Are You Running Your Business – or is Your Business Running You?

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Do you ever find yourself scrambling to clean up before guests come visit? It seems that just before they ring the doorbell is when you’re finally able to see how your home looks from an outside perspective.

Likewise, it’s hard to be honest with yourself about how smoothly your business runs when you can barely keep up with the day-to-day processes. If an outsider were to observe them, would you be proud? Or would you be thinking of excuses to explain away the chaos?

To find out if you’re running your business or if it’s running you, we came up with seven questions to ask yourself. Be honest: Do any of the following apply to you? Yes or No.

1. Are you manually double checking your work in every document you send to avoid errors?

When your documents – think quotes, RFPs, confirmations, etc. – are done manually, creating these important customer communications can take hours. This also means they’re prone to errors, requiring you to double check them every time.

Example: You create custom introductory emails for every prospective client when one simplified, consistent email could be sent with just a few clicks.

2. Do you find yourself fighting the same problems over and over?

Every business has challenges and broken processes. But when you find yourself fixing the same problems over and over, know that you could be using that time to make sure you never have to do it again.

Example: You manually prepare a detailed quote for every new client instead of streamlining the process with synchronized rules and pricing that repeats.

3. Are you constantly hustling to put out fires – never having time to think about the future of your business?

If you’re too hands-on spending time on things that could be automated, it comes at the expense of long-term strategy and growth. When you spend all day putting out fires, before you know it the day is over – and so is your time to focus on the big picture.

Example: Missing documents – customers do not receive the proper documents to move forward with or close a sale. 

4. Do you have to review and approve all decisions – never able to take a day off?

Can you even remember the last time you had a true day off, with no interruptions? The more manual your processes are, the more hands-on a leader must be. And when everything is routed through you, taking even one day off costs time and money.

Example: You’ve planned a day on the golf course – but since you need to double check everyone’s work, you’re called upon to review and approve documents whether you’re on or off the clock.

5. Do you pass on big deals because you run out of time?

Are you so swamped by ‘doing it all’ that you don’t have time to bid out for jobs? Or even worse – maybe you don’t even bother bidding on jobs because you know you won’t have capacity to complete them?

Example: Your leadership is involved in every deal, from the big kahunas to the small minnows, equally – at the expense of focusing on the biggest prospects.

6. Do you have trouble figuring out what to prioritize each day?

One question you never want to hear from your sales team is “What should I focus on?” Without the ability to categorize tasks by priority, potential and deadlines, things inevitably fall through the cracks.

Example: You’re stuck in the days of paper-based processes, including scattered to-do lists without goals or priorities.

7. Do you lack the data you need to make a decision about a customer or your business?

Let’s say a client from two years ago calls to set up a follow-up. Do you feel confident in your ability to locate that client’s history to reference it in the new conversation? Or are your customers’ previous quotes, purchases and referrals dust in the wind?

Example: Somebody calls you to redeem on a warranty – and all of a sudden, you need to spend hours of your day trying to find their customer history.

Coming to grips with your score

So, how’d you do? If you scored more than three “yeses” it might be time to rethink if your manual processes are working for your business – and for you. Small to medium businesses are especially at risk for becoming overscheduled and underautomated. When this happens, your business is running you – and we can help.

The first step would be to get Salesforce if you haven’t already. Then, ideally, find a partner (we know a good one!) to help you configure it for best results. And then before long you’ll find yourself enjoying more automated processes – document generation, prioritized tasks, real-time reporting, time efficiencies and a 360-degree view of your customers. A proper CRM like Salesforce will save you time and money, freeing you up to focus on the big picture stuff.

Let’s turn those yesses into no’s together.

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