Straight-up Advice on Getting Organized

No matter what kind of business you run, there are two elements that are key to any success, and yet often times these two things are the most overlooked and undervalued.  We’re talking about organization and communication, and they shouldn’t be taken lightly.  You can have the best business idea in the world, but if you don’t have these two things once your business is up and running, you’re going to nosedive fast.  We’re going to talk here about one way that organization and communication can work hand-in-hand to give your work a foundation.

The organization of your business needs to include a set of systems and routines that are used every day, by everyone all the way from Management to Maintenance.  These systems and routines are commonly called Standard Operating Procedures (or SOPs) and they act like a backbone for the day-to-day functioning of your business.  Once you have these SOPs in place, you need to communicate them to everyone involved.  Let’s take a look at the Why, How and Who of SOPs:

Why

  1.  SOPs create organization, organization creates clarity, clarity creates more space for focused, productive thinking;
  2. Employee satisfaction is higher because people know what they are doing and why.  There is an external, objective reference point that creates stability and can help guide decisions;
  3. Efficiency is enhanced because less time is wasted trying to find random solutions for problems that have already been identified and solved;
  4. Less time wasted = greater productivity = higher profits.  Sounds good to us.

How

  1. Study your current tasks in all departments, establish the most efficient routines for accomplishing them, and document everything;
  2. Implement these routines through direct communication and training;
  3. Ensure that all current employees are given sufficient time to absorb the information and keep up-to-date on their progress
  4. Create a training program for all new employees that is thorough and consistent, with everyone being exposed to the same information so that there are no gaps in knowledge.

Who

  1. Everyone in the company needs to participate in the actual use of the SOPs, including the Owner/President, etc.  If certain people skip over the SOPs, others will start to follow their lead and you won’t have the effect you want;
  2. Management or Human Resources creates the SOPs with input from employees with regard to specific tasks and how best to accomplish them;
  3. Remaining receptive to employee suggestions after SOPs have been implemented helps to ensure compliance and respect for the procedures because they then perceive themselves and their experience as integral to the functioning of the company.

Putting together a set of SOPs might feel a bit daunting, but the time you spend now in creating this framework will be more than recuperated later in terms of different efficiencies, clarity and employee satisfaction.  SOPs are a highly effective, practical tool for organization, and when they are communicated well and with consistency, they can add great value to your business in many different ways.

A Roadmap to Success, from TPI Management

How to harness the power of TPI’s system and increase your chances of success

TPI is a software that can be used either in the simplest manner (in order to upload inventory and sell it on the internet) or in a more comprehensive way (to run your salvage yard business from the back door to the front, including a stop in Accounting and Marketing along the way). If a User engages with TPI and does more than post inventory (which is perfectly legitimate), they will find that their business has a chance of becoming more profitable and efficient through the strength of the features already in place and the development of their growth in the long run.

1. Stay active within the system: if you consistently enter and then delete parts, your parts will show up on a regular basis and sell faster. Similar to the way social media functions, the more active you stay within the system, the more you maintain an immediate presence in the marketplace.

2. The more information you enter for each part, the better the placement will be: A good, clear description with detailed content helps bring your part to the top in searches, and multiple images and/or videos also help out immensely. Adding multiple images and video is easy to do, and only helps in expanding the market for your product. As well, the more information that is put up, the better the overall search will be on Google, helping to bring your particular item to the top of Google’s search when it is looked for.

3. Try to integrate Reports into your monthly routines: if you are using our invoicing function or deleting parts, you will get these reports. You will begin to see where your business is doing well and where things could be improved, and this will help point you in a better direction in terms of future decisions.

4. Use the Missed Sales function: this handy little feature can be found at the end of the Post tab on the Sellers homepage, and allows you to track what parts are being asked for but that you don’t have. It’s another way of improving your inventory based on what your customers are looking for.

5. If you haven’t done so yet, start using the CRM (Customer Relations Manager) that is included in the TPI software: It is a great tool that, at the very least, will help you organize all of your customer information in one place, and hopefully be able to use the information stored in a way to maintain and improve your relationships. Relationships are the glue that makes everything stick, and our CRM will help you strengthen that bond.

TPI is a thoughtful powerhouse with built-in solutions, and following the five tips above will help you drive your way to greater success and profitability.
labradors in a vintage truck

CRM Essentials

If you don’t manage your customers, someone else will.
For the last 20 years, CRM’s (Customer Relations Management) have developed side-by-side with other software and have become an established part of doing business wherever customers are involved. They have evolved way beyond the simple Rolodex idea of customer information kept on a card and have become much more extensive and effective. Most CRM’s have various capabilities, allowing the business owner to accomplish different tasks within one program, with information kept neatly in one place. Following are several different ways a CRM works to organize your customer interactions:

  1. Basic customer information, such as address, contact numbers, employee names, etc. can be kept in one place. A good CRM will allow space for private notes where you can list items such as personal likes and dislikes, a spouse’s name, important personal dates (birthday, anniversary, etc.), etc.. There will also usually be a section for a history of communication between the customer and your company, so everyone can see what has been discussed and not fall off track or waste time duplicating information;
  2. A CRM might also include financial information, such as previous transactions, sales, etc. Having important information literally at your fingertips when speaking to a customer helps maintain an image of professionalism and reliability, and the customer will feel taken care of. Any method that allows you to bolster the feeling of genuine trust and respect on the part of a client should be embraced;
  3. One of the best parts of a CRM is that it can normally be accessible by whomever in your organization needs to interact with the customer (sales person, IT department, etc.). This means that a customer can have interactions with various representatives within your company, but each of these representatives will have access to the history and “picture” of the customer that comes from the information kept within their profile, making their work with them that much more effective and, hopefully, long-lasting.

The more effort you put into cultivating your relationship with your customer, the more focus you put on responding to their needs, both spoken and unspoken, the greater chance you have of maintaining them in your client base into the future. Know they have a grandchild due in 6 months? Note it in the CRM and you can mention it later in phone calls. Have they already stated that they don’t like aggressive sales pitches? Note that in the CRM, too, and develop a method of communication that is created just for them. Everything you do to create a relationship, maintain the relationship and deepen the relationship through intelligent contact will only help to keep them as clients, and appreciative ones at that. No company is ever the only guy on the block, and if you don’t take care of your customers, someone else will.

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