As a small business owner, in both good times and bad, it pays to think and act like a Chief Executive Officer (CEO). As a CEO, you should elevate your mindset to focus on the big picture, see the entire business, and obsess about getting more and more from your limited resources and efforts … maximizing output and minimizing input … also known as optimization.
Specifically, optimization (also known as leverage or even “intelligent laziness”) is a mindset of maximizing your results while minimizing the amount of time, effort, risk, money, and energy you expend. Such an optimization mindset can yield breakthrough results and forever improve your business.
What’s the big prize if you optimize? A better business and personal life! Optimization is all about getting greater productivity, performance, profitability and payback from your ideas, assets, knowledge, systems, processes, practices, people and opportunities. Even better, optimization allows you to achieve better business results without being overworked, overwhelmed and feeling like a prisoner to your business.
Are you and your business right now fully committed to optimization? Do you know how to optimize?
To truly optimize, you must learn to ask yourself and others more empowering and liberating questions. Bottom line, you want everyone associated with your business (employees, customers, advisers, suppliers, vendors, etc.) thinking about how the business can achieve greater yield, results, and outcomes from every asset, transaction, employee, expenditure, process, and relationship. Overlook nothing; leverage opportunities are everywhere.
Moreover, optimization is about using your mind and limited business resources in new and better ways. Specifically, it’s about using your creative intelligence as an incredible force to increase your sales, customer satisfaction, profits, and quality. Optimization is about freeing yourself and your organization from limiting beliefs, the “we’ve always done it this way” attitudes, and established and confining industry practices.
Optimization, done right, will not allow you or your team to be limited to the present or even inside the walls/mentality of your own company. It’s about searching for past, present and future opportunities both inside and outside your business where the application of focus or force will yield substantially multiplied results. For example, if you start following up every customer transaction with a simple thank-you call and an “anything else we can help you with?” approach, your customer satisfaction and additional sales could soar.
Just as a tire jack can lift the tremendous weight of a car for a tire change, so too can the strategy of optimization help you significantly lift your company’s revenues, improve operations, and lighten your daily load. A lever, fulcrum and slight force can lift significant weight if you know how to use these tools. To master the art of optimization and leave the status quo behind, all you need is an opportunity mindset and a handful of questions, like these:
- As leader, what is the highest and best use of my time, talent, and treasures?
- What company resources (people, programs, products, practices, processes, etc.) are we overlooking or under-utilizing?
- How can we work smarter, not just harder?
- What processes or departments within our business are under-performing?
- What past or current relationships could we more fully leverage (i.e. customers, employees, vendors, suppliers, advisers, etc.)?
- What other industries could provide us with some innovative best practices?
- Where are the hidden profit and customer service opportunities within our business?
- Who do we routinely cut checks to (landlord, banker, CPA, suppliers, vendors) that we should be asking to help promote and advance our business?
- What improvement suggestions from our customers should we pursue first?
Think and act on optimization. Expand your mind and your leadership potential and your business and opportunities expand exponentially. The more you grow as a leader, the more your business grows as a market leader. For a much bigger prize, a better business and life, learn to optimize.