Improving the capability of your business

By improving and increasing your capabilities, you’ll have the building blocks in place to enable your business to grow. Whether you plan to expand internationally or increase your domestic capabilities, the following areas may require improvement.

People

Human resources should be your business’s greatest asset – the quality of your staff and their ability to get the work done will determine how successful your business will be. Improving their capabilities can only be good for your organization.

Facilitate a productive environment

Search thoroughly for the right person for each position, have comprehensive initial training so they gain confidence early, then ongoing training as their expertise grows or their role broadens. Facilitate the building of camaraderie between workers so they want to work together with each other to achieve your business’s goals.

Technology

With the rise of online technology, and increasingly fast and mobile web browsing, small business owners have more options than ever before to improve their business capability with online technology.

Online tools

There are many businesses that already run their entire operation online, while most have a web presence of some kind. Some of the tools that your business should consider adopting include:

  • Financial tools – bookkeeping software where your accounting information is stored in the cloud, invoicing and receipt tracking tools, and card readers for mobile payments are huge leaps in technology.
  • Communication tools – free Internet calls and video conferencing software like Skype have changed the game. It’s now cheaper and easier to speak with your suppliers, partners, customers, and distributors.
  • Tools for collaboration – project management and content management software online is abundant, such as Trello, Copper Project, or ProWorkflow. Hosting files in cloud storage, where other staff can access and contribute to it, is a growing trend.

Marketing

All businesses want to build awareness of their products or services. By reaching as many potential customers in your target market as possible, you’ll get the best results your business is capable of achieving.

Making full use of the Internet

The Internet is a powerful marketing tool that your business should be exploiting – the options for online marketing can seem endless. They include:

  • Semi-custom designed websites – web.com and Wix let you create your own website from premade templates.
  • E-mail marketing – sending your regular customers a monthly newsletter will encourage more sales.
  • Social media – communicating with your customers through a few social media channels is a necessity in today’s business world. There are plenty of options to choose between, such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Your marketing needs a strategy to combine what works for your business online with traditional marketing channels like print advertising, radio and trade shows.

Equipment

Growing your business requires keeping up with, or ahead of, the competition. Your fixed assets, especially the equipment that’s critical to getting your products or services to market, will need to be upgraded or improved over time.

If your equipment is out-dated, your productivity and efficiency will be affected. Consider the costs of any periods of downtime when your equipment fails, or how your computer systems may have slowed down over time. These delays reduce your ability to work to capacity – perhaps its time to upgrade as you aim for growth.

We can lend your business the finances to upgrade and increase your capabilities.

Strategic alliances

A strategic alliance is any cooperative agreement where businesses come together for a specific duration or project, to achieve their mutually beneficial objectives. Resources, skills and sometimes capital are pooled together for mutual gain.

According to Industry Canada, international evidence suggests that strategic alliances have been on the rise for several decades. This makes sense in our increasingly global economy.

Benefits of strategic alliances

Despite the benefits, strategic alliance partnerships can fail without careful consideration by both parties. You need to:

  • Select your partners carefully.
  • Be clear about your expectations and desired outcome.
  • Communicate – ensure information is clear and readily available.
  • Set specific timelines – test the water with initial deadlines that shouldn’t be missed.
  • Establish exit clauses – agree on an exit strategy should the alliance fail to work.
  • Celebrate your successes – remember to take moments to enjoy your mutual accomplishments.

By improving some areas of your staff management, adopting online technologies, making full use of online marketing channels, and upgrading equipment, your business will be capable of continued growth. Perhaps even a strategic alliance is the way forward.