No matter how well a business is performing, things can always be better – that is the message that owners and CEOs live by on a day to day basis. Any business owner will tell you that running a successful organisation is more than a full-time job. In fact, the time and dedication put into ensuring that the business remains on track can often by overlooked by employees. Those responsible for the performance of the business will undoubtedly spend many evenings when they should be with their families scrutinizing endless charts and graphs. Attempting to pinpoint areas where the business is lacking and could be stronger and run more efficiently. #1. Delegation Business owners that try and carry the burden themselves are not doing themselves or the company any favors. Two heads are always better than one, as another set of eyes can pick up what the first ones missed. This is nothing to do with who is better than who, it’s called being human which is what we all are. Smart owners know to surround themselves with a group of people that they can trust to pick up the slack and to tell them when they are wrong. Although being told that you are always right is nice, in reality, it may not be true. The best leaders trust their team with important responsibilities, as this frees up their own time enabling them to work smarter and, therefore, more efficiently. Placing trust in your employees will also some way in keeping them on board as they will feel challenged, rather than beginning to feel that the grass is greener elsewhere. Companies that retain experienced members of staff tend to perform better. #2. Employee Morale A business is only as good as the employees that work for it, and a motivated member of staff will always outperform one that is demotivated. A mistake that many team leaders make is to only address morale when it is having a negative effect on performance – by this time the damage is already done. Ensure that staff stays motivated by making their work life enjoyable and rewarding. While it is impossible to go to each individual employee, especially if you are part of a medium to large organisation, what you can do is organise regular discussions with your teams. Open forums are a great way to get a feel for what is happening on the ground and to get a sense of the mood in the camp. Employees can then present their own ideas for the businesses. Not only will this make them feel involved with business operations, but listening to views and taking ideas on board will show employees that they are valued no matter what level they are. Other ideas include ensuring that the working area is welcoming. This can include taking out a subscription for coffee to keep the kitchen replenished, allowing employees to personalise their own space and including recreational activities that can be used on lunch breaks. #3. Team Building Activities To ensure that your team is working together like a well-oiled machine, booking team building events that get everyone together outside of the workplace are highly beneficial. While encouraging staff to have fun and socialise with one and other, they will also learn how to operate as a team in a completely new setting. These newly developed skills can then be used in the workplace, as colleagues will have a better understanding of the different qualities that everyone brings to the table. image source: insidermonkey.com #4. Partnerships Business partnerships come in all shapes and sizes, from major collaborations to minor alliances, and can help your company to save money. Mutually beneficial partnerships work best between businesses that offer services that the other would benefit from, and therefore working on a discounted deal. Working alongside another business can also help to open doors that may not have otherwise presented themselves by introducing your team to valuable contacts. The best example of a mutually beneficial partnership is a manufacturer and a distributor. As the provider, the manufacturer wants to make a profit on the materials and the labour that goes into making each product, while the distributor will then put their own markup on the price. By entering into a partnership, the manufacturer can guarantee sales of their product by supplying the distributor in bulk, who by doing this keeps the price of each piece to a minimum, thus maximizing their profit. #5. Marketing and Lead Generation For any business to be a success, they must have a custom. No custom means no sales, no sales means no money and no money means no business. Marketing is every bit as important to the business as sales, as one cannot work without the other. It is recommended that small businesses use between 7-8% of the gross annual revenue for marketing and advertising. This figure can change depending on how competitive an industry the business is in and how established the brand is. Marketing comes in many different forms but is usually placed within one of two categories – print and digital. Larger companies may elect to use television advertising, but for argument’s sake we will leave this out of the discussion. In order to identify which strategies are most effective, a business must have some way of placing a figure on sales and inquiries generated for each marketing tool. This is far easier with digital marketing tools, which offer reports on impressions and clicks – i.e. a customer finding your website via a Google search and buying through your e-commerce platform. Print advertisements are far more difficult to track, as you cannot definitively determine who has seen your advert. This is one of the main reasons why print marketing is becoming less and less popular, as businesses look to scrutinize every last detail and look for conclusive results over estimates. Running an efficient business means being able to account for every last penny. Only when you are confident on your budgets are you able to refine processes, allowing you to work towards running your business as effectively and efficiently as possible.