Wow, it’s 2017 already. Where did that come from? 1992 only seems like yesterday. Time travels faster than a Chinese bullet train. From global economic uncertainty, Brexit, to the election of Donald Trump, the past year has been fraught with uncertainty for business. And the fallout is set to ripple across the coming year.
As my old momma used to say, the secret of getting started is planning ahead. With that in mind, here’s 6 things you can do now to make 2017 a successful year.
1. Processing Brexit at a business level
Westminster is currently involved in a WWE-style wrestling match over Britain’s place in Europe. Whilst the Brexit (assuming it actually happens!) is some way off, why not take this opportunity to ready your business by looking at your processes and workflows.
Take paper, for instance. 83% of office staff believe productivity is slowed down by paperwork and inefficient processes. Luckily, paper cuts don’t always have to hurt. Simple measures such as double-sided printing reduces paper consumption by 50%. The outcome is always a win-win when when it’s good for administration, costs and the environment.
2. Digital transformation
Digital transformation sounds akin to something out of Robocop. And, in some ways, it is. Just as OminCorp fused flesh with technology to birth a police officer of unrivalled efficiencies, small businesses can protect and serve core processes by digitising them.
Think of cave drawings. Now think of your office printer. This is digital transformation writ large. But, to really transform your business, we need to think beyond the end product. Digital transformation applies to the processes within the cracks of your business.
Many paper-intensive tasks can be digitised. Cloud-based document management systems are key to this. They serve as a central repository for important documents. This moves you away from the rigidity of physical documentation. It means no longer wasting resources sifting through stacks of folders to find a single document.
And the trip of digitally automating document workflows is more than worth it:
- Massive cost savings including decreased print related expenses and lower transaction times
- Automation speeds up the routine elements of everyday tasks thereby speeding up worker productivity
- Digitisation allows documents to be validated as part of a process meaning less errors and time invested in reworks
- Digitisation makes your business instantly reactive
3. Making your employees social
Tweeting? Sharing? Whilst such phrases have become commonplace in business, many people are still left scratching their heads.
Social media marketing is simple really. It refers to the process of disseminating – or tweeting and sharing – content on social platforms with the aim of brand building, generating leads and sales.
Now, data suggests that when employees share messages, companies not only expand their social media reach, they also get measurably better results.
So start small. Encouraging employees to share your company’s social media updates, when done properly, can:
- Dramatically expand your social reach and following
Giving the rallying orders to you army of staff does not require any special investment of time or money. The resources required are already on your payroll.
4. Technology updating
Technology moves at such a rapid pace. So it’s always worth reviewing tech at beginning of the year. Outdated tech often weighs heavy on key processes. Reviewing your systems therefore casts light on what technology will actually improve your work and cash flow.
It’s all about the internet of things: getting everything and everybody working together via a daisy chain of technology.
5. Business outsourcing
Processes flow through your organisation. Managing them in-house draws attention away from core tasks. You want to be doing what you do best, right? You want to focus on your passion: why you got into business in the first place.
So take a look at the processes in your business that could be outsourced for less time and money than it’s currently costing you. Think about paperwork, credit control, and IT, to mention but a few.
Ask yourself: is there value to me outsourcing such tasks rather than using up valuable resources that could be redirected to help my business grow?
6. Innovation proactive
Innovation is one of the best ways to stay competitive in an evolving marketplace. New technology needs to be assessed, tested, analysed, and judged more quickly than ever.
Your business can no longer afford to waste time and resources implementing new tools that offer no real value. This means a “fail fast, to succeed faster,” mentality.
Some projects will work straight away, others will have significant learning curves. The faster your organisation can go from idea to implementation, the more it can embrace opportunities to transform, disrupt markets and internal business models.
New year, new start
External social and political challenges are beyond our control. What your business can control this year is its internal processes. This is how you can respond to and overcome the times in which we find ourselves.
A new year means a new start for all.