Instincts: What Aren’t You Paying Attention to That Affects Your Business?

According to science, when presented with a decision, your brain makes a choice within seconds. Those are our instincts making decisions for us before we have had time to “think” about it. However, after those few seconds, we tend to ignore the instincts and start to question our initial decision. We then question our initial thoughts and want more information or a discussion. Then we feel confused about what we should do.

Does this sound familiar for your business? How many times have you needed to make a decision, large or small, that took up way too much time? More often than not, our instincts tell us when we need to make certain decisions in different areas of our business. Unfortunately, we tend to ignore them because we get “busy.” While it seems harmless to ignore our instincts regarding business issues, if those issues continue to be ignored, they turn into much bigger problems.

Staff issues
Is there a staff issue you have been ignoring? It may seem harmless to overlook an employee who calls in sick the day after every paycheck, but as time goes on, this could be an indicator of an even bigger personal problem in that staff member’s life. You may know or suspect larger issues but don’t want to go through the headache of recruiting a new staff member and letting go of the old one. However, ignoring issues with staff is not an isolated incident with just that team member.

Other team members notice absences by their peers too. By not addressing that employees’ issue, you are quietly telling the rest of your staff that this behavior is acceptable.

Another big challenge is turnover. It’s definitely not easy to recruit and hire new employees – there is a lot that goes into finding and on-boarding a new team member. But, it can be easy to assume turnover is something that happens to every business, and not address the reason why it’s happening. Are there leadership issues? Is lack of training causing confusion, frustration and ultimately turnover? Whatever the issue is, it’s important to address the core problems that are leading to turnover.

Growth and vision of the company
Are you planning for the future and casting vision for your company? If not, you could be creating problems for your whole team. First, it means that the vision for your company is likely not clearly defined for your employees like it is to you. Not knowing what your long-term vision is can lead to lack of focus for your entire team.

If you have not taken the time to define your long-term vision, it’s time to do it now. Define it for yourself and then you can consistently share it with your team. Beyond you and your team, you can cast vision with your current and potential customers through various forms of communication. Doing this can help customers feel like they are part of your long-term success.

Performance Analytics
Numbers tell a story. What story are your numbers telling about your company? Healthy organizations are consistently looking at their performance numbers. By analyzing and projecting financial information, you can spot potential issues that are currently happening or plan for issues in the future.

Are you regularly looking at your numbers? We provide business operations software to various businesses. We often hear from companies that are unsure of what is happening in their business. Which means it is hard to tell what needs to be planned for in your organization. Until you get a handle on what is going on in your business, you could be stunting your future growth.

What are your instincts telling you? You may have a small inkling or a thought that comes up every so often that you know you need to address. Take this as a cue to focus on the things your instincts are telling you you need to address today.

Are you Running Your Business or is Your Business Running You?

Business operations can easily suck you in and make you feel “busy.” But is feeling busy the goal? For us, the goal is being effective. Here are some key indicators that your business is running you, not the other way around:

  1. You constantly feel busy but don’t get anything significant accomplished.
  2. You are consistently working in the business but not on the business. (Such as growing the company, vision casting, and planning.)
  3. Your company is stagnant and not growing.

These are the top indicators you need to change the way that you do business. Shifting from letting the business run you, will save you from a declining company, burnout and help you keep your sanity.

Here’s what you can do to start this transition:

  1. Evaluate your team. Take a look at your team and evaluate their level of effectiveness and growth. This doesn’t mean your employees need to be exactly where you want them at this point, but you do have to be able to see that they can learn and grow with you as you move forward. We know making changes to staff is hard, but it is also necessary. You also may need to create room for a new staff member. (That can be more fun.)
  2. Look at what is not efficient. Review the areas of business that have many stop guards. If team members are spending a lot of time in one area of the process and getting frustrated, it usually means that process is not working well. Make note of each of these areas. Listen to your staff about what they are having problems with. If you see a pattern of complaints, you know that needs to be addressed.
  3. Growth. Identify areas for opportunity to grow your business. Once you can fix your team and your processes, growth is the next phase. Looking at new avenues of opportunity and creating a plan for out to reach that market will help your business grow.

Build Systems that Scale
One of the key ways you will be able to break the cycle of letting your business run you, is by creating systems that are efficient and that scale well. It’s easy to create systems that can be managed by one or even two people, but what does it look like to have multiple people using a system. Does your system work well in that situation?

It may mean making a process electronic and going paperless in one area. In another area of your business, it may mean creating more automation. When you review and change the systems in the areas of your business that are currently seeing a lot of stop guards or that team members are spending a lot of time on, you will see less frustration and more efficiency.

Once you build those systems and processes, stick to it. It seems insignificant to occasionally allow yourself and employees to not use the systems you’ve set in place because it feels “easier” in the moment. But that practice means BIG problems later on, which means it does not scale well, and more money out of your pocket.

You would be surprised at how often we refine our systems. We do this because we know that we are going to grow, and as we grow we don’t want to run into issues with time management, efficiency or effectiveness. If you feel run down by your business, it’s time to take action and take yourself out of the “busyness” cycle and get back to working ON your company and making it sustainable and able to grow.

Web App vs. Mobile App: What Sort of Application Do You Really Need?

The whole “App” business is kind of confusing. When most people think “Apps” they think of the applications that are downloaded and installed on a mobile device. This is, in fact, one type of app that are classified as a native app. Usually you have to go to the Apple App Store, Android Google Play market or Blackberry App World to find and download these applications.

But there are also applications that are pulled up within a browser that are considered “web apps” and are commonly used. Web applications often have similar functionality to native apps but have a lot more benefits to them and are often easier to access. We run into a lot of companies who say they need an “app” and are thinking they want a native application. Most of the time they actually need a web application and that is what we develop at Voltz Software.

The web applications we build are still database-driven and able to be viewed and used from a mobile device (such as an iPhone, Android phone or an iPad). From a user perspective, web applications can be easier to use and can be developed as a database-driven web application.

So what exactly can web applications do? Essentially, you can customize a web application to do just about anything you want. We specialize in creating web applications that operate business software. Key areas of our our software are:

Because we build web applications instead of native applications, our software systems are accessible on any modern, internet connected device. This makes it easy for a business owner and their staff members to access the systems when and where they need to.

Here are some additional benefits to developing a web application verses a native mobile application:

  • Investment: Native mobile apps tend to be more expensive to develop and maintain long-term than web applications.
  • Immediacy & Ease of use: Users usually find web applications easier to use because they have a web-based link to access the application. (Native apps are restricted to manufacturer app stores for access.)
  • Compatibility: Web applications are created to be used across many different types of devices including desktop computers, laptops and mobile devices. However, native applications require different versions of the application for each type of device.
  • Ability to Share: Because web applications have a single link to the application, these types of web applications are easier to share among organizations and team members.
  • Ability to Update: Web applications can be updated instantly and those updates are automatically rolled out once the changes are made. With a native app, the changes have to be downloaded for an update to take affect.

The “native app vs. web app” argument will continue to grow as technology develops, however the solution all comes back to your needs and goals as a company. When discussing your options with a software development company, the best solution depends on what you want an application to do short and long-term. From there you can weigh the pros and cons and come up with the best solutions for your company.

Still confused about what your company needs? Discuss it with us.

Caring for the Blindspots in Your Business

There are a lot of moving parts to run a business (we get it). It’s easy to get caught up in the “business” and instead of stopping to take a step back and look at the business as a whole, you are entrenched in the day-to-day tasks.

This happens a lot, but as you know there are many areas of a business that are not core business activities. But these areas are necessary and essential for a company to run and grow. While these areas are not always “fun,” if left ignored, they could be detrimental to your business.

One of the ways we are able to help business owners is by creating software that automatically creates efficiencies for certain areas of a business. The areas we often see business owners overlook are often related to:

  • Staff Management & Communication
  • Client Management & Communication
  • Invoicing
  • Internal File management
  • Scheduling
  • Project management (*Whatever a ‘project’ may be for your business. For some it’s an actual project, for others its a trip or maybe a shift.)

These are the areas of business that we as a company regularly have conversations about. It’s not just our core business activity (building great software systems) that we have to focus on. We’re often looking for the blindspots that we may not see but should be thinking about and addressing. By thinking this way on a regular basis and by having systems in place, we put ourselves in a good spot to run both lean and efficiently. We can also go about our day-to-day work knowing that we are not going to be blindsided.

Regular planning and implementing efficient business systems takes time but it’s important. We assume that you, just like us, want to build a a solid company long-term. And from our experience working with other business owners, it’s the things we overlook that haunt us down the road.

What about you and your company? Are you regularly looking at the areas of your business that make your company run? Tell us here.