Last week I told you how had to move equipment around to arrange them in a more logical order.
The next step was to identify where most of the time wasting occurs so we can make the business more efficient. Yes I know bringing in business is vital, but we did not want to get into that spiral where you end up busy being busy.
We could go out advertising and promoting the business, but when we do start getting enquiries, what then? We were not convinced that the systems that were in place would be able to handle a huge influx in business.
Now this is a bit of a catch 22. Of course you need to bring in business to keep it going, but this isnot the time to invest heavily into marketing. Word of mouth, contacting your friends and immediate networkis a cheap way of marketing ... use it!
One of the most regular and most tedious tasks carried out by the admin staff was quoting on print jobs. Sure there are probably many other areas that need attention, but all of those need to be taken care of, so may as well start with the most obvious, get that out the way and then move on to the next thing.
The business had previously invested in some supposedly sophisticated quoting software. The problem is that even the latest versions of this software was archaic ... in my opinion anyway! What had always been an acceptable process, very quickly becomes a big problem in your business. If you don't constantly review what you do in your business you may end up doing things very inefficiently. That wastes time, yours and your staff's. That costs you money!
It typically took me 10 to 15 minutes to produce a fairly simple quote with that system. Complex quotes would take an hour or more! If you get the job, you've already eaten into your profit. If you don't, you're losing money!
I spent much off my Christmas holiday developing a simple new web-based quoting system integrated into our CRM solution. Now it takes me no more than 15 to 30 seconds to look up a customer, generate the quote and email it to them. Not only does it save me a lot of time and money, it means we can keep our customers happy because they don't have to wait forever for quotes!
Now that took care of the simple quotes. Next week I'll probably tell you how I tamed the complex quotes!