Here are some long-term ideas on how to build and manage your green business.
Step 28) Automate your systems and processes.
By automate, I mean find a way to do something so that it becomes routine, and perhaps can be done without anyone's involvement.
Your task is to find a product and/or service and to "widgetize" it so it runs without your involvement.
For example, if you have an item that is an e-delivery type of product, such as an e-book or a product software, make it so that someone can pay for it and download that item without some individual's involvement — just through an automated message.
We are talking about ways to organize and systematize your business so that your company runs without relying on one specific person. This is a difficult concept for someone in management or a business founder, so it bears repeating: Find a way to automate your systems and processes: better yet, work yourself out of the equation.
- This may mean converting to a service like e-junkie.com to store and release your digital properties.
- This may mean converting your brochure website to a Drupal site with Ubercart to manage members-only content.
- This may mean creating a page that processes payments and sends a payment received notification back to "release" a members-only product.
- This may mean converting from a paper form that gets faxed to a downloadable PDF, or better yet, a web-based form that goes directly to your customer management tool.
- This may mean converting your mailing list to a version that offers an unsubscribe button or a "manage my subscriptions" page, instead of having all e-mail queries go through an administrator staff person.
- This may mean offering a pay-by-phone option to process accounts.
- This may mean offering a "drip" system for a customer to sign up and add themselves to your database as a "new customer".
- This may mean finding a virtual assistant to handle all incoming schedule requests or ongoing research projects.
- This may mean applying for a patent and having a manufacturer and distributor take over in exchange for a royalty fee.
Whatever the option, constantly find places in your business process where there is a bottleneck or a stopping point, or where the whole "flow" comes to a halt because of actions that need to be taken by one person.
That stopping point is a prime opportunity to reduce employee time and convert that pressure point to an automated system, which will save you money and make your business more
Step 29) Continue to refine your business model.
There is always room for improvement. A company that is 100 years old still finds ways to innovate and create. Your business can refine, redefine, and re-engineer, too.
Step 30) Keep a focus on your customers.
Your customers will tell you what they need. Listen to them and you'll find many opportunities to improve your service, create new ways to help, and engage with your community.
When a customer (or potential customer) speaks about a typical problem they have, think of solutions — perhaps your idea for one person will turn into a new product or service for your company.
Your customer service will make the difference for your business growth, so offer exit surveys, customer suggestion boxes, anonymous tips, or anything to help you understand how to make the customer experience better.
Purchase the book: Thirty Steps to Starting up Your Green Business, 110 pages.
Trade paperback: http://amzn.to/30greensteps $12.99
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Conscious choices for successful women.
Use the thirty tips in this book to guide you through your work of building a thriving, sustainable, eco-friendly, 21st-century company.
Each chapter is focused on helping you plan, launch, and grow your green business.
Use these tips to help you get organized, focus on the basics, build your infrastructure, increase your customer base, interact online, review your data, refine your process, and maintain your course.
Find additional information on green metrics, sustainable practices, long-term sustainability, and a resource list.