Review your operations for improvement

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Even some small businesses rely on factories. If you are one of those small businesses, then it is in your best interests to ensure that your factory works as productively as possible. There are always places to improve and the list below has some good starting points. 

Review How You’re Working
Before you can figure out where you’re going, you need to know where you are. Most factory operations, while “managed” when they first get up and running, grow organically. That is, they tend to fall into whatever’s most convenient. This is rarely what’s most productive! So take a look at how you’re currently doing things. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, or you’re too close to the factory to see things clearly, then you can hire an outside expert to take a look at things. You might be making some basic, fundamental errors that are easy to switch up, but you won’t know for sure until you take a look.

Staff Improvements
Your staff is the backbone of your factory operations and the better trained they are, the better the outcomes and output. This begins by making sure that you hire the best staff for your advertised positions. But even hiring the best won’t cut it: you need to provide them with the training they need to work to the highest level. Also, get feedback from your staff. They work on the shop floor all day, and will know things that you don’t know or can’t know.

Get Speedy
Time is money and you should know what the price of every delay and slow down is to your bottom line. Sometimes, it’s as simple as your staff taking too long taking goods from point A to point B, and it’s not their fault. It’s could be that your factory isn’t set up to work so in a quick manner. You’ll want to have surfaces with casters, so your staff can quickly transport heavy goods from one place to another. It’ll also make sense to group your most commonly used items nearby to where they’re used. It might seem like it only saves a minute, but those minutes add up when spread over a year or more!

Automate Where You Can
You won’t want to automate too much, as there’s value in having workers on the shop floor. Indeed, in some cases, automation may prove to be more trouble than it’s worth. But there will be some space for automation. It’s all about adding subtle automation processes to help the worker and save time. If done correctly, it could increase productivity. 

A Clear Working Space
Finally, remember to keep things clear! Factories can be messy places, but there are a lot of benefits to keeping things clear. It’s much easier to work effectively when there’s no clutter around the place.

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Future Proofing Your Business

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Being able to plan for the future is something not everyone can do, especially when it comes to running a company. You need to have foresight, a good grip on the market and the ability to keep up with all the trends. You must do all of those while figuring out how you and your business fit into the market and trends.  If you know where you are now, and where you’d like to be in five years, you can figure out what steps you should take to get there.

We’ve touched on this subject in the past, but the market has changed even more over the years. New technology is always emerging and new best practices and standards are evolving. 

Let Software Do the Heavy Lifting
When we think of the future, we think of robots and cars that run at the speed of light! But in business, we can worry about everything that can change that’ll make making a profit day by day a lot harder, especially for the little guy. Keep this kind of situation in mind, but don’t let yourself worry too much about it; there’s a lot of things you can do.

Times change, and as they do, so do laws and legislation. And because of this, it can be hard to keep your business in line with government regulations and being able to operate under different regimes. But when you’ve got an automated process on your side, something that can be easily offered with software like bpms, you’ve got a sure ticket to the future.

Look at What You Have, Then Improve It
If you’ve got a product that already works for your customer base, don’t assume it’s going to keep on working. People’s needs change as time does as well, so you always need to anticipate the changes that are coming, and how you can fit yourself into them. Constantly innovating a product can be a real drain on resources, so plan out stages for when and where and how you can make a change in what you offer.

Whether it’s five or ten years from now doesn’t matter, as long as you’re following what the market you’re serving wants, and what your product, specifically, can do to fit these ever-growing gaps. The customer might not know what they want, which is a great opportunity for you to help them and guide them toward your product if it is the best fit.

Future proofing can be daunting but it is always worth it.

How To Answer Calls Professionally As A Home Business Owner

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Answering phone calls is part and parcel of your life as a business owner. For regular business owners, there’s usually a receptionist who answers everything for you. But, when you run a small business from home, you may not have this luxury. Below are a few tips to help make sure you are making the most of your phone time and resources. 

Get A Real Business Number

Before someone even picks up the phone to call you, they can be left with a pretty bad impression of your home business. It’s vital that you have a proper business number for them to call, rather than your mobile or landline. There are services out there that offer 1800 numbers hosting for businesses like yours. With this, you will have a professional 800 business number for people to key into their phones and call up. As if by magic, you’ve made a great first impression.

Forward All Calls To Your Mobile Device

Even though you now have a professional number for people to call, you have to ensure that you answer as many calls as can be. Set this up so calls are forwarded to your mobile phone. Carry it around with you, and you should miss as few calls as possible. It also prevents instances where someone in your house picks up the phone to answer it, which can damage your reputation as a professional company. Always make sure you have a good signal when you answer calls as well, this will make a huge difference.

Start Every Call With A Professional Greeting

Instead of just answering your calls with a simple “hello” or “hello, who is this?”, you should have a professional greeting that you use every time. It can just be “Hello this is (the name of your business) how may I help you today?.” It’s an effortless change, but it immediately makes the call more professional. Also, it helps if you have a separate mobile device just for your business calls. This means you know that everyone calling that phone is a potential customer so you can give them the greeting.

Set Up An Answering Machine Service

If you can’t pick up the phone, then the last thing you want is for clients to just hang up and leave. They will do this unless you have an answering machine service in place. Give them a chance to leave messages, and you can call them back right away. It may not seem like it, but this really makes a difference.

Hopefully, this advice can help you create a more professional representation of your company whenever someone gives you a call. It all starts with the actual number they call you on, the manner in which you answer the phone, and so on. Try and get to as many calls as possible, but have a failsafe in place just in case you can’t.

Wix Answers offers businesses solutions

Whether you’re a solopreneur or a growing business part of participating in the modern economy is answering customer and potential customer questions. This becomes difficult when the questions come in at all hours of the day and night and no one wants to wait for an answer.

You might think you aren’t a big enough company to have a customer support solution on your website or that adding help desk software. 

would be out of your budget. This was completely true before Wix Answers.

Wix Answers is a free help center, call center and entire ticketing system in one integrated platform. Wix Answers is even free if you don’t have a Wix website!

Plus, it is really easy to set up and customize to align with your brand. It can be as simple as choosing from one of the Wix Answers templates, adding a few articles and clicking save. You don’t need extensive HTML, CSS or IT knowledge to have a robust help center.

Content added to Wix Answers is easy to maintain, fully linked and integrated to your website and specifications. Documenting and sharing knowledge with your customers has never been easier.

With Wix Answers you don’t have to worry about accidentally publishing an article just because you want to see what it will look like. You will be able to preview any and all changes in draft mode before you publish.

There are five main elements of Wix Answers:

  1. Knowledge Base: As a business owner, no one knows your business better than you. This part might be the most time consuming because translating all the details about your business and the questions you innately know the answers to onto paper can be hard, but once you do this, you won’t have to start from a blank piece of paper again. You can create and manage your tutorials, guides, FAQs and more in one place. This way, your customers can find answers to questions and read helpful articles all within your help center. Creating a stand-alone article is as easy as publishing a blog post with Wix Answers. Plus, you will be able to see exactly what articles your customers ask for and what articles need improvements.

  2. Ticketing System: You might not think you have enough incoming questions to warrant a ticketing system, but you shouldn’t overlook this option. This is an easy way to have all of your customer questions in one place even if the question originally came over the phone or from Facebook. You can answer all of your customer questions through the Wix Answers platform. You can also label and track each ticket for reference and internal communication.

  3. Call Center: Sometimes the easiest way to get an answer is by picking up the phone and making a call to talk to someone. The downside is you might not be available when that call comes in. With Wix Answers you can have your very own customer service call centerwith an 800 number. Customers can also request a call back at a time that works better for you.

  4. Support Widget: You can easily embed a widget into any part of your website to give customers access to your knowledge base articles, tutorials and directly link to your ticketing system. This lets customers easily see how they can reach you with questions or concerns. They won’t have to scroll to the end of the page or hunt and peck risking the customer giving up.

  5. Actionable Insights: This is the most exciting feature available in Wix Answers. You’re collecting data on what your customers want, need and have questions about. These insights will let you see ticket response times, customer satisfaction ratings and trends in the support experience from the customer side. You can use these insights to make changes to improve your relationship with your customers, track your business progress and made business decisions based on data instead of just intuition.

In just five steps you can get started with Wix Answers quickly and easily.
Step one: Sign up to Wix Answers
Step two: Enter the name of your business.
Step three: Pick your primary language.
Step four: Choose your Wix Answers URL.
Step five: Begin customizing your help center by adding articles to your knowledge base and configuring your support channels.

That’s it!

The highlights of what Wix Answers includes are:

  • Fully branded Help Center
  • Ticketing system with multi-channel support
  • Built-in Call Center – Customers can also request a callback
  • As an added bonus, there is built-in SEO to help boost your results in the main search engines.  

In summary, Wix Answers is a useful solution for businesses of all shapes and sizes even if you don’t have a Wix website. The branding options create a seamless integration to help reinforce your brand as customers are seeking assistance. Ultimately, Wix Answers will help you build better, longer lasting relationships with your customers.

How To Make Your Home Business Appear Bigger

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

There are lots of articles out there that tell people starting businesses to work from home during the early stages. However, that creates some issues for business owners might not anticipate. When you work from an office, you have lots of space to welcome visitors and hire team members. The same is not true when you clear out a spare bedroom and make it into a home office. If you want to make the most out of your home business consider finding creative solutions to make your business seem bigger. 

Reserve meeting rooms when you need them
There is no getting away from the fact that you will need to meet with potential clients and customers from time to time. Whatever happens, do not ask those people to come to your home because that can make a bad first impression. Instead, you should search online for local meeting rooms that you can rent like those at Meeting Rooms and other sites. Many office buildings that host multiple companies will have spaces for people in your position. You can usually rent the meeting rooms by the hour, and so you won’t have to break the bank to make sure you appear as professional as possible.

Consider paying for a virtual receptionist
Specialists like those working for Virtual Headquarters focus their efforts on providing expert receptionist services to people in your position. The last thing you want to do is answer the business phone every time it rings because you don’t have enough time to deal with all that correspondence. So, you should hire a virtual receptionist who can answer your calls and deal with all matters a regular receptionist would handle. The advantage is that you don’t have to employ anyone or provide a full-time salary. You can use the receptionists as and when you need them.

Know when to outsource
Outsourcing receptionist duties is a wise move, but there are plenty of other jobs you could hand over to the experts too. For instance, many people in your position will outsource tasks like accounting, marketing (consider us, J & A Creative, for all of our marketing and branding needs), and customer service. That helps to ensure you never have to hire a permanent assistant, and you benefit from the knowledge of specialists. Marketing and customer service are the two most critical areas in which outsourcing will come in useful. If you fail to get those endeavors right, there is a reasonable chance your new business will never succeed.

Now you know how to make your home business appear bigger there is a chance you will see your business pick up speed. Of course, lots of people decide to work from home during the early stages and then expand when they begin to make a profit. That approach is excellent too! Just pick the one that works best for you and your specific circumstances. Err on the side of conducting more research, creating a plan for the future and doing the work!