5 areas to trim the fat in 2011
As 2011 is fast approaching, thoughts are probably turning to how you are going to achieve your numbers in the year ahead. There is undoubtedly uncertainty in the markets at the moment and the economists seem to be divided as to what the year ahead will look like.
However, your success in 2011 will be more determined by your actions than any external factors. If you look back over previous recessions/ downturns, there are always those organisations that come out of them stronger and more profitable. Equally, there are individuals that thrive when the going get tough and those that just give in!
So, the question is – “which are you going to be in 2011?”
To start as you mean to go on, this time of the year is always good to reflect and trim any fat that exists within your business. Take a look at the following five suggestions and see how these can apply to your organisation. Please feel free to add other ideas within the comments.
1. What activities are you undertaking that is adding no value to your end customer? Once you have identified these, review how you could undertake them differently, more efficiently, or more radically, determine whether you have to do them at all or can you outsource them to a third party who can provide greater leverage?
2. What is your core competence and what non core activities are you doing that can be outsourced? Again, by creating focus on your business function or ideally across the organisation, identify those activities that you must do to support your core competence. At the same time, this will help you identify those activities that are non core. Look creatively at how you can more effectively deliver these non-core activities.
3. Ask yourself the theoretical question – “if I had to deliver the same results with 80% of the resources that I presently have, how would I do it?” – putting this question another way, all organisations have people within the organisation that deliver little or no value. Make it your business to strip the lowest 20% from your organisation each and every year. You’ll be amazed at the impact that this simple challenge creates.
4. In any process, there will be many hand-offs between people within your organisation. Take each in turn and challenge yourself to reduce these hand-offs by 50% – by empowering individuals within your organisation to take action at the front end, you’ll radically reduce the workflow across any process and the efficiency gains will be significant
5. How is your sales and marketing function performing? Research indicates that it now takes a minimum of seven contacts before a prospect raises his/her hands to enquire about your product/ service. What does this mean to you? Well, assuming that you have your targeting correct, how many times are your marketing people or sales representatives giving up after just four or five contact points? By implementing a structured approach to lead generation taking into account the requirement for 7 contacts, you’ll quickly drive new business generation.
Take the opportunity between Christmas and New Year to reflect on how you can apply these five simple steps to ensuring that 2011 delivers your ‘best year yet!’