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    6 Replies Latest reply on Dec 18, 2007 3:11 PM by Generation4

    Share your tips to improve operational efficiency of SB

    dancingdesert Newbie
      Profit equation has two components - revenue and costs. Improving operational efficiency(OE) can help boost revenues and reduce costs.

      It would be great if folks could share their experience in improving thier business's OE, i.e., how to minimize time and cost to perform a repetitive task, how best to use a specific technology, such as customer relationship management software, etc.

      Please describe nature of your business briefly, so others can learn how to adapt your tip to their own environment. Thanks.
        • Re: Share your tips to improve operational efficiency of SB
          LUCKIEST Guide

          I am a Quickbook consultant and also a SCORE Counselor.

          7 Steps to Small Business Success

          1. Start Smart
          2. Plan Ahead
          3. Set up Systems
          4. Seek out Sales
          5. Aim for Growth
          6. Leverage Opportunities
          7. Plan Your Exit



          1. Start Smart.
          Identify a niche. Don't compete to be the lowest cost provider. Look
          for what makes your product or service unique and adds a special value
          for the client and charge for that value. Every business has many
          facets. Start with what you know and like; start a business that has
          meaning to you. Keep in mind that we don't know what the future holds,
          many of the jobs and businesses of tomorrow don't exist today. You can
          create your own success.


          Now is the time to dream. To start smart, you should like the idea of
          the business. The way to earn a good income and build wealth is by
          serving clients well, making their life better in some way-it's more
          than filling a need in the marketplace. To succeed you want to test the
          idea to make sure your potential clients like the idea too. Test your

          2. Plan Ahead.
          People often ask me why bother with a business plan? Look at the
          lottery as an example. You may get lucky and get the winning ticket,
          but the odds are against you when you rely on random chance. I'm a risk
          taker...but not that much, minimize the risk of going into business and
          maximize your potential for success. Take the time to write a plan of
          how you get from point A to point B. A plan gives you a clear future
          focus and increases your chances of success.


          The first rule of a start-up is put some of your own money in the
          business. As the owner you must be willing to capitalize the business.
          The second rule is put as little of your own money as possible in the
          business. Prepare your plan and look for funding for your business from
          multiple sources, which can include a business loan or business line of


          Don't go it alone. Plan ahead now to build your team. Your team may
          include a CPA and an attorney that you work with as needed. Add a
          mentor from your industry and get a SCORE mentor to help you plan for
          success. No one has all the answers. You get more ideas and information
          by building a success, support team that can help you plan ahead.

          3. Set up Systems.
          The most basic system every business should have is a good financial
          system. Ask yourself how am I going to generate enough income to
          support myself and my family. Begin here. Put together a personal
          budget, so you know what it costs you to live. Now, you can move on to
          the business budget and sales planning, so you can see how many sales
          you need to break even and make a profit. The start-up expense plan,
          operating budget and your accounting software are vital to your



          4. Seek out Sales.
          The daunting question is how do you go about seeking out your first
          sale. Recognize that since you don't have a big ad budget to be seen by
          everyone, you need to target a niche and get connected in your market
          community, be it local, regional or national. You need other people
          selling for you-not employees-goodwill referrals. Get out and talk to
          as many people as you can. Join organizations that would have clients
          for your product or service. Become a visible part of your market, and
          then ask for the sale. You begin the sales process with people that you
          know. Yes, it's okay to start with friends and family as your first
          customers, and then broaden from there.



          5. Aim for Growth.
          The basic tenant of creating a company is that you own the company. You
          are not just creating a job for yourself. It's less risk and less
          investment to get a job. Building a business is creating a company that
          is more than the job itself. Think about the future. How large do you
          want the company to be in terms of sales, net profit and employees?
          Your answer to each of these questions will influence how you grow.
          There are varying costs and profits associated with growth. It's
          important to make a deliberate choice early about how you want to grow
          your company.



          6. Leverage Opportunities.
          Good luck. Good fortune. Good timing. All play a part in business. As a
          business owner, be very clear about your core focus for the business
          and how it serves clients. Your core business is what pays the bills.
          Then, as an entrepreneur you are about opportunity. When you see a
          potential opportunity or stroke of luck measure it against your core
          business focus. Good fortune is great, when it matches your vision for
          the business. Always consider if a good opportunity is the right fit
          for your business. If something looks great, but it's not in sync with
          your long-term plan and budget, think carefully before committing your
          company's resources.


          Take advantage of good opportunities that make sense for you long term.
          A perfect example is McDonalds. Ray Krock started a small business that
          became a large franchise network with a consistent product, consistent
          systems and an ability to seize opportunities such as the Arch card and
          offering healthy salads to meet the interests of today's consumers.

          7. Plan Your Exit.
          Someday you may want to sell your business or retire from business.
          Today, ask yourself what's next? How can I have an asset in the future
          that someone will buy? If you are going to sell someday, you have to
          have something to sell-a plan, vision, business on the books, equipment
          and systems. Whether you have been in business for one week, one year
          or 15 years-look ahead to what the business itself will be as an asset.
          Your business has value, value you are creating today. To sell or
          distribute equity in the business you need to have it down on paper and
          keep good financials. Know the worth of your business, so you can know
          the value it can bring to your future wealth and/or retirement.

          • Re: Share your tips to improve operational efficiency of SB
            DomainDiva Ranger
            If there is ONE thing I can pass along it is: Train your people in your processes and procedures. Define HOW YOU want things done and make sure they are done that way. If someone has a better idea..incorporate that; but make sure processes and procedures are consistent and utilized each and every day in running your business.
            • Re: Share your tips to improve operational efficiency of SB
              Generation4 Adventurer

              Thank you everyone for sharing such great tips.