Top five ways you can turn your business into a well-oiled machine

It is the dream of every business owner to turn his or her business into a successful, efficient ‘well-oiled machine’. However, this can only come about through hard work and commitment to your cause. Knowing how to work hard, however, is a big part of whether a business is able to thrive or not. Here are five top tips to help you turn your business into a successful, efficient organisation with a reputation for excellence and quality service or workmanship. Put simply, it’s all about trust…

Trust yourself

Always remember when you set up your business in the first place and what it is that you want to achieve. The most successful leaders don’t allow themselves to get distracted by too many new ideas at once, or disheartened by failures to the point of inaction or despair. A well-oiled machine needs an efficient, effective operator at the helm, so trust in your business plan, your product or service portfolio, your commercial abilities and ability to prioritise and get the job done.

Trust your team

Even a sole trader will need people around him or her to keep the business going, offer second opinions on decisions, offer feedback and advice on projects and maintain overall morale. Invest in those who are involved in your business to keep them motivated and engaged with your goals and ambitions. Invest in training to refresh or introduce new skills and give them plenty of support around prompt payment of expenses, decent IT support and training, sales and marketing resources and, of course, your own time and energy when required. Build a community around you, which involves your customers and wider audiences, as well as employees and suppliers, to foster the feeling of people being involved in something that’s growing, exciting and here to stay.

Trust your technology

In today’s digital age, the choice and scope of technology for businesses has never been greater. It is well worth taking time to see what’s out there, and to invest well is strong, useful software and technology that will enhance your business’ performance and streamline its operations. One great example is Receipt Bank, which enables anyone who needs to purchase items for the business to scan any receipts they receive directly into their smart device and then transfer the4 data straight to the company’s accounting software. This saves time and effort while reducing the risk of losing paperwork or having piles of paper build up.

Similarly, look at digital project management tools that will significantly reduce the legwork needed in completing projects on time and to budget. Don’t forget your website too – this is one of the most powerful tools you have in terms of gathering sales leads, getting your message out there and building contacts. Make social media work for you too, as this is an area that is changing and developing all the time.

Trust your systems

Talking of technology, a well-oiled machine also relies on all its component parts working effectively at all times. So, don’t be afraid to regularly review your systems to check they are working properly. Do you have the right people working on them for you? Do you need more or fewer resources? Can you automate any of the more repetitive tasks, such as admin, mailshots or invoicing? Always stay on top of your systems and keep a bird’s eye view of your business and its good and weaker areas.

Another key system to get right is your sales provision. Taking time to hire the right sales person, or team of sales specialists is one of the most effective ways, if not the effective to help your business grow and to bring in the customers – and profits – that your machine needs to operate at its very best. Sales people are your representatives out in the world. So, it is worth spending time to get this system right, from the start.

Trust your instincts

Finally, trust your instincts. Whether things are going well and you feel that it’s time to expand, or when you feel that a part of your ‘machine’ isn’t working like it should, you should take action and not let things slide or become complacent. Seek external advice where necessary and have confidence in your own management skills. Trusting your instincts is especially important when it comes to hiring and firing people, as it is as important to find someone that fits your company’s ethos as it is to choose someone who has the right skills and level of qualifications. This is even more pertinent to a small business, where the team could well be forced to work closer together far more often than in a larger concern.

Likewise, choosing what technology and support systems to invest in involves an element of instinct. Only you will know what support your business needs, and the type of software, technology and tools it needs to survive. The best way to start with this kind of choice is to work out what will make the lives of you and your team easier on a daily basis, and how your chosen technology will help remove some of the more routine, even mundane tasks from your to-do list. Leaving your free to follow your instincts regarding business development. And more exciting areas of growth.