3 Key Steps to Make Your Business More Efficient and More Profitable

The Covid-19 pandemic has arguably imposed more challenges to the way companies have done business than any other single event in living memory, if not longer. Whilst the external pressures on a business have increased, many enterprises are still handicapping themselves by not building-in even the most basic system efficiencies. By effectively managing and prioritizing your business’ inputs, most particularly the labor-hours of you and your senior team, you can release greater outputs and ultimately revenue.

Related: Manage Your Company More Efficiently with This 22-Course Project Management Training

Here are three key principles for optimising efficiency, to release your business from self-imposed constraints, in 2021.

1. You are not a manager, you are a leader

Leadership and Management are both the same, right? Wrong, couldn’t be more wrong – stop it! Warren Bennis, Professor of Business Administration and an Organisational Consultant is quoted as an opening: “The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it

Even this simple change of mindset will release you from one of the most pervasive inefficiencies in business. If you see yourself as a manager you are strategically no better than a caretaker, taking what you have and merely preserving it. Entrepreneurship rests on the foundation of leadership: identifying a business’s strengths and weaknesses, implementing positive change whilst taking others on the journey with you. Use the ‘Plan’ ‘Do’ ‘See’ ‘Act’ system. Develop an efficientcy idea, trial it, review and then roll it out for system-wide effectiveness

True leadership has a compounding effect on efficiency. If you identify yourself as a leader you will improve your business through efficiencies. If you teach your team that they are leaders too, then they will identify efficiencies upon efficiencies at every level in your business.

Related: 10 Awesome Tips for Being a Better Leader

2. Get lean

Taiichi Ohno, founder of the Toyota Production System which gave rise to ‘Lean’ working said when asked about Lean thinking: “All we are doing is looking at the timeline, from the moment the customer gives us an order to the point when we collect the cash. And we are reducing the timeline by reducing the non-value adding wastes”

The key question here is ‘What are the things you are doing that people won’t pay for, and why are you still doing them?’. (1) Identify what your client wants, (2) identify what workflows are required to bring about the client’s goals and (3) automate the ‘system pull’ so that (1) naturally flows, without bottlenecks, from (2). Waste can arise from a range of sources including over-processing, unnecessary motion of goods and staff, and simple erroneous thinking within system design. Cut it out, because no one is paying you for it, but be careful not to inadvertently devalue your brand by dehumanizing your process

Related: How to Apply Lean Principles to Your Startup’s Productivity and Time Management

3. Invest in real business efficiency review

Kevin Zhang, the eCommerce entrepreneur behind HEMPX clothing brand and the Branded Niche eCommerce (‘BNE’) approach, has a unique way to ensure business efficiency is at the heart of his business. Every month, Kevin spends one-week logging everything that he did that week, hour by hour, and then closely examines any inefficiencies. Kevin looks at his schedule and determines which activities are high value-add and which can be automated through hiring new talent.

The difference between a successful start-up and a scaled-up business is the development of systems to build growth on the foundation of a verified concept. The University of Oxford identifies scalable infrastructure as one of the three key requirements for a business to move to the next level, alongside strong leadership and appropriate marketing. This includes IT systems and production or manufacturing systems, as well as office space and workforce arrangements. If a business owner is spending all of their time in the weeds of their business rather than constantly thinking about growth, then, of course, their business is not going to grow.

Related: 7 Key Steps to a Growth Strategy That Works Immediately

A focus and commitment to removing inefficiency is like removing shackles from a business’s potential. It requires courageous leadership, and ability to identify what your client needs and supply that in the most streamlined fashion, and a willingness to stop and take stock to ensure you are using your time effectively to guide your business in the right direction.

By: Samuel leach / Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor Director of Samuel & Co Trading

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TakingTheBiz

In this revision tutorial for A level Business students we examine how to improve the efficiency of a business by improving its labour productivity. Efficiency and labour productivity are topics on the new A level Business specifications for Edexcel, AQA and OCR. TakingTheBiz is a channel dedicated to A level Business revision. See more of our videos: http://www.youtube.com/c/TakingTheBiz…​ Stay in touch with TakingTheBiz via social media: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TakingTheBiz/​ Twitter: https://twitter.com/TakingTheBiz​ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/takingthebiz/

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Can the Reemergence of European Travel Save Us From The Worst of the Recession?

Europe is on the verge of an economic crisis that hasn’t been seen for almost a century if forecasts from the EU’s Commission prove correct. 

The anticipated decline of economic activity looks set to reach 7.5 percent due to the widespread chaos caused by COVID-19. Figures are set to fall further should the second wave of infections occur before the pandemic subsides. 

Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, called the coming recession “a shock without precedent since the Great Depression”.

However, The arrival of news that the reemergence of international travel could resume by as early as July 1st, sent European stocks rebounding by as much as 7 percent. Elsewhere, shares in TUI rose by as much as 35 percent, while British Airways’ owners jumped 20 percent. 

As a continent that’s built on a vibrant travel and tourism industry, could the reopening of borders help to save Europe from the worst of the inevitable global recession? 

Quantifying the value of European tourism.

Europe is the continent that gains the most money from tourism across the world. With over 600 million tourists that were initially forecast to arrive on the continent in 2020, it’s perhaps no surprise that Spain’s foreign minister is battling to achieve a common EU policy on cross-border movement as the summer months arrive. 

Spain has announced that tourists arriving from July 1st will be free to enjoy the country without facing enforced quarantine measures. Despite being something of a risky move considering the voracity of COVID-19 and the devastation it’s caused in the national capital of Madrid, Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez has announced his desire that Spain opens reciprocal “safe corridors” between European countries that minimise the risk of Coronavirus flare-ups. 

In 2019, tourism brought over EUR 9.4 billion to Spain – amounting to over 12 percent of the nation’s GDP. The importance of establishing an avenue for tourists to enjoy the country during the peak summer months of 2020 could be significant in saving the domestic economy from turmoil and providing a platform to grow from. 

The announcement that Spain was planning to salvage its lucrative tourism season was leapt upon by global airlines, with Ryanair announcing that it was intending to run flights at up to 40 percent of its usual schedule in order to transport tourists to Spain and other European destinations. 

Could a galvanised tourism industry bring European investment opportunities?

The reemergence of tourism in Europe, if successful, could bring levels of investment opportunities that had seemed long dead and buried during the height of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Global work-from-home schemes and furlough initiatives have left a significant number of employees worldwide with an income that they’ve been unable to spend in social scenarios. While it’s reasonable to expect some citizens to be cautious about flying in confined spaces following months of lockdowns, it’s fair to expect huge volumes of tourism should their safety be guaranteed. https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Growing confidence in European tourism has led to a 24 percent boost to the share price of Melia Hotels, Spain’s largest hotel operator, while International Consolidated Airlines Group, the parent company of Iberia Air and Vueling saw price increases of 10 percent. 

To assess the respective value of European tourism markets and whether they’re likely to yield respectable returns, it’s important to come to terms with the risks associated

While a vibrant return to tourism would benefit European markets ahead of other continents, it’s important to remember the severity of Coronavirus in its spread across the popular summer tourism destinations and cities. With Spain, Italy and the UK collectively suffering from the worst of outbreaks, a dash to accommodate tourism represents a huge risk that may never be taken. 

The coming months will likely see further market optimism as more European nations declare their intentions for reviving their tourism industry in some form, ready for the hugely lucrative summer months, and investors could benefit from healthy returns should hotels and airlines successfully begin to accommodate guests from July onwards. 

Could tourism save Europe from a deep recession?

It’s clear that the coming months and years will send Europe into a recession of unprecedented proportions, with much of the world following suit. The full scale of devastation will be dictated by consumer spending and governmental initiatives to stage a recovery. 

Nations have turned their attentions towards opening their respective doors in time for the peak tourism season. If consumers are confident enough in their safety, and there are no further outbreaks, the spending of money on summer holidays will be a significant help in softening the initial impact of significant losses in productivity across the continent. https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

The loss of tourism across Europe in the summer of 2020 will be a huge blow to the wealth of a continent that largely hinges on welcoming huge numbers of visitors from around the world. While it’s clear that a vibrant peak holidaying season won’t prevent a significant recession, it will go some way in boosting the GDP of hard-hit countries and restore investor confidence in an industry that was reportedly facing widespread cutbacks owing to months of inactivity due to lockdown measures. 

The future is undoubtedly difficult for a lot of international markets, and talks of a return to tourism could be dangerously premature, but ultimately travel could help to cushion the impact of an unprecedented economic downturn.

Dmytro Spilka

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer CEO and Founder of Solvid and Pridicto

Lessons of Lockdown: What Creative Freelancers Will Be Doing Differently When Things Return To Normal

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Over the last two weeks, our entire world as we know it has been turned upside down in a bid to protect the NHS and save lives. Although we’re happy to do our bit, it’s especially tricky for freelancers and small businesses in the creative industries, as often the first thing to be cut is marketing.

A lot of the design, illustration, photography and copywriting that keeps our clients ticking over is on hold and we don’t know when they’ll be hiring us again. For some of you, outstanding invoices haven’t yet been paid, and you’re wondering how long this will continue.

Rather than focus on what we can’t control, many of you are finding ways to adapt and survive. You’re refreshing your portfolios, approaching your network, starting side projects, and refusing to let the current situation stop you from staying positive and afloat.

We’re learning many lessons and are taking this time to reflect. We’re asking the question, how will we do things differently when all this has blown over? I asked Twitter about some of these lessons to share them here and help all of us be prepared in future.

1. Save, save, save

We’ve always said it at Creative Boom: have a healthy reserve of cash before you go freelance. There will be moments of quiet and you’ll need to be ready for them. However, no one could’ve predicted COVID-19 or the current lockdown. No one. If you’re struggling, first of all: don’t be hard on yourself if you’ve not got enough savings (you are not alone); just make sure you priorities having money in the bank in future.

“I’ve always had a bit of a buffer, by over-saving for tax and things,” says web designer Dave Smyth. “That’s seen me through quieter periods and times of prolonged interruption (like paternity ‘leave’), but something like this is quite different: there’s no endpoint, and it affects everyone.”

2. Change the way you get paid

Sick of waiting 30 days for payment? Yes, we are, too. It doesn’t have to be this way. You can choose how and when you get paid. “Make your payment terms work for you,” says London-based photographer Ameena Rojee.

“Even before coronavirus, my payment terms were 14 days after delivery because I thought to wait for an entire month was just ridiculous. I’m now requesting payment within seven days and also ask for a % on photoshoot completion, and the last % on delivery. I’ve surprisingly had very little kickback.”

Ameena makes an excellent point: start asking for payment in stages – how many depends on the length of a project. A deposit upfront might be all you need for smaller jobs. But if you expect the work to continue for months, then it’s not unusual to request payment as you go along. Manage expectations before any project begins, so your client fully understands how you like to be paid.

3. Remember that clients are human, too

“Be kind and human to clients, at all times,” says freelance graphic designer and web developer, Simon Minter. “You never know what individuals may be going through (even when not in a situation like we’re in right now). No need to treat them simply as the one that pays your invoices or gives you difficult feedback.”

It’s a valid point. We’re all in the same boat, so try not to make assumptions or forget that your client will be struggling too. In which case, pick up the phone and chat with them. If they can’t pay your invoice now, what could they afford to spend? Could they do it in stages? If they still need support, what can you do to help but at a reduced cost? Anything is better than nothing, right? And they’ll remember your kindness and loyalty when things return to normal.

4. Be more cautious about new clients

“I won’t be starting any work until the initial invoice has been paid,” says graphic designer Karen Arnott. “I won’t be coy with my pricing, either. I won’t work with people who don’t value design. I’ll be more assertive with scope creep and price chasers. And I won’t work with clients who use phrases like ‘quick job’ or ‘it won’t take you long’.”

Karen probably shares what we’ve all been thinking: we’ve got fire in our bellies. We’ve had time to think about what’s important and the bullsh*t we won’t be putting up with moving forward.

5. Find a better balance

The slower pace and chance to work from home have meant that many of us are finding balance like never before. “I will be working on getting a better work/life balance, take more afternoons off and enjoy long weekends to appreciate the outside world,” remarks Ellen Forster.

Creative Director Neil A Evans agrees: “Remember, you might love what you do: but you can’t burn the candle at both ends indefinitely. You will burn out. Making time to recharge your creative batteries, giving yourself thinking time, time for admin, time for eating and exercise and family and friends, is important.”

Writer Joan Westenberg adds: “I won’t be letting work overcome my boundaries to consume and define me. And I’ll be finding purpose outside of it all.”

6. Develop more income streams

In times such as these, it becomes apparent that we shouldn’t have all our eggs in one basket. “As creatives, we are frequently encouraged to be more niche or focused, and I often worried I had too many small revenue streams,” says illustrator Niki Groom. “But it’s been my saviour, I’ve switched all attention to my online shop, and it’s bringing me an income. I trade as a limited company, so don’t get government support.”

Writer Luc Benyon reminds us that: “Your biggest asset is not necessarily your product, but your expertise. When the delivery of your product is under threat, you can always find a new way to monetize your skills and knowledge.”

You have to adapt, expand your skills and find out new ways to make money. “I’ve diversified the writing services I offer and developed virtual ones like Skype-based consultations,” says writer and singer-songwriter Miranda Dickinson. “All of my income came from book sales, most of them physical, and author events, so the move to e-sales and virtual events has had to be swift to provide any income.”

7. Learn to say ‘no’ without guilt

Now we have all this time to step back and reconsider, many of us are realizing that we’re not happy in some aspects of our work. We might feel like we’ve been on a treadmill for too long and are craving change.

“If the work isn’t what you want to do or if it doesn’t add value to your portfolio, if the client has previously been trouble, or if you’re concerned in any way about getting paid fairly – don’t be afraid to say no,” says Neil A Evans. “Saying ‘no’ is empowering for small business owners.”

Writer Becca Magnus adds: “I’ll be doing work that feels genuinely human, different and empathetic. Marching to the beat of my own drum rather than copying anyone else.” It’s this fighting spirit and determination to gain back some integrity that we can all resonate with right now.

8. Continue to be efficient where possible

“We’re hoping that more of our clients will carry on video calling rather than insisting on client meetings,” says Ben Mainwaring, a digital marketer from Northampton. “It’s way more efficient and productive than spending six hours a week driving to meetings.”

We couldn’t agree more. Many of you are also providing virtual consulting, too. Some at discount rates compared to face-to-face. It’s a no-brainer and follows the growing eagerness to be more upfront and confident about how we run our businesses, how we get paid and what our expectations are for a healthy client relationship.

You might also be considering cutting costs elsewhere, now that you’ve seen how much you save from not having a co-working membership; nevermind the commuting!

9. Don’t forget your own PR and marketing

“It’s important to work on your website or marketing right now. Company marketing/PR spend will most probably be reduced even when this is done, so you need to be on top versus your competitors to get what work will be out there,” says Elizabeth Wilson, a freelance copywriter in Australia.

Elizabeth is right. What better time to focus on our websites? I’ve just overhauled my PR agency, Boomerang, bringing a new brand identity to life on an existing Squarespace theme. It was supposed to be built on a bespoke platform, but we’ve never found the time. With lockdown continuing, it suddenly doesn’t matter. What can you do today to improve your brand, copy, website, portfolio, marketing materials?

Still not convinced? We’ll leave you with these wise words from graphic designer Rob Birkenhead: “As an old boss of mine used to say… When the going gets tough, the tough get marketing.”

10. Get more secure, ongoing work

“I want to find more retainers to balance out the uncertainty,” says Sally Wanless, an illustrator, designer and photographer based in Edinburgh. It’s a valid point: how can we, as creatives, become so indispensable that our clients don’t just drop us the minute trouble strikes?

You need to find ways to keep things ticking over. If you’re a web designer, could you provide web hosting and ongoing site maintenance? If you’re a designer, what can you do that your clients will always need? If you write for a living, shouldn’t your client maintain its blog?

Could it be worth reminding your clients right now about the importance of marketing, especially when their own competition might be cutting back? Start with a small retainer and know that you can always increase it, should things change.

By:

Source: https://www.creativeboom.com

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The Growing Importance of Utilizing eCommerce in Europe Ahead of a Recession

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Oftentimes in the business world, change is forced by necessity. The havoc wreaked by COVID-19 has sent shockwaves throughout world economies and the coming months look set to bring a recession that will dwarf the 2008 financial crisis.

European markets will be among the hardest hit by financial hardship in the coming months. As the continent that’s been significantly affected by the COVID pandemic, international trading and production have largely ground to a hal–leaving brick-and-mortar businesses hamstrung by the circumstances.

It’s imperative that businesses continue to find revenue in spite of the restrictive climate. So it’s perhaps no surprise that 20 percent of micro-businesses in the UK have already set themselves up with an online presence for the first time in a bid to innovate their way to survival. According to Business Matters, a further 45 percent have turned to social media, and almost half have stated that they’ve improved their online capabilities.

As Europe faces up to a period of sustained hardship, an already competitive retail landscape will see widespread losses. The importance of businesses making a successful and productive transition into eCommerce is vital–but it’s also full of hurdles to overcome from both a mechanical and marketing point of view.

Recreating digital rapports.

Taking the step of transitioning into a solely digital business isn’t limited to micro-businesses. The Financial Times has reported on a number of prestigious brands attempting to recreate in-store customer experiences online.

bitmax2Brands and retailers have taken different approaches to maintain contact with customers despite the interruption of lockdown measures. Many brands have looked to social media platforms, where companies have the potential to engage directly with their target audiences and generate interest digitally.

Omega and Zenith have both utilized Instagram Live to hold ‘Speedy Tuesday Live’ and ‘On Air’ events respectively that help consumers interact directly with brand ambassadors and partners as if they were in a brick-and-mortar store.

Elsewhere, brands like Cartier launched a new website for the purpose of showcasing their new designs, while Breitling live-streamed a presentation fronted by Mr Kern, who explained: “We had huge visibility from it – in the hundreds of thousands. Our server imploded and we had to move to YouTube.”

Indeed, visibility has become essential in the online practices of all companies across Europe and beyond at a time where physical locations will remain largely closed and austerity may soon occur.

Building appeal in wider markets.

Europe is facing its worst-ever recession, reports the New York Times. With forecasts of a 7.4 percent economic collapse, it’s inevitable that there will be widespread bankruptcy and unemployment.  With borders remaining closed to visitors, businesses can find new customers by developing a digital presence that can cater to wider markets.

Strategising a transition toward digital marketing can be tricky for small businesses, and it’s important to pay attention to data before attempting to connect with customers. Given the level of competition that’s arriving online for many similar businesses, it’s imperative to work on an online strategy that can help to identify and cater to target markets.

With the physical closure of marketplaces, many businesses’ online visibility will hinge on the content they create and their categorisation by search engines like Google. Creating eye-catching and engaging content can make a significant difference to the marketing efforts of an online business. The use of keywords can help Google to categorise content and display topics that are relevant directly to customers in order to attract them to the right website to make a purchase before they’re drawn to that of a competitor.

Making your social presence felt.

The appeal of social media for businesses looking to grow their presence online is vast. In the first half of 2020, as many as 3.5 billion people have been clocked logging into social media platforms on a daily or weekly basis. Such mind-boggling figures show that it’s essential for businesses to utilise these platforms in the time of recession.

Once again, organic presence can play a significant role in positioning a business directly in front of the right customers at the right time. This is because searchable, keyworded content can work wonders in drawing in audiences, while hashtagging and social sharing are both excellent ways for helping a company to go viral.

An emerging trope for modern companies is to enlist the support of “influencers” who will actively promote products or services to their huge network of followers, at a cost. The more organic approach of actively engaging with customers and upholding their satisfaction levels can be optimised through social media, too.

Adapting to survive.

Europe is faced with a testing series of months and years before a full recovery can be achieved if it’s at all possible.

The survival of businesses will hinge on their adaptability in stepping away from traditional brick and mortar stores and transitioning into digital markets that can interact and sell to customers around Europe and the rest of the world.

Building an online presence is key, and enlisting some SEO tactics can go a long way in making a company more visible online. In a hyper-competitive marketplace, it’s never been more important to evolve and adapt to keep ahead of the competition.

Dmytro Spilka

By:

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/

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Apr.28 — European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Paolo Gentiloni discusses the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and plans for a European Union recovery fund. He speaks with Bloomberg’s Francine Lacqua on “Bloomberg Surveillance.”
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