There are five fail-safe ways to make your franchise business more efficient, according to Carl Reader
Franchisee life is fast paced, ever changing and demanding. Usually, business owners find themselves with a multitude of hats to wear - everything from doing the numbers to keeping the staff happy.
Keeping a business working smoothly for both staff and customers is a challenging task that can take up a lot of time and effort - something every business owner has a need for more of.
For a business to succeed, efficiency and effectiveness is key, regardless of its market or customer base. So here are my top tips to boost your business’ efficiency.
Many are common sense, but you’d be surprised how many franchisees fail to follow these core principles, getting distracted by the day to day running of their businesses.
Be willing to accept that things may need to change
“We’ve always done it this way.” That may be true, but it shouldn’t be allowed to overrule common sense.
All too often, I see business owners using needlessly complicated and inefficient processes, simply because they’re too afraid to try something different for fear of upsetting their staff or clients - or perhaps of change itself.
A business is like a complex piece of machinery and needs to be kept carefully maintained to ensure it works at its best for staff and customers alike. Removing and changing clunky systems and practices can seem daunting, but if it’s no longer useful or relevant, take the opportunity to create a far slicker experience for all stakeholders.
Look with clear eyes
When you’re working within a business, it can be hard to distinguish the wood from the trees.
So take a step back from working ‘in’ your business and look at your processes objectively, as though you were an outsider. This will allow you to accurately identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies and redundant processes, which you can then address.
A good way to do this is to look at your typical customer or product journey and follow through the whole process, looking at each step and aspect carefully.
Focus on your core activities…
…and outsource, automate or delegate the rest.
No one can be an expert in or do everything - there just isn’t enough time. There are a huge wealth of options available today that can make short work of many parts of running a business, so make the most of these.
Consider any non-core activities, such as payroll, human resources, admin and marketing, and calculate how much time each function takes up. Then look at how much it would cost to get software or hire someone - either in house or externally - to take care of it for you and how quickly you’d break even on that investment.
In many cases, it won’t take long, but will save you and your business a ton of time and effort.
Know where you’re going and look ahead
Without a strong business plan or strategy, a business won’t be working to its maximum potential - it’ll just float. Without looking ahead, you might just float right into dangerous waters.
Whatever your business goals are, make them clear and head for them. Then you can break these down to work out how you’re going to get there and ensure your business is doing this in the most efficient way, leading you closer to that goal.
Opting for the most efficient and effective development workflows, with clear milestones set out to benchmark, means your process and any related costs are managed. Learn to say no if something isn’t right and prioritise things that are most relevant and useful to your objectives.
Streamlining and increasing efficiency isn’t a one-off task - situations change, technology progresses and improvements can always be made. It doesn’t have to be an overhaul either, as small and incremental changes can quickly accumulate to make a big difference to your overall business efficiency. Get your staff involved too, as their insights can be invaluable. Allow them to add their input to ensure the franchise and its processes are constantly striving to improve.