you ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Good interdepartmental communication will pay dividends. You don’t want to end up with a bad reputation. Some businesses never recover.
4. Staying up-to-date with technology
Technology covers a wide range of things. Computers, phones, broadband and IT servers. It can also include websites and social media platforms. Whatever it is, make sure that you invest in the best technology and support that you can afford. If all your computers are old and staff are struggling to complete simple tasks, invest in new ones. This downtime could start costing you thousands. Is your website current? Does it reflect your business as it stands today? Is it mobile optimised? If the answer is no to any of these, you need to plan to change this. If you are not active on the right social media channels, you could be missing on potential clients. I know that social media is a hungry beast that needs feeding all the time, but it’s essential to do it these day. Now more than ever you must have an efficient website, that it is mobile and SEO friendly. You need to be active on social media and posting every day (or more). If this is not part of your expertise, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a professional, like us at Perfect Layout Digital Marketing.
Running a business is about always being willing to learn. Things around us are changing all the time. We all will make mistakes. It’s those that carry on doing it, ‘because that’s the way we do it’ will find that they will get left behind. Acting fast and making necessary changes can determine the future of your business.
Regularly check that your business is in good health. If there are signs that things need a reboot, then do something about it before it takes over.