In business it’s often tempting to focus on the big ambitious projects. But it’s important to remember that small efforts really add up
In the sporting world, they talk about marginal gains. In business, we often talk about incremental changes. Each expression points to achieving success in a big way through the implementation of small initiatives. For instance, just how did Team GB’s Olympic champions manage to shave tenths of seconds off world records? In cycling much has been made of the tweaking of equipment, tactics and even clothing in order to achieve outstanding results.
So how can we adapt and apply the same formula to our businesses? To begin with, attracting new customers is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones, depending on which study you read and which industry you’re in. This means customer satisfaction has to be a priority in developing a thriving, sustainable brand.
Another way to get big returns from a small-time investment is actively inviting your customers to post feedback on the good service they’ve received. This takes seconds at the end of each job but can have a positive impact on future sales because it’s a powerful advertising tool. You could even consider giving a member of the team responsibility for responding to and dealing with customer service issues to ensure consistency.
Negotiate bulk buying discounts with all your suppliers and seek ways to speed up your supply chain. A good example of this is demonstrated in our business. We offer a same-day fitting service so it’s helpful to establish a variety of collection points where our franchise owners can pick up tyres from our suppliers for last minute orders, instead of having to return to base or turn down work.
Other cost cutting measures that only take a bit of time to organise but will almost certainly boost your bottom line include: going paperless; changing insurance providers; shopping around for better deals on essentials such as printing and reviewing standing orders that have been in place for years but aren’t earning their money. Some of these examples are just basic common sense – but just because something is easy doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort.
Champion cyclist Laura Trott, who became the most decorated British female Olympian of all time in Rio this summer, revealed that focusing on pushing her belly out when breathing in helped steady her nerves before a race. Meanwhile, back in the 1980s, American Airlines famously removed a single, insignificant olive from every salad served to passengers and saved the company $40,000 a year. So don’t be afraid to think big and always remember: little things can add up to make a massive difference.