Your Business IS Big Enough 

3 Things to look at in your small business operations to increase profitability 

What’s the one thing million-dollar business owners say they would have done differently when they started their businesses? Most of them indicate they would have set up their operations with growth in mind at the beginning. All entrepreneurs go into their business ventures focused on how they are going to make money but few think about what will be needed in the long run. Taking your small business to the next level and beyond requires an ability to scale quickly with your team and systems as the increased sales come in. Thinking about it after the fact will leave you scurrying to meet clients’ needs and quite frankly – TIRED! 

Don’t get me wrong. Many A-type entrepreneurs, like yourself, will be able to juggle things with a certain level of success like developing the strategy, serving clients, handling all of the processes in their head and continuing to think about sales, marketing, financials and administrative tasks. They are also likely to work long hours and not enjoy the freedom they desired when they first started their business journey. Once the business starts growing, time becomes limited for the small business CEO which means there’s also limited time to document the processes in their head, work through the tools needed for automation and integration, train the new team and develop repeatable processes to carry out the projects. 

So, what can you do early on in your business to streamline your operations – and increase productivity and profits – now and in the future as you grow? 

First, plan for your success right out of the gate. Sounds simple right? It’s a mindset for sure but a necessary mindset. I’m a sports fanatic so I will use a baseball analogy. Do you think the St. Louis Cardinals started their franchise thinking about winning a only a few games? Or do you think they wanted to win the World Series so brought in the necessary coaches, team members and practice regimens to make winning possible? Not planning for your team, processes and systems in the beginning means you are not expecting your business to realize growth. That’s a problem. I once heard a now $7M business owner talk about how much time it took to ramp up a new team member because processes were not documented. She wasn’t planning to fail and I’m sure you’re not either, so plan your entire operations around the success that’s coming.  

Start with the basics. Implementing your business operations model doesn’t have to be a huge, expensive undertaking. You can start with minimum requirements based on your current business needs while keeping in mind what you choose needs the capability to quickly scale up. It’s time to do an assessment. What do you need right now that will create the most value? There are some things that you’re doing manually right now – start with those! Of course, you have to keep in mind your budget so go for the activity that gets you closer to winning that championship. Is it an automated way to intake your clients for that high value, low-cost product? An email system that will collect and segment your contacts? Once you have that figured out, your next step is to determine what activities will trigger your need to scale. Will you need to increase your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) license when you reach 1000 contacts? Maybe you want to go from hosting your training content on your website to moving to a learning management system? Whatever the goal, you will need to plan for it in your budget and your project plans but again, you can start with the basics.

Automate your processes; Execute your projects. Early on in your business ownership journey, your goal will be to create as much capacity (time and freedom) as possible. Your ability to create capacity for yourself and the growth of your business depends on your process automation and project execution. That ‘thing’ that you’re doing repeatedly can probably be 80 percent automated or more! And the way you’re executing your product launches, events and projects could likely flow easier, so they take less time and are more effective. Documenting your processes gives you visibility into where you may have gaps or opportunities for improvement plus gives you repeatable steps to do over and over without recreating everything from scratch. Repeatable steps mean less chance for errors, which costs you money. Automating your processes allows you to step away to be able to do other things in your business and your life.  

Don’t be afraid to invest a little bit more in your business upfront so you realize the gains later. Putting a focus into your operations early can help increase your profitability faster because it allows you take on more clients, efficiently follow up on leads, receive payments faster without you physically being present. 

Your business IS big enough to start implementing great operational practices. Plan for your success and make it part of your quarterly and annual planning cycle. Start with the basics but make sure you can scale with ease. Implement automation and project execution practices to create capacity for your business and your life. So, what do you need to put in place now to reduce your work and increase your profitability?