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Operations consulting

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Business operations consulting services you can count on

To my dear friends who believe they are “anti-process”, let’s do a quick exercise to determine if that’s really true:

Imagine you need to get your car fixed by bringing it to a garage. Your usual garage is booked solid for the next 4 weeks, so you go to the small humble garage down the street, Anti-Process Auto Body. They don’t have a website or even a directory listing online so you can’t find its phone number…you finally decide to walk to the shop as it’s only a couple blocks away.

You enter the garage and there doesn’t appear to be a service counter so you awkwardly stare at the mechanics as they continue to work for the next few minutes. No one comes to talk to you, so after 10 minutes you finally interrupt a mechanic working under the hood of the car.

“Hello sir, I’m sorry but who do I talk to about getting my car fixed?” The mechanic shrugs their shoulders and continues working.

You see an office in the corner of your eye and decide to go in there to see if you can get some service. The man at the desk seems shocked to see you. The conversation goes a little like this:

You: “Can you help me get my car fixed?”

Man: “Uh, well maybe, what do you need?”

You: “I thought you could help me answer that.”

Man: “Leave your car here and maybe it will get serviced.”

You: “Maybe?”

Man: “We let the mechanics decide what cars they work on each day.”

You: “Why would you do that?”

Man: “Well, that’s the way we’ve always done things.”

 

If you are still “anti-process” then this is the perfect garage to get your car fixed.

What are business operations?

Business operations are the activities we complete to run our businesses in order to:

  • Communicate crucial information to employees, customers and prospects
  • Develop defined roles for employees
  • Execute on new ways to generate business revenue
  • Develop processes that complete client work in a timely manner
  • Invest and implement equipment and tools within the businesses’ means

I don’t care how good a salesman you are, if you don’t fulfill a client’s order they will eventually become irate. No-one likes to pay for something and receive an inferior product or service to what they were promised. Improving communication is one of the biggest opportunities for any business. This can be a real challenge since the larger your business grows, the harder it is to communicate effectively through the company.

A business like Anti-Process Auto Body has likely taken its sales for granted by not considering how to provide the best experience for its customers. At the end of the day, anything to keep your business on the tracks and make it bigger, faster and better falls under the realm of business operations.

What is operations consulting?

Operations consulting is when a third-party contractor or agency assists a business to help reach the client’s goals. 

A consultant can help a business in many different ways and best practice is to focus on the most important goals to the business owner first. If you bite off too much too soon, you can face employee burnout or resentment. 

The job of the consultant is to develop and implement new solutions to help your business thrive.

Why does my business need operations consulting?

You may be wondering why your business might need an operations consultant. It’s a valid question, as no-one knows your business better than you. Review the main reasons an organization might need operations consultant services to see if your business could use some assistance.

Unless your business is purely your hobby, then sales are very important to your business. Business doesn’t just show up at your doorstep, so how do you develop a way to get a constant stream of prospects and clients purchasing your products or services?

The answer is pipeline management

Pipeline management is an internal system that evaluates your incoming leads and current clients. With most product-based businesses, the process must be well-defined and quite speedy, whereas timelines for services can vary greatly by the type of work. You should be constantly evaluating how much business is coming in and out of your organization to start determining if your pipeline process is efficient or not.

Are you falling behind on your deadlines?

This isn’t an uncommon problem for any business as there is a constant stream of variables that can affect your business operations. Your role as a business leader is to mitigate as many as possible. As new challenges arise, you should not only plan for solving them today but ensuring they don’t ever happen again by implementing a better process.

Our team of operations consultants can work with your business to develop a systematic process to better estimate completion dates, communicate client needs to employees, and add cost-effective technology to become efficient.

Every business has angry customers no matter how well it is run but when it becomes an every week (or every day) occurrence, it might be time to look at your business and make some changes.

The reason people say “the customer is always right” is because of the essential role that revenue plays within your organization. To keep your business alive, you have to sell much more than you spend. You need to attract people to spend their money with you to fulfill a specific need. Don’t underestimate how difficult this step is. To be successful, you want to make your business practices customer-centric. Every single decision you make should be assessed for how it will impact your clients. 

Most businesses want more customers so they can grow (obviously), but how do you get more? The cheapest strategy is the one that also has the highest conversion rate, word of mouth. It’s important to remember that providing exceptional customer service is an easy way to get people to shout your business’ name from the mountain tops.

When people look at the greatest coaches in the history of sports there seems to be something in common, they are all great motivators. We know there’s a human element to coaching that goes beyond what any strategy can do. Your team can’t just execute, they have to believe. Business is no different.

Start thinking of yourself more like the coach of your business. As the business owner, success falls on your shoulders no matter what. Regardless if you have the world’s worst employee today, the result of their efforts is still your problem to deal with. Most employees struggle because of a lack of clear direction and responsibility. Over time, an employee who feels unsure without support becomes resentful, and they begin to do the bare minimum to collect a paycheck.  

It is not enough to just pay someone to do their job. You must:

  • Solve issues that come up in their day-to-day 
  • Communicate what success looks like in their role
  • Help them understand the long-term vision of your company
  • Train them to be self-sufficient and to continue to take on more responsibility
  • Show them a path for further financial and career growth within your company

It’s amazing how hard a person works for you when you focus on the areas above. As the business owner, your goal is to build a roster of star employees that you want to work with for years to come. This enables you to get out of the weeds and focus more of your time on growing the business, rather than putting out fires, day after day.

Ever heard the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? It’s a commonly used phrase, especially in sports, that means that you shouldn’t try to change anything if it’s working. We believe this expression can be shortsighted.

If your car’s check engine light comes on but it still gets you from work and back, should you take it to the shop? It’s important to remember that while issues may not arise today, you need to prepare for the future before you have a major problem, like engine failure, that could cost you much more in the future.

The “set it and forget it” mentality has no place in business. Business owners need to be constantly evaluating their toolsets and determining where there are opportunities to improve. The more your business grows, the more unique processes you add to make your day-to-day efficient. You need to make sure your tools are keeping up.

Here are some commonly used business tools:

  • Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) – Often seen as a glorified address book, today’s CRM systems don’t just track names and phone numbers, they are used for things like automating follow-ups and check-ins with your clients and prospects. CRM systems save countless business development hours.
  • Business Intelligence dashboard – Businesses big and small have access to information they never had before. By working with your technology team, you can integrate data from all your key tools to gain visibility of your business and therefore a more tangible understanding of successes and failures.
  • Project Management tool – Being able to get a view of all customers or internal projects can be a game changer for any business. PM tools help by tracking all activities related to a project to allow for easy executive oversight and clear communication to employees.
  • Accounting software – Most businesses use some sort of accounting software to track spending and to help automate regular payments. In today’s world, accounting software has enabled businesses to use digital records to save paper, oversight and most importantly, tax preparation time.

We all start from somewhere when it comes to business and there is nothing wrong with that. Even the most savvy business men and women understand that there is always more to know. The problems only come when people start believing they know it all.

Our team of operations consultants is always learning both from our clients and from the subject matter experts we follow. Take the Stairs can provide a new perspective to you and your business by understanding your unique business goals.

Our job is to enable you to get what you want from your business. We evaluate your current strengths and develop a plan to fill any gaps so you can take the baton and run with it.

 

Regardless of your business, we all need support. If you are curious about operations consulting services, schedule a discovery meeting with our talented team of business operations consultants today. It’s completely free and we provide you with an outline for how we think you could overcome your business challenges.

How to create an operations strategy

Map out your current process for delivering your products or services

One of the most common activities for any operations consultant is to develop a baseline. A baseline is the current state of anything you are looking to evaluate. Understanding where you are as a business is an essential part to uncovering where you need to go.

Take time to outline each unique process that you use to deliver on your products and services. Make sure to include:

  • A description of the activity
  • Who is responsible for each activity in the process
  • How the activity is handed off to the each employee in the process

Outline the roles and responsibilities for each position at your organization

Hiring motivated hardworking employees isn’t enough. The best companies are able to separate their employees from the roles that they fill internally within the organization. The better you can define each job function within your company, the better you are able to outline success criteria for the employees who fulfill these roles.

Spend considerable time thinking about each job at your company and determine: 

  • What the ongoing responsibilities are for the role
  • What key traits you look for within the position (ex. attention to detail, financial background)
  • What success looks like in this role

Remember if you don’t know what success looks like in one of your job functions, then neither does the employee fulfilling the role.

Define your value propositions

What makes you better than your competitors?

If you can’t answer this question, you need to define your value proposition quickly or you will always struggle to grow your business. No one ever chose a company because they were most like everyone else. People want to work with businesses that bring unique value to their needs.

Think about your clients. What are the reasons they give for choosing your business? This is a great place to start and from here, you can start using these x-factors in your next sales meeting.

Define your target clients, and how you plan to let them know about your business

If you market to everyone, you market to no-one.

Our goal is to find the clients who most need our services and appreciate the additional value we provide. That’s the essence of marketing

Understanding how your audience can benefit from your product or service should be the foundation of your sales strategy. By better understanding your target clients, you can optimize where to advertise and what message resonates with your audience. This not only saves money but drastically increases conversions.

The better you understand your target customer, the easier sales strategy becomes.

Find out what you’re clients are saying about you

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you think your business is running efficiently, it’s all about what your customers think. They are the ones that will keep you in business and help you grow your bottom line. This information is important as it can help you adjust elements of your business strategy.

No two clients will have the same experience, so your role is to be curious and search for themes from a larger subset of clients. Did half of your interviewed clients say they love your reordering process? Have you received feedback about a confusing customer service process?

Listen when your customers are talking; they can give you pivotal information about how to help your business be more successful.

Take the first step and overcome your business operations challenges today

The bottom line is that business is not easy. Every single business owner could use more support in one area of their business or another. Operations consultants have a unique way of providing a clear understandable path to success. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it.

At Take the Stairs, we provide free, initial discovery meetings for our prospective operations consulting services in Nashville. From our discovery meeting, we will present our action plan to help get your business to where you are looking to go. Call us at (615) 219-9181 or fill out the form below to get started.

Are you ready to Take the Stairs?