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Disorganization affects productivity, efficiency and employee morale. It damages relationships with customers and can become a huge financial burden to businesses. There is a direct link between a failing business and disorganization. Small businesses can only compete with larger rivals if they are more efficient, flexible and able to meet customer needs. In order to be professional and retain customers, a business must be organized and responsive.

Audit your business

If you don’t measure it, you cannot fix it. If you do not have the skills to do it, get somebody in to have a look at your business and report on inefficiencies and areas of concern. Break down your business in specific areas: customers, employees, finances, market share, growth (or lack of). In other words, high-level business indicators. Look at customer complaints, lost customers and general customer issues. Remember that one unhappy customer has the power of ten happy customers. The harm that one unhappy customer can create via social media is unmeasurable. Make sure that your employees are happy and provide your customers with excellent support. Good support is no longer enough to retain customers. Understand your market and know your competitors. If you are losing business to a competitor, analyze the results and take charge. Once you truly understand your business and where it is at, you can start implementing the changes below.

Manage your assets

What are your assets? Tables, chairs, computers, tools are not your true assets. Your true assets are customers, staff, data, knowledge, information. Without customers and the right staff, you don’t have a business. If you don’t manage your data, knowledge and information, you don’t have a sustainable business. ALL businesses need a common repository for their data where information sharing as well as access is controlled and managed properly. Stop the recurring requests for information. Knowledge and information should never be in the hands of a single individual. Take charge of this valuable possession and your customers will be the recipients of better service. A happy customer is a repeat customer.

Control your business processes

Most employees are loyal, hard-working and dedicated to the company they work for. But if they don’t understand the company’s vision and mission and they don’t know what is required of them, they become dissatisfied and productivity diminishes. All employees need clear direction and they be given the tools to succeed. Everybody wants to be part of a successful team. Dissatisfaction leads to poor attendance and eventually to high employee turnover.

Improve communication

Although communication tools have increased tenfold, the quality of communication has dropped alarmingly. Many ‘collaboration tools’ are merely chat enablers. Not only do they disturb the workforce, they are designed (like many social tools) in a specific manner where participants feel left out if they don’t contribute.

Collaboration tools can be an efficient way to improve communication, especially with distributed teams but they need to be implemented in such a way that they improve business communications and don’t become a commonplace to gossip and the exchange of inane comments.

Have regular planned meetings, ensure that all participants contribute, make sure that everybody has a turn at keeping minutes. Assign action points with an expected deadline. Nobody wants to be the one who lets the team down.

Measure success

After the audit and before starting to implement changes, set clear targets. Measure, make change, improve and reward those who contribute to the company’s success.