Let’s face it. People love their cars. Many make customisations to make their car incrementally better, whether that's painting it, upgrading the stereo system, adding a spoiler onto the back, or reupholstering the seats.
If you love your SME, it's a natural step to consider practical improvements to increase the specs and performance. Like customising your car, upgrading small aspects of your business can vastly increase not only success, but also long-term value.
Improve brand appearance
Ask yourself this: how long has it been since your brand had a refresh? When was your logo designed? Sure, many big brands continue to use the same logo for decades — think Apple or Coca-Cola. But part of the reason this is possible is that they are simple, timeless designs. (Although many have been tweaked over the years. For example, today’s Apple logo is a one tone grey, not the original rainbow colour scheme). Many logos, on the other hand, look like they were designed decades ago and probably belong there.
Re-branding says we’re moving forward and ready to meet today’s challenges.
It could be that your logo itself is fine, but your website hasn’t been touched in a few years. A website refresh can not only give customers something new to look at, content-wise, but you can also take advantage of modern technology to increase sales.
Think: a fresh coat of paint for your brand.
Upgrade your telecommunications system
It’s also important for an SME to maximise the potential, both in terms of price and functionality, of their phone system.
The Dial 9 Business Phone is powered by VoIP, meaning that calls can be made over the internet rather than over the traditional phone network, with prices starting at just £3.99 per phone per month. The best thing about a cloud phone system is that you don't need any extra equipment in your office. You just need an internet connection.
The Dial 9 Business Phone is fully flexible and grows with you, so as your business grows, your phone system can too. You just add new users when they join the business and there's no need to commit to more users than you need. Dial 9’s offering is feature-rich and caters specifically to the needs of SMEs.
Business telecommunications are a simple, affordable upgrade which can pay dividends both in cost saving and productivity.
Upgrade your people
No, we don’t mean replace them. But it’s your staff that customers come in contact with each day and who represent the face of your business, so it’s important to review not only if you have the right people in the right positions, but also if they have the right training.
If skills are lacking, this is a major opportunity to begin a discussion with staff and learn what they truly want and need. Take a true and honest inventory of your staff’s knowledge and skills and make it your job to get them the training that they need. Training will deliver more knowledgeable and competent staff, better placed to provide your customers exactly what they want.
Make health and safety a key feature of your business
Businesses have a legal obligation to have an occupational health and safety programme, but health and safety shouldn’t feel like an after-thought.
Although often it is.
An enhanced commitment to health and safety is great for business because it’s actively protecting your greatest resource — people, so why not consider making it just as important as customer service, inventory control, and financial planning? Improve your health and safety programme by regularly reviewing your records and keeping an open dialogue with staff.
By continually reviewing records of all first aid treatment, incidents (even minor ones) and training activities, you may identify trends or spot unsafe conditions or procedures before they turn into a serious accident.
Hold regular meetings with employees to discuss their health and safety concerns. Encourage the exchange of ideas on ways to improve safety in the workplace. Provide free first aid training for all staff, so everyone is equipped to handle any emergency situation.
Adopt a kaizen/continuous improvement approach
Imagine a business where productivity is continuously optimised, innovation is sought, and new opportunities are often discovered. A continuous improvement approach is the ultimate upgrade, to operate on a new level.
Kaizen, the Japanese term, is more a philosophy than a one size fits all tool. Perhaps it involves Total Quality Management (TQM). Maybe the use of employee suggestion boxes. Every employee, under kaizen, identifies gaps and inefficiencies, and provides suggestions where improvement can take place at every level of the organisation. The goal of kaizen is improvement in productivity, efficiency, safety and to reduce waste. Businesses that follow this approach often get a great deal more in return.
Your business continues normal activities, while constantly seeking new opportunities to add value to your products, services and processes. It’s totally driven by the contribution of employees, as its effectiveness relies on the team’s taking part in the process. Continuous improvement involves ongoing incremental improvements. It never ends.
While you’re unlikely to see major benefits overnight, continuous improvement can accomplish major change over time.
Supercharging your SME doesn’t end either
Likewise, supercharging your SME isn't a box you can tick, then walk away — it's an ongoing process. Like the car enthusiast always aiming for perfection in the appearance and performance of their vehicle, you, the business owner should be driven by the same desire to change, fix, upgrade and get the most from your business.