If you are a business owner, even a very ambitious one, you may find that it can be tempting sometimes to simply rest on your laurels. After all, things are going well–don’t you deserve a break? But it’s time like these that are the best for taking a look at your business and thinking about what you might need to do differently or where you need to apply extra pressure. The points below are all ones to consider during what are, relatively speaking, down times.
1. Improve Your Fleet Management
Having a fleet of vehicles and drivers can add a layer of complexity to your business. There are essentially three related areas you need to consider: safety, reducing costs, and compliance. For the first, you may want to consider installing dash cams if you haven’t done so already. There are Samsara cameras that can boost the safety of your vehicles, allowing you to monitor driver behavior and make adjustments as needed.
Dash cams offer a measurable return on investment, which is a factor in point two, cost reduction. Looking at ways to reduce fuel and other costs, streamline maintenance and stay on top of compliance might lead you to software that allows more comprehensive fleet management and that takes some of the burden of paperwork off your drivers. Attending to the overall health of your fleet as a business owner is an invaluable use of your time and is definitely a project to be tackled if you haven’t done so already.
2. Look for Leaders
This is also a great time to identify who among your employees has real potential. When things are frantic and you’re in a reactive mode, this can be tough to do. When things are quiet, you have time to sit down with your staff and get a sense of who you might want to mentor, who is going the extra mile and who is especially good in certain areas, whether that’s managing people, dealing with data, or just keeping the office running smoothly.
Some of the current top HR trends are geared towards exactly that.
Try to schedule one-on-ones with employees to chat with them about their department, their needs, and their vision for their own career and their future with your company. This can help create a culture of communication and openness. Consider whether it be useful to create training or educational opportunities for them. Here are some other things to consider. Should you be doing more delegating? Is there a talented person on your staff who is underutilized? Do you see areas where improvement is needed? What kind of ideas do your employees have? You will likely come away with some valuable data even if you don’t act on it immediately.
3. Check Out the Competition
Just because you knew what the competition was up to when you launched your business or even a few months ago doesn’t mean you are on top of now. A lull is a good time to see what your competitors are doing, figure out if you can learn from it and think about if you might need to shift your strategy in response to that. Even if nothing significant has changed, you might want to consider whether you need to expand your marketing strategy.
Do you need to launch or upgrade a digital marketing plan? Have you built a strong social media presence for your business? Is there an audience that would welcome your product or service that you should try to reach? Come up with a plan and a specific set of criteria that will help you measure whether you are successful.
4. Set Goals
One of the most important things you can do during this time is take a look at your goals.
In a bigger sense, you should take a look at your company’s mission statement and think about whether you remain on track to fulfill it. If not, do you need to revise it? If so, do your goals still support it? What kind of progress have you made on reaching them? It may be time to set new goals. This is another good thing to talk to your employees about. Find out what challenges people are dealing with and get feedback on the direction they think their department or the company overall should take. This doesn’t mean that you need to follow every suggestion, but this will give you a good picture of what some people who are engaged with some of your company’s processes on a daily basis think need to be done.
You could also take this time to reach out to your customers or clients and see what they have to say. Put together surveys and offer incentives for those who respond. With the information that you have gathered, examine whether it’s time to create new goals. If you do make new ones, be sure that they are concrete, have a time frame attached them and have a way for you to measure your progress built in to them. You might think in terms of using them to push your boundaries, to take new risks after a period of complacency.
5. Look at Your Finances
This is also not a bad time to look much more closely at your finances. How you approach this will vary based on the size and complexity of your business. You may need to work with financial professionals in order to do this, or it might be something you can do on your own. Even if you run a very small business, you may be surprised at how easy it is to lose track of day-to-day finances. Consider how much you are bringing in and what is going out.
Does your cash flow look healthy? How much do you have on hand if your business took a dip, or you just had trouble collecting on some invoices? Take a look at your costs as well.
Are there places where you could reduce them? Alternately, you might realize this is the time to spend more. Maybe you need to recruit more employees or give some of the current ones a rise. Perhaps there is office equipment that needs an upgrade or other expenditures that are necessary at this time.