A struggling economy hurts many small businesses, and most companies could use a boost in sales. Systems Thinking is needed more than ever before!
Are you getting enough sales leads? Are you converting leads to orders? Are you fulfilling orders quickly? Are you getting repeat business from satisfied customers?
How can you improve your lead-generation system to get more qualified leads? If you do have plenty of leads, how can you improve your sales presentation, offer, terms, or products to close more sales? If your sales leads and conversions are good, what are you doing to impress customers with on-time or fast deliveries? And if you are not getting expected re-orders, do you know why? How can you create raving fans who will buy again and refer their friends?
Reach Your Full Potential
System constraints—the barriers and bottlenecks that keep you from reaching your full potential—come in a variety of forms. Could any of the following constraints be limiting your sales throughput?
- Rational or Logic Constraints - Errors in thinking and false assumptions are often stumbling blocks to success (e.g., believing your customers think you are wonderful and not discovering their true feelings; thinking that you don't have any real competition).
- Physical Constraints - Physical components that are lacking or have limitations (e.g., not having an effective prospect/customer database; not having the necessary production capacity or people to get orders filled promptly; not having an effective website).
- Procedural Constraints - Work processes often have bottlenecks or weak links that reduce output (e.g., ineffective follow-up system for sales leads; a website without a well-designed sales funnel, a fast and easy checkout procedure, or a method of answering pre-sale questions).
- Personal Constraints - Personal characteristics can interfere with performance (e.g., procrastination, disorganization, indecision, fear, lack of time, failure to face problems, not a Systems Thinker, etc., etc. What personal characteristics of yours—beliefs, values, assumptions, behaviors, or personal problems—are holding back your business?)
- Self-imposed Constraints - Business rules or polices can inhibit results (e.g., not accepting credit cards; not hiring people over age sixty; sticking to the ineffective way you've always done things).
- External or Market Constraints - Obstacles exist that are currently out of your control (e.g., the economy, market size; customer expectations or attitudes; competition). You can usually manage or control these constraints over time by adjusting business strategies.
No Other Way
The economy does not have to drag your business down, but you may need to become more disciplined in your management style, more detail oriented, more organized, more methodical—MORE OF A SYSTEMS THINKER. I promise that if you don't believe it yet, you will eventually discover—there is no other way!
Now make a list—using the definitions above—of the specific barriers to your sales growth. Then go eliminate those constraints from your business systems and processes.