By Donna Smith
Most of us accept the idea that we routinely MOT our vehicles, service our central heating boilers or other equipment and even give ourselves a check over every once in a while, but what about our businesses?
When you are running your own business, the day to day focus is understandably on delivering your services/products and your business grows and evolves over time and you settle into your processes like a comfy arm chair. What probably never gets thought about or keeps getting put to the bottom of the to-do list though is finding time and a clear head to review whether things are being done in the most efficient and effective way. When's the last time, for instance, that you considered whether there is any waste or duplication in your processes? Have you considered how much time (and therefore money) is wasted effort costing your business?
If we take a simple example of entering a customer address, you might say it only takes 10 seconds to do, but if you are having to repeat that 10 seconds across three different systems and you are doing it 100 times a week, you are effectively throwing away 33 minutes a week with nothing gained. If you're duplicating other information in the same way, that time can very quickly add up to several hours.
Similarly, how sure are you that the system you are using to support your business, whether that be a spreadsheet or some software, is actually doing the best job possible for you? Good, fit for purpose software, should be helping you conduct your business in some way and not just be there to store information. For instance, is your software helping automate any routine tasks, sending you reminders when things are needing done or followed up, or telling you any information about how your business is really performing? Having the wrong software in place could not only be costing you time, but could even be costing you opportunities.
Every business should consider building time in periodically to review in this way, it could be all that is needed to spark some real improvements saving the business time, money and perhaps some stress, picking up any minor advisories that could develop into major issues if not dealt with. In some ways too, it is even more important than ever at present as we all adjust to new ways of working. There may be opportunity and indeed, necessity, to change to cope with a much more online way of working than ever before.
So, finding time to consider all this can be hard enough but the other problem is, you may have no idea how or where to start looking at any of the issues above and that's what we do here at Thystle every day. We cast a fresh pair of eyes over what businesses are currently doing, we challenge your comfy processes that you do because you've always done it that way, and leverage all of our experience across different business types to advise you on what can be done in terms of process improvements and the systems that are out there that can help.
We developed our SME MOT specifically to provide businesses with a basic health check for little outlay on these key themes and provide advice on what to do next. At the end of our MOT, the customer gets a report highlighting the key findings which may be anything from minor process changes that can be made immediately up to recommendations for a larger scale change such as introducing new software. By offering a fixed, low cost product, just like a car MOT, we deliver some sound, practical advice and the business can then decide what, if anything, they want to do with any recommendations made by us.
So, in closing, we return to the title of this blog.......when did you last MOT your business? If the answer is not within the last year or so (or ever!) then perhaps it's time to consider taking that first step and see what improvements you can realise for your business today.
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