Leveraging is a strategic business concept where an already existing structure or resources are being used and reused to ensure business advantage. The key is to be able to customise an existing concept and make it work for you and your company. There are certainly many ways where one can leverage in business. From human resources to social media and business models, there are simply a lot of effective means where you can use leveraging as your business strategy. In leveraging, the key is to look for ways, methods, tools or anything that can be customised, used and/or reused for your own advantage. Whether it concerns ideas, marketing plans, solutions or even additional investments, leveraging is about taking what already is out there, customising it, improving it and using it for your own benefits.
In a nutshell, leveraging means looking for existing business practices that will help you conserve energy and focus on more essential aspects of your business. Here are a few examples of leveraging:
Outsourcing is one of the most recent business solutions where a company uses the services of another company to perform certain tasks for them. Although it started as a business process for large companies, with the help of technology, outsourcing has recently evolved to also service small to medium-sized companies and startup businesses through the use of the internet. Talents available to do things for you are enormously rich since they are accessible from all over the globe.
Choices of how you would want to acquire this service have also expanded: you can now either choose to contract with business providers or simply hire individuals directly. You can also decide on whether to enter into a long term transaction, on a per project basis or on an hourly/daily operation.
With outsourcing, you will be able to complete tasks for your company without having to hire and manage another person directly and will no longer necessitate you to set up a physical office required for performing the tasks. With the vast availability of professionals and experts that can perform different tasks for you, you can be certain that these tasks will be completed in the best possible manner. By leveraging these talents, you do not only protect your investments and save energy; at the same time, you also receive a minimal-cost expert to perform tasks for you.
There are activities in your day-to-day operation that are considered important and require immediate attention, but they may be completed by a temporary or training employee. There are also activities that you dislike doing or are not something that you can perform very well. Tasks like filing, encoding and the like are necessary to be completed, yet seem trivial and a waste of precious time for you. A suggestion: work from your strengths and learn how to delegate these jobs to others. Hire someone who shares in your vision, values and passion. Look for people who can be easily groomed to handle tasks with minimal supervision. Develop your training programs and operating system fully, and set your goals as clearly as possible.
The advancement in technology has made it possible and so much easier for your business to become more organised and systematised. From your accounting system to contacting your customer, tracking your inventory, distributing pay checks, posting orders and paying your suppliers, there are many ways where you can use several applications and automated systems that perform multiple tasks with a single click. By taking advantage of these available systems, you will be able to do more things in less time.
Training Others to Train
Training people can take so much of your valuable time, especially if there is a need to do it all the time. Instead of having to train every newly hired employee, develop your seasoned employees or look for potential trainers among your current employees to handle the orientations and training on your behalf. Create an operation manual they may use as a reference. Your operation manual must contain everything there is to know about your business process including the day to day activities and your expectations from them. Make sure that people adhere to these standards and that all expectations are met based on it. By leveraging on other people’s potential to pass on information to others, you will have more free time to perform other tasks more relevant to your core business.
Literature such as reports, articles and press releases are created for a purpose. Most of the time, after one usage, these literatures will be disregarded or saved into archives for future reference. The best ways to leverage on this is to reuse it for something else. Articles can be re-written over and over and published to different publications. A report can be used as a slideshow presentation for a group meeting. You can compile several articles and develop it to become an EBook or a whitepaper. You can also use it as content for your website or an office circulatory memo.
Referrals and Building Relationships
Aside from being the source of your revenue, customers can be your best advertisers as well. Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool when it comes to marketing. If you have satisfied customers, you may actually leverage this by asking for the contact information of their friends and families. Since you are able to make your customers happy, they know you can satisfy their personal networks, too.
It is also important that your customers are well- educated in terms of your product lines, promotions and services. If they know your business well, promoting it to others will come in handy for them. Make sure that you train your people to handle each and every customer as VIPs every single time.
Social Media and the World Wide Web
The newest networking and marketing channel available that you can leverage on is the internet. People, especially the ones with the buying capacity, are now more enticed to surf the net than watch TV and read newspapers or magazines. Hence, it is now more practical to use this to advertise. There are many ways in which you can advertise on the net and most of it is for free. A website is a popular means wherein you can take advantage of the internet. You can exhibit all your products and services for everyone to see. Nowadays, using social media has also become a popular and rewarding activity for business owners. With such a large presence found on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you can be certain that you will have a fair share of advertising opportunity from social media leveraging.
Paul Bradley is the Executive Consultant of 363 Think Tank & 363 Outsourcing, corporations that provide expert solutions to Australia’s organisational problems. He has more than 30 years of experience working in Retail, Banking and several market-focused private corporations.