Knowledge is power, so they say. We don’t know who ‘they’ are, but the truth is this. The more you know about each area of your business, the better prepared you are for when the threat of disaster looms. You will be able to take preemptive steps to protect yourself and have the peace of mind knowing that your business is reasonably safe and secure.
So, where do we begin with troubleshooting? Well, it’s important to look at the different areas of your business that could create problems. These may include:
– Problems with staffing
– Issues within your technology
– Your business rivals
– Changes in consumer trends
– Building maintenance
– Issues with your budget
After identifying areas that need troubleshooting, you need to carry out the requisite checks. Now, you don’t have to do it all yourself, as in some cases, you are better off leaving things to the experts. For example, if you don’t have the first idea about your computer systems, you are better off leaving it to dedicated IT professionals or enabling the use of network traffic analysis software to help you discover where any problems lie. Such solutions form the crux of your planning when you are trying to identify and solve possible problem areas.
You should do the following:
– Walk Around Your Business. While you may not have the expert eye in some areas, you may still be able to spot signs of trouble. You might notice something that could be a health and safety hazard, or you may notice friction amongst your employees. Make a note of any problems, and plan to find ways to get on top of them.
– Speak To The People Around You. There are people better qualified than you, and there are those people who may have seen something you haven’t. It’s important to get their opinions and listen to their advice, as they may have a solution you haven’t considered. So, speak to the staff members in each area of your business, and then consult those other people who aid your business, such as your accountant or bookkeeper who will have their own insights into your operations.
– Conduct Employee Surveys. Not everybody will share an issue with you face-to-face, perhaps because of the retribution that comes with being a tattle-tale (workplace bullying for example), or they may not feel confident expressing opinions verbally. However, they may feel more comfortable giving an opinion through a survey (anonymous or otherwise) or through a suggestion box. You will get an overall outlook on how your business is doing, though you should ensure action is taken, so your staff know they are being listened to.
– Conduct Customer Surveys. Especially important when you notice sales dropping, a customer survey will give you an idea why. Send them to your customers through email or with a delivery, and offer a little incentive to encourage them to return it. Feedback is crucial, and you may discover something about your business (positively or negatively) through their unique perspective.
– Have A Disaster Recovery Plan. This is the lynchpin of your troubleshooting and incorporates much of what we are already talking about. A disaster recovery plan preempts problems and gives an account of what to do should disaster strike. If you don’t currently have one, use this template to create your own today.
Take the time to troubleshoot your business as soon as possible, perhaps by focussing on some of the things we brought to your attention. It’s better to be prepared, and if you catch a problem early, you can deal with it before it becomes something more difficult to deal with later on.