When it comes to small business and money management, are you wasting money or using your resources wisely?
You might be wasting money if you have...
- A stellar website with no conversion funnel.
- A star sales guy who's bogged down with meetings and red tape.
- An outdated product line you won't give up on.
- A leadership style that makes trying a new idea impossible.
- A bloated system that makes routine tasks far too complex.
All of these issues are costing you money, either in charges you could avoid or in profits you could be making.
1. A bait with no hook
For example: you paid a professional design team to build you a great website. You pay to host it. You pay for somebody to put new content on it (you are putting fresh content on it, right?). Maybe you're paying to get an SEO professional to tweak your website, or you're buying stacks of Google ads to get the traffic to your homepage.
But do your visitors know where to go once they get there?
A stellar website with no conversion funnel is like bait with no hook. You aren't going to catch any fish.
2. Stuck employees and weak teams
What about your employees? These people are the backbone of your business, but if you squelch their natural talents, ignore their strengths and manage them poorly, they will lose all desire to help you succeed.
Who do you have on your team? Do you have a guy who's a little out there, or a gal who's rather hard to manage? Maybe he has great people skills but stinks at time management. Maybe she excels at managing herself but doesn't like being told what to do.
What can you do to put these people in a place where their strengths matter and their weaknesses don't?
Play to their strengths
Put your employees in places where their strengths matter and their weaknesses don't. Give your star sales guy the support he needs to stay on schedule, or give him the freedom to do things on his own time line by providing money-oriented goals rather than time-oriented tasks.
An employee working in areas of strength will bring in more profit than an employee struggling to conquer their weaknesses.
3. Outdated products or poor marketing
Your products need the same analysis. Are they selling? If not, why not? Is the problem in the marketing or in the product itself? Do they need to be repackaged, or is the whole product line simply outdated?
Don't be afraid to let go of what isn't working; that's the only way you'll find out what will work.
4. Resistance to new ideas
A fear of new ideas—and a leadership style that squelches them automatically—will cost you in terms of innovation that could improve your products, services, company image, processes, systems and customer service.
5. Consider the system
Next time you're faced with a new idea, take your time and consider it. And next time you find yourself spending 20 minutes to do a task that should take two, consider the system; is it time to make a change?
The value of simplifying systems is that it allows you to focus on what is important. Detail work shouldn't be part of a complex process, but should be streamlined into a simple routine you can get through quickly.
If you're wasting money, it's not because you're stupid; it's because you're busy in the work of running your business, too busy to stop and consider what you might be losing. But take a moment, step back, look around, make some changes and start making money instead of wasting it.
Annie Mueller is a freelance writer based in St. Louis. She covers small business topics with a focus on lean/zero budget start-ups, business blogging, and simple (sane) ways business can use social media without selling their souls to Facebook. Her work can be seen online at Investopedia's Financial Edge blog, Young Entrepreneur, Wise Bread, Organic Authority, Modern Mom, and her own site, AnnieMueller.com. Find her on Twitter: @AnnieMueller.