Improving Your Business Strengths
A business briefing by Bob Hutchinson,
Principal, Eros Business Consulting
This briefing is designed to make you consider how you could best help yourself and your business, improve performance, raise staff morale and achieve measurable business profitability.
Maybe it will spark some ideas in your own mind, if it does, then the very fact that it has triggered some thought processes will act as a precursor to a better business.
Successful businesses don’t run on luck or good location, although both help, they are the result of team work and a motivated workforce.
So tip number one therefore would be to use these briefing notes at your next/first? staff meeting.
Things to do and not to do:
• Don’t let external advisors immediately try to change the way you run your business, change your logo or sell you expensive mail outs. Maybe they’re right but there are many more simple things you can do first
• Improvements in Marketing are often worthwhile but not by any means the first task.
• You already have a core business, so why not try to improve that first.
• Improving efficiency, and streamline the way you work.
• Provide yourself and your staff with visible goals.
• Know the mechanics of your business.
• What key element makes your business profitable?
• Write a budget and sales forecast, this provides the framework for activity measurement and motivation
• Measure your weekly and monthly results against your forecast.
• Get yourself reliable and informative practice management software that will save time and money and provide you the figures you will need.
• Think about your practice in terms of three areas, “Front of House”, “Sales & Dispensing” & “Clinical” and devise ways of measuring each of their performances.
• Consider your stock, the levels, the mix, and the breadth of selection.
• Does your stock profile suit you current customer base?
• Who or what is the “weakest link” and how can you train these problems out of the system.
• If you are a small business you will need comparatives from competitors to spot the weaknesses or find a group of like minded businesses to anonymously share benchmarking.
• If you have a small group compare the practices, the staff achievements and the three sectors of optical business.
• Consider benchmarking with other groups.
Maybe ask your patients and customers to rate you on www.mylocaloptician.co.uk
So to begin:
• Collect data, investigate practice software (read other briefings)
• Build a business model, mission, strategy, goals, measured against budget
• Set targets of growth
• Publish the targets to all involved staff
• Reward success regularly out of increased profitability
• Maximise on the profitable parts of the business
• Keep staff informed at all times of changes required and why they are needed
• Make the most of the existing patient data base
Only now you can measure the business, the engine is fine tuned, so now's the time to consider marketing. A briefing sheet on marketing will follow.
Bob Hutchinson has been working in the centre of the optical sector since becoming an optometrist in the 70’s.
Recently retiring from clinical optometry, he continues to act for many SMEs as well as larger groups in strategy, PR & marketing and financial advice with a specialism in optical VAT.
His client base also includes large industrial companies in equipment and IT involved in the optical industry to name a few.
Still involved in optical decision making his aim has always been to encourage regulators and negotiators to allow the sector to flourish, and to assist others to own and manage financially robust businesses.
Eros Business Consulting