Project 4: Revisit vendor service offerings
Many business owners and management intend to make vendor or service offering related changes but are so busy. Instead, they plod along paying for services that do not fully meet their needs. As companies grow and change so do their needs; often times their back-office functions in particular can no longer keep pace in a way that supports current and future business growth requirements or potential. For example, this may be of particular issue for many small to mid-market businesses owners who receive accounting related services that only provide after the fact, partial, and not necessarily relevant financial information; making unnecessarily difficult to make crucial decisions on time. All vendor service offerings should fully meet the needs of the business, otherwise it is a poor use of financial resources, regardless of the dollar amount. It simply makes sense to pay for performance. This project should be on every business owner’s annual list.
Project 5: Review and re-vamp information systems and technology (IS&T)
In conjunction with revisiting vendor service offerings, taking an inventory of all information systems and technologies should also be an assigned project. Advancements are always taking place, and as your business grows or changes, it creates the potential for the systems/applications and technologies utilized to also require changes. This is not to suggest jumping ship annually with all vendors or service providers, only when significant gaps exist and existing offerings cannot sufficiently support the business currently or going forward. As with the vendor service offerings mentioned above, it may be time to either implement required enhancements if available internally or outsource to specialized service providers. Careful planning and selection is the key to finding solutions that are scalable to grow as your business grows.
Project 6: Re-deploying human resources
This is one of the most important and most difficult projects to approach as it has the potential to place employees in a state of panic. That said, it can also be one of the most rewarding for many employees as it can open up opportunities for advancement as well. Be transparent and talk with employees about this initiative in advance to alleviate the fear of job loss. The goal behind this project should be to determine the most value-added use of human resource by matching high-level skill sets to key job requirements, and then re-deploying those human resources to better meet strategic objectives. It makes sense to sit down with individual employees to discuss their interests and career goals in conjunction with the business goals to create as much synergy as possible prior to making any changes.
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