With the recent shift to remote-work, efficiency has become more important than ever.
You cannot scale your business without operations management! It doesn't matter how many clients or customers you get if you can't deliver your product or service efficiently. You can't hire or outsource work if you don't have an onboarding system.
In order to make sure things are running properly, and to scale your business, you must have an operations management system in place.
In this blog, we highlight what operations management is and its importance. We also discuss how you can incorporate operations management into your business model without having to hire anyone!
What is Operations?
Operations management is defined by Investopedia as “the administration of business practices to create the highest level of efficiency possible within an organization.” Operations are the very practices that ensure your business runs smoothly and efficiently. What operations mean for your business may vary depending on the stage it is in. For example, ondeck.com highlights it could consist of thinking strategically about your systems and processes or being a part of the on-ground work.
How is Operations Management Beneficial?
Operations management is beneficial because it allows for an in-depth look at the internal processes of your business. This will allow you to find problems in your business and come up with efficient solutions.
Developing your business systems of operation can also ensure your customers are satisfied and you're profitable. By constantly making sure your product/service is up to your business’s standards, you will increase both customer satisfaction and profitability.
The more efficient your business runs, the easier it is to onboard clients and staff; and the easier it is to create an effective and consistent formula to follow.
As a result, it’s easier to communicate your value to potential partners, investors and consumers--ultimately leading to more profit at the end of the day.
How Can You Evaluate Your Current Operations?
You may be wondering how to make sure your current operations strategy is effective.
You can start by looking at your product/service and evaluating the price, quality, and customer satisfaction. It is important to see how others in your industry are providing their goods and services to learn from them. Updating and making sure your products/services are up to industry standards is vital if you want to scale your business.
🗣 Do I have a clear process for every aspect of my business (content creation, client satisfaction/customer service, employee training, and finances)?
🗣 Are my new employees (or sub-contractors) fully prepared for work? Do they understand my expectations? Do they have all the resources they need to be successful?
🗣 Do my clients have a clear understanding of my brand's communication policy? Do they know what to expect when buying a service or product? How do I handle chargebacks and refund requests? How do I ask for reviews and feedback?
🗣 Do potential brand partners know how to communicate with my brand? How long does it take for my reply?
🗣 Do I have a clear, written standard of operations for my business so my processes can be repeated?
🗣 Do I have designated checking and savings accounts for my business? Are my business books regularly updated?
If it helps, you can separate the internal and external processes of operations. For example, how does the consumer engage with services after an initial marketed offer? You can evaluate whether or not you need customer service here. On the other hand, internally, you can ask yourself how the team needs to communicate with each other in order to improve performance efficiency.
🔑 Major Key: Ask for feedback from your customers, team, and brand partners to determine the efficiency of your business. Use their feedback to strengthen your respective systems of operations.
Evaluate Your Business Operations W/ The "Power Of The Pivot" Toolkit
The "Power of The Pivot" Toolkit includes a 45-minute webinar and 3 supporting worksheets to help you develop your brand's content creation system, craft your brand messaging & communications system, and evaluate your internal operations. PLUS, you get an additional list of content campaign ideas for an entire year!
How Many Systems are Needed?
Eventually, the goal is to have a strong, automated, system for every aspect of your business. This could range from client onboarding systems to staff orientation systems. Each and every system plays a significant role when it comes to running your business successfully (and growing your business).
Your focus depends on where you are in your business.
For example, a seasoned solopreneur may already have the content creation and financial systems down. Their focus should be on developing an employee/subcontractor onboarding system.
A brand new business owner or creative may want to focus on content creation to increase their brand awareness and a customer relations system to ensure customer satisfaction.
A few systems we use are:
Customer relations management
Digital marketing & content production
Operations Mindset and Lifestyle
Although operations management may seem like a task for only a few people, if you run a small business it is beneficial for everyone on the team to understand it. The operations mindset and lifestyle play a key role in effective internal communications, company culture, and growing a business. Adopting an operational mindset means structuring all components of your business to run efficiently and align with your brand goals.
Operations Strategy Tips from Experts
For a small business owner, it may seem out of reach to hire someone specifically for operations management. Don’t worry, there are still ways to improve operations even without hiring people specifically for it.
One way to improve operations in a small business is to set team expectations.
David Schwartz, Founder of Wireless Watchdogs, argues “Setting proper team expectations and accountability has become one of the most impactful things to my business. Twice a month we bring all managers and executives together for a big meeting to discuss each department and their accomplishments and challenges. It is also a time for other departments to give feedback to management. At the end of these meetings, everyone leaves with follow-up tasks.”
While setting team expectations is important, transparency is also key.
Maren Hogan, Chief Marketing at Red Branch, states “Yeah, I know it’s a buzz world. But I truly believe in the power of transparency to build solid operations. Cross-checks, social collaboration tools and breaking down silos are all ways to ensure that each operation is optimal for my unique business needs. Across levels and departments, operations should be communicated, tested and approved.”
Another way to improve your business’s operations is to solicit feedback from your team. As you drift further away from the core of the operations, it is still important to understand what isn’t working. This will enable your business to continue to run smoothly while you can focus on other aspects.
Our philosophy relies heavily on the idea that operations management complements creative strategy - i.e. brand development, digital marketing, and public relations.
We encourage our clients to include both sides of the spectrum in order to scale their brands and create a healthy ecosystem that will attract automation, profits, a positive company culture, and the life they desire.
For example, operations management has improved our experience as a company because it has allowed our Founder, Brianna, to focus on the quality of our services and the satisfaction of our clients AND our teammates. By hiring talent or delegating tasks to individuals, to make sure everything is running smoothly and efficiently on the inside, it allows for her focus on the experience BRVC provides to its consumers, clients, and team.
Software and Apps We Use
You can focus on identifying inefficiencies within your business through automation software. Automation software can help speed up your team and also some include analytics to help identify problems.
The software we use to ensure efficient workflow and assign tasks is Asana. Asana helps keep everything we need in one place, whether it’s tasks for each team member or important files for the week. This allows for everyone to have an organized list of what they need to do each week without having to fish through email chains, essentially boosting efficiency.
Other Apps To Know:
🎯 Zapier - Create automated workflows by connecting your business apps.
🎯 Airtable - Marketing campaign management all in one place.
🎯 Dubsado - Send contracts for client onboarding, build workflows, and streamline your projects.
All in all, it is essential to incorporate operations management if you are looking to stay at the top of your industry. It is important to have an understanding of what works in your business and ways to fix the bottleneck areas. This is where an operations management team or an operational mindset comes into play.
🔑 The ICEL Model: BRVC's purpose is to provide the building blocks needed to improve the infrastructure, cohesiveness, longevity and engagement for our clients. That means we want to help your run your brand as efficiently as possible for as long as possible.
Do you need help evaluating your business operations? Does your business currently need structured systems of operation?