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How to Identify Areas for Improvement in Your Business

Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or a new business owner, fine-tuning your best business practices is essential for the success of your company. Even for experienced business owners, over time, the systems and strategies that used to work seamlessly begin to feel outdated. 

In order to keep efficiency at an all-time high, reduce overarching feelings of overwhelm, and encourage company growth, take a little time to revisit the core pillars of how your business operates.

Keep tabs on your finances

Since financial reports provide clear, quantitative data, it’s useful to start with revenue information to improve your small business. While money isn’t the ultimate indicator of success, incoming finances reveal patterns in your workload, identify which of your services are the most popular, and highlight any possible places for improvement.

For example, if a design studio specializes in foil stickers, their financial reports may show them:

  • November, December, and February are when they receive and ship the most orders. This may mean they hire an independent contractor for those three months of the year, improving shipping times and customer experience.

  • June is historically slow. This shows the owner when they can take their time off with confidence, knowing it’s a natural lull in their selling season.

  • Even though they’re selling more stickers, production costs have increased, meaning profits have stayed the same for the last three years even while demand grows. In order to keep up with new costs and scale the company, they can increase their prices purposefully.

If your bookkeeping needs a helping hand, check out Squarespace Extensions for financial tools that easily plug into the backend of your online business.

Revisit your systems

The systems behind your customer or client process are the engine of your business. That’s why it’s important to check in with any software setups you’re using, and make sure their features and functionality are growing proportionally to your company.

When analyzing the current efficacy of your systems, look specifically at the automation capabilities. Since systems have two main aims — saving you time and improving the customer journey — automation takes the guesswork out of running your business efficiently.

An untapped resource of metrics and performance know-how comes from the biggest experts on your business: your clients.

Asking your clients for feedback or testimonials is the fastest and most concise way to learn where some of your systems and processes can be optimized. Any feedback is useful feedback, so learning what does and doesn’t work for your clients will help you get a clearer idea about how to update your processes. Room for improvement is an opportunity to optimize your business, which is always a positive takeaway.

Looking for a new system? The switch is surprisingly simple when you make the change to Squarespace. From intake forms to final billing, our all-in one platform leaves you more time to do what you’re best at — run your business. 

Re-evaluate your goals

Goal-setting is an ongoing process that improves your business threefold. Taking stock of where you started and how far you’ve come not only highlights areas for possible improvements and creates more confidence — it also inspires you to continue growing your business. Setting overarching milestones are most effective when you employ the following strategies. 

Start small

Rather than setting only one giant goal, break it into smaller, more approachable milestones. For example, if one of your goals is to increase revenue over time, it can feel discouraging and intimidating to set a single goal of boosting your profit by 20% in the next calendar year.

However, if you break it down into smaller touchstones — such as aiming for an increase of 1.7% each month — it increases the likelihood that your goal will stay top-of-mind. This consistent awareness of what you’re working towards means you’re more likely to make steady progress towards the big picture, while helping you celebrate small wins along the way.

Set goals for aspects of your business that can’t be measured

While finances are often seen as a core metric of a company’s success, a lot of other pieces of entrepreneurship factor into a company’s overall improvement. After all, increasing finances are typically the result of a business that runs well — not the driver behind it.

For example, to boost productivity and focus in your business, you can set a goal around improving your sleep hygiene and the quality of your rest over the next four weeks to channel new energy.

If stress levels have been high, you can set a goal to create two email templates in the next two weeks, eliminating that recurring administrative work of typing it out each time, and freeing up the mental space you need to move on. 

Show yourself grace

Goals are markers meant to encourage, motivate, and inspire you to do more of the work you’re proud of. Celebrating the wins along the way is an excellent way to reinforce your confidence — but what happens when that win doesn’t happen?

Inevitably, some goals will go unmet. After all, they’re hypothetical targets for the future that can’t account for the nuances or circumstances that unexpectedly impact a goal’s outcome. When this happens, show yourself a little grace.

From a business optimization perspective, unmet goals provide valuable data points about whether your goal needs revision moving forward. Let’s look at the same sleep hygiene example from above. If your goal is to be in bed by 10pm every night, you might realize after a month that you’re consistently in bed by 10pm during weeknights, but Fridays and Saturdays tend to skew later. Rather than writing off the goal as a failure, you can revise your expectations so it fits better with what actually works for you. The new goal? Be in bed by 10pm, only on nights you’re working.

Beyond improving your business, remember that an unmet goal isn’t a sign of failure — it’s a necessary part of striving for greater milestones and growing your business.

Rather than dwelling on what didn’t happen, congratulate yourself for putting in the effort, trying your best, and having the resilience to try again. Failure isn’t the end — it’s just a stepping stone towards further business improvement.

Get clear on your vision, mission, and values

Reconnecting with the core elements of your business strengthens the foundation of your day-to-day operations. Reviewing and updating the core drivers behind your business can reinvigorate your work and add new energy to your business.

Not sure where to start? Read our guide on pinpointing the essentials.

Check in on your limits

You can’t do everything — and you shouldn’t. Schedule time in your day for breaks, reflection, and a few hours spent away from the desk. Doing so allows you to come back fresher than before. With the right scheduling software, boundaries become built-in, so recharging yourself becomes automatic.

Ready to start improving your business?

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