If you sold water out of a bucket for a living, you would take notice of and plug any leaks in the bucket to protect your livelihood and increase your potential profits. However, most businesses are either a leaky bucket or they have some areas that can spring a leak if the slightest thing goes wrong. Here are the top obstacles that can cause your business model to be like that leaky bucket along with ways to thwart them.
Deal With Shrinkage
If you are in retail, you know what shrinkage is. You may only think of it in terms of losses caused by retail theft. However, employee purloining, damaged and expired goods, and product or raw materials used up in day-to-day business operations are all shrinkage. The biggest threats are retail and employee theft. You should have strong policies in place to prosecute any and all product theft and embezzlement from loss prevention protocols to a zero-tolerance policy enforcement and prosecution stance.
Slow Down Employee Turnover
Physicals, drug tests, training and orientation of new hires is a huge drain on resources, especially if you have a high employee turnover rate. Your Human Resources department should be instructed to calculate the costs of acquiring and training new employees, especially employees of departments with the highest turnover rates.
The next step is to analyze the employees that stay and thrive as to what common threads exist that keep them coming back to work day after day. Adjustment of recruiting and hiring practices can then be shifted to acquire new hires that match the profiles of the employees you have that stay the longest and thrive the most.
Prepare for Power Outages
This is not probably something you would expect as an obstacle that can cost your business money, but it is. This is an electronic and computerized world where the most basic functions of doing business come to a screeching halt when the power goes out.
Years ago people carried cash, price labels were stuck on each product in stores, and cashiers could calculate totals, including tax, with a pen and paper. Now, customer pay with plastic, the price is a bar code read by a laser scanner that inputs data into a point-of-sale (POS) system, and cashiers have not even had to figure out how much change to give or calculate tax for decades.
From the office copier to the internet Wi-Fi and even the automatic doors, it all runs on electricity. Your office or store should have a backup generator that can immediately take over when grid power goes down by using an automatic transfer switch, like those from Enercon Engineering Inc, that no employee or manager even needs to touch. This way your business does not miss a beat when the other businesses are in the dark.
Excel at Customer Service
The outsourcing of telephone customer service to offshore or foreign companies is the stuff of consumer legend. It can be so frustrating that it is even used in parodies and comedies. It is so prevalent that you would be hard-pressed to find someone who has never had a negative customer service experience. You would likely easily find consumers who refuse to buy from certain establishments due to a negative customer service experience.
Now, everyone in business knows that you cannot give away the store to make a customer happy, but you can have escalation policies in place to fix problems on the first contact. If you outsource telephone-based customer service, have top management personnel try it out to gauge the experience from a consumer standpoint. Make it a point to fix every problem on first contact. The customer should never have to call back, come back, or send another email or chat. If a customer service representative gave bad information, make it right with the offended customer. The stories of bad customer service spread like wildfire on social media, and you do not want that kind of press.
Every leak you fix in the bucket model for your business increases your bottom line proportionally. It is just as easy to spot the big leaks as it is to overlook the dripping leaks. A fresh look from a consultant can help you note all your business obstacles and their costs, leaving you to prioritize which ones to fix first.