Are your profits flat this year despite a bigger marketing budget? Here’s how you can regroup before Q4 with a mid-year operations audit.
So, you’ve installed an elite marketing program, but you aren’t meeting financial projections? Well, there’s one likely suspect – your internal operations.
Find out where your human-capital problems are, so you can implement profit solutions. Consider an internal operations audit.
It can spot typical operational challenges such as dysfunctional supply chains; failures in green-business practices; IT security issues; and unnecessary risks that threaten business disruptions.
Use an internal audit to unearth the problems with 10 strategies:
1. Be respectful of your employees — don’t endanger morale
Many employees get nervous any time a big boss or management consultant suddenly enters their space with a clipboard full of questions.
Treat employees as experts. Be diplomatic. Explain the overall reasons for the audit. First, meet with your leaders and get their feedback then meet everyone individually before considering staff meetings.
2. Encourage your employees to participate in the process
That’s accomplished by active listening with open-ended questions to get information. This isn’t about telling employees what they’re doing right and wrong.
You need to know the realities they face in the operational costs of their daily responsibilities. In addition, they need to know what drives profit to improve cash flow. See who knows about profit drivers and who doesn’t.
The solution: Start creating a partnership with your employees. If employees perceive that a partnership exists, you’ll be closer to achieving the desired results.
3. Make certain you have a distinct, company-wide understanding of all your systems
Employees can’t perform well in chaos. Check to see if you’re employing best practices that include solid operations checklists.
4. Examine everything – don’t be complacent
Don’t omit any area. Check every phase of your business. That includes employee morale. High morale among employees propels profits.
5. Take steps to empower your employees
Don’t be afraid of negative news. Welcome it. You can literally power your brand with employees who aren’t afraid to speak.
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
6. Segue to profitable ideas
Don’t keeping focusing on the problems. Change direction. Instead, encourage discussions for improvement in the challenges.
Ultimately, the goal is to motivate employees to offer profitable ideas, such as properly managing your inventory costs for positive cash flow. Remember, it’s a matter of principles, not finger pointing at personalities.
7. Double down – follow all salient areas and gauge your progress
You’ll need to know the most stubborn issues in order to save time and increase revenue. Your audit should reveal what’s changed and what hasn’t.
Hint: You can increase your business value with five basic business-process optimization strategies.
8. Continue to consider your employees’ perceptions
Not all employees will be on the same page with you for business growth. You can ease the process by dealing with their biggest concern – what’s in it for them – then, they’re more likely to cooperate enthusiastically.
9. Think and act like one of your valued customers
Your audit should consider your customers’ perspectives – what’s working for them, what isn’t and what would solve the issues.
Look for two common problems:
- A supply chain that fails to meet the expected standards of customers.
- A marketing/sales culture that falls short in innovation and responsiveness to your patrons.
10. Be pragmatic and balanced
Often, there’s a tendency to belabor the negatives without focusing enough on the positives. Make sure your reports are balanced.
If you’re not balanced, it will become unnecessarily difficult to market your changes to employees.
From the Coach’s Corner, related information:
8 Strategies When Sales Drop and Costs Cut into Your Profits — If your sales are down and costs are hurting your profits, you’re not alone. The irony is you can do something about it — with these eight tips.
13 Management Tips to Solve Employee Absenteeism — Absenteeism causes migraines for a lot of bosses. Obviously, your company will make healthier profits, if you don’t have an absenteeism problem.
HR Management – 8 Best Practices in Employee Delegation — Delegation is a fundamental driver of organizational growth. Managers who are effective in delegation show leadership. Here are eight best practices.
6 Steps to Implement a Cultural Change for Profits — If your company is lacking in teamwork, morale is poor and profits are weak, chances are you need to change your organization’s culture.
No one so thoroughly appreciates the value of constructive criticism as the one who is giving it.