For both new and established businesses, there are many best practices that are often overlooked. Once you’ve settled into a routine as a manager, it can be easy to forget some of the critical components of running a successful business. Here are some of the best underused business practices that we wish you were using.
1. Collaborate on content strategies
Having an integrated content strategy is crucial for making the most out of your marketing efforts. Work with your marketing team to identify your target customers and key messages, and ensure that all communications are focused around these goals. Also, be sure to collaborate with the sales team to make sure that your marketing strategies are in line with the needs and expectations of customers, especially as buying trends shift over time.
2. Set goals and measure success
If you’re still not setting targeted and measurable goals for evaluating the success of your business, it’s time to get up to speed. Set targeted, measurable, achievable goals with a specific time limit and measure them using key performance indicators (KPIs) that can serve as benchmarks for your business’s success. These KPIs can be either quantitative (sales dollars, social media conversion rates, revenue growth) or qualitative (customer satisfaction). Regularly measure these KPIs to determine your progress toward business goals, and make adjustments as necessary if it appears that the business is under target.
3. Take advantage of all the functionalities of your business software systems
Instead of simply sticking to the two or three business software tools you use, have your employees explore the different nuances of your software programs to discover what other capabilities it has. By delving deeper into a software system, you may find components that have the potential to increase efficiency, expand productivity and solve essential business problems. Support employees in receiving training on new software systems, so they can serve as office experts and discover new ways to take full advantage of business programs.
4. Encourage innovation
An oft-repeated phrase, particularly in well-established businesses, is “because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Even if a process has been working for your business for many years, there’s still always room for change and improvement. Encourage employees to look for ways to better your businesses systems, and make it a point to ask for suggestions on ways to improve your company at employee meetings. When new hires join the staff, they can offer especially valuable insight on new ways your business can innovate by looking at problems from an outside perspective. Inspire this way of thinking, and reward employees who find ways to make the good, better.
5. Thank your staff and provide opportunities for feedback
A simple thank you can make all the difference in the world for employee morale, but its importance is far too often overlooked. In addition to regularly thanking employees for their hard work, show appreciation through rewards that demonstrate you understand what your employees value. Showing appreciation could come in the form of a one-on-one conversation with a high-performing employee, delegation of more responsibility or a promotion, or providing your team with complementary lunch for a job well done.
Use this conversation as a time to ask employees for feedback on management. By asking for advice while they are being recognized for their hard work, employees will feel more comfortable speaking openly, as they know their input will be valued. Feedback, especially from high performers, is essential for gauging the atmosphere of your workplace and allowing changes to be made as necessary.