For many businesses this time of year provides a good time to reflect upon the past year's performance and decide upon their plans for the upcoming year.
How about you?
Do you know where and how you want to improve your business during 2014?
If you haven't pulled your plan together then the following pointers could help you to pull your ideas together to get you started:
- Draw a process map of your operational systems. Ask yourself where the mistakes occur and which parts of the process don't work as well as you would have hoped. Write down a list of these opportunities.
- Get your team to list out their gripes about the system of working and get specific about what exactly doesn't work.
- Get some facts and figures about how your business is currently operating and ask 'what would be a better set of results?' Create some targets on the back of this and then develop ideas on how you can reach the new targets.
- Use your customer feedback to point you in the right direction. List out the 'recommendations' that your customers have made to you.
- Reflect upon your 'operational brand'. Does your business operate / behave in a way that aligns with the brand you want for your business. Observe the differences between what happens and how you would like to be perceived.
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Take this list of opportunities and then prioritise them. What could be achieved in the first quarter, second, third and fourth? Rank them in terms of effort and impact. Improvements that are quick to implement, easy to do and cost very little may want to be high up your list.
If you are getting stuck with creating a structured approach to improving, why not check out my book on Effective Continuous Improvement. It may not be the kind of stocking filler you were hoping for this year (!) but it does offer a systematic approach to improving your business so that the ideas don't stop flowing.
You can download a sample from:
Amazon (for the Kindle platform)
Improving Businesses (PDF format)
Smashwords (iPad / Nook / Kobo and other formats)
Good luck with your plans for 2014.
Author of 'Business Process Re-Engineering', a practical plan to improve business performance.