Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Moving to A 7 Day Week - Small Business

A big consideration for business today is to utilise their resources to the full capacity, this not only includes staff but also physical assets; Buildings, Equipment and Stock. Having a traditional 9am till 5pm five days a week means your assets are being utilised for only 24% of the time you are paying for them. It also demonstrates that you are probably not reaching as many customers as you could, those who wish to use your services outside traditional office hours. In retail the idea of working around the clock is old hat, most towns now have a 24 hour shopping centre, staffed by part timers of varying degrees, with shift managers there to ensure everything is done correctly.

How would a small company compete, given that the initial likely return will be a lot less than a large organisation. The transition to longer working hours has to have some tangible benefit for you to move in that direction, there are a number of different ideas to consider, some will be pull techniques (increasing your customers) and some are push techniques (moving workload to those other periods).

Pull Techniques

Move Demand - Advertise the convenience of operating at these increased hours. Show customers how they can benefit from using your services, moving the existing customer base to new hours. This will facilitate the reduction of staff at peak times to pay for the staff to be available at the new increased hours. The graphs below demonstrates this point

.Attract New Business - Attracting new business that was previously unable or unwilling to use your service due to the operating hours is another good option. This would mean that they would need to know your new operating times, so consider a launch event, an advertising campaign or even a direct mailshot to previous enquirers.

Incentivise New Business - If you find new business slow on the uptake stack the cards in your favour, take a drop in your margin to help boost the demand. A perfect example of this is the Orange Wednesday campaign that is one of the most successful initiatives to get movie goers to the cinema on a Wednesday, a traditionally slow day.

Push Techniques

Move Non Essential Work- Paperwork, accounts, office admin, performance reviews, meetings and all other non customer generated workload can be moved to these additional operating times, making it easier for you to not feel like you are simply losing money by operating longer. Reducing the workload at peak times will also mean you could make workforce savings.

Add New Services - If you wish to expand then diversification is never a bad idea, taking on new projects, products or services will help to boost your income and it will also attract cross sales from new customers. Ensuring the offering is easily bolted on to your existing operation is essential.

Train Workforce - Utilise the first few months to train staff, working on their development during these quieter periods, either learning new skills or furthering existing ones. This helps both improve morale and encourage longevity as employees feel more loyalty to your business.

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