Lean Management for small businesses: 4 actionable methods
Yesterday I had an amazing idea: Can you implement lean management for small businesses? Did you know that I attended engineering school? One of my favorite subject when I was in engineering school was lean management. In fact, I even wanted to become a lean management consultant! Now, that I'm a small business owner, I realized that you can apply lean management on small businesses to get great business results. And today, I'll share some tips with you on how you can do the same!
What is lean management?
Lean Management is an approach to reduce waste and to improve constantly for more efficiency and a higher quality of products. Yes, products because lean management is usually used in factories. Now, I realized that service providers can take some principles of lean management and apply it to their businesses! How awesome is that?
Four methods to implement lean management for small businesses
Here are some easy methods for you to implement lean management in your business right away:
Method #1: Standardize processes
By standardizing processes, you'll be able to perform tasks correctly every time. If you have a SOP in place, you'll also be able to outsource quickly (give your contractor the SOP and they should be able to start right away!). Here are some simple questions that your SOP should answer:
What is the goal?
Who is the SOP for? (Roles and Responsibilities)
What is needed to start the process? Any requirements?
All the steps in the process (take into consideration scenarios that might happen!)
Method #2: Identify waste
In lean management, we have the goal to eliminate all the waste. This is done by looking through all processes and identifying waste. Here are the types of waste:
T - Transport
I - Inventory
M - Motion
W - Waiting
O - Overproduction
O - Overprocessing
D - Defects
Of course, not all types of waste are applicable on small businesses. When I work with clients, I usually note the amount of manual work to get something done. The main question is: "How can you automate a process?" On-Boarding Processes can be automated easily by creating workflows using tools like Dubsado. A lack of systems in the background will also lead to waste of time. This is why systems set-ups are so important for small businesses that are ready to grow.
Method #3: Level workload
Most entrepreneurs work in cycles. This means that they will launch a high ticket offer, then a medium ticket offer, then a small ticket offer before starting the cycle again. When I work with clients, I make sure that their workload stays the same all the time. This can be done by planning out at least one quarter in advance. This way, you can plan the workload and shift time intensive tasks to when the estimated workload is on the lower end. By leveling workload, you avoid a burnout and have more energy to deliver quality work.
Method #4: Time block for continuous improvement
The last method is to time block one hour each month to look over your processes. How can you improve processes? Is there a better way to do it? Is there anything that is necessary? Is there anything that is using up all your energy? Is outsourcing a method to save up on energy and time? Or is investing in a tool the way to go? Can you automate anything? By investing in continuous improvement all the time, you'll be able to grow your business faster - without burning out.
Lengthen content's shelf life is amazing - but how? I always tell my clients that blog posts has an insane ROI. This is because blog posts have an unusual shelf life. Unlike social media posts, one blog post can still drive organic traffic to your website (and therefore your business and brand) months and years after publishing. The amount of time, you're investing in writing and publishing a blog post will be worth it.
Save time by writing blog posts
You probably spend the same amount of time on writing social media blog post that will "live" for 1-3 days. Why don't you spend the time writing blog posts and repurposing your blog posts for social media instead? The key to lengthen your blog's shelf life is to drive consistent traffic to the post. While your old blog post will generate leads for you when your audience is searching something relevant on Google, new readers who stumble on your website won't necessary scroll through all your posts to find your best performing blog posts.
Seven ways to lengthen content's shelf life
In order to consistently get new eyes on your blog post, make sure to follow the following tips:
Method #1: Include links to your best performing blog posts via e-mail!
How does your on-boarding process look like when someone downloads a freebie from your website? They probably get the freebie, some introduction about you and your business and maybe a call to action to join a FB group or to purchase something. Most e-mail sequences only last a few e-mails and then... it's getting quiet.
Now, what's the best practice? Instead of a simple introduction, include a reading list for your new subscribers with your best performing blog posts! Your subscriber will most likely open the first few e-mails and read them carefully. Make them click on all those links and binge read your blog posts!
This is also a great way to show your authority (because you're sharing amazing knowledge!). Once they've recognized you as an authority, they will await your e-mails and newsletters burning to learn more from you. Remember: Whenever you write an e-mail, include links to your blog posts that are relevant and might further educate your audience. Quick fix: Check your e-mail sequences and think if you could include any links to them.
Method #2: Wherever you can put a link, do it!
Use the space that you are given! Here are a few examples that often get ignored:
Youtube: Add links to relevant blog posts into the description box of your video. Tip: If you have a master list that is grouped into categories, you can find relevant posts more easily! Or you can search for tags on your website.
Instagram: Create a landing page for your instagram bio link and add links that might benefit your audience.
Quora: Answer questions on Quora and sneakily leave links for further education.
Method #3: Use Buffer to schedule on Facebook!
Share your blog posts on Facebook (either your facebook page or your facebook group). Whenever you published a post, you can pre-plan in advance when to share your blog post.
Method #4: Use Pinterest and Tailwind!
Create a Pinterest graphic and create a pin with a link to your blog post on Pinterest. Make sure to create several pins using different graphics. And then... schedule the re-pins with Tailwind! Make sure that your pins stay alive!
Method #5: Use Twitter!
Twitter is amazing, seriously! There is a plugin for WordPress that automatically retweets old posts to twitter. You can define the minimum age for the post (e.g. select posts that are more than 14 days old) and the rest is handled by the plugin. Amazing, right?
Method #6: Do not underestimate internal links!
If you've written a lot of blog posts already, make sure to update your old posts by adding new links to your blog posts. Internal links are very powerful and make the "rabbit hole" possible for your audience. Clicking on one article will lead to reading another article and so on and so on... Isn't that great? Quick fix: Schedule half an hour each month to update your blog posts with relevant links!
Method #7: Let your audience work for you!
Just use some plugin to help your visitors to share your posts. It's that easy. Why do the work, when your audience can help you? The key: Having great content on your website that is worth sharing. You don't know what to write about? You have no clue what your audience is looking for? Get your monthly SEO Strategy delivered to your inbox with well researched outlines for two blog posts each month (keyword research done for you as well)!
Your time to shine!
You have now learned several methods to lengthen your blog's shelf life. Create a routine that is working for you and you will save so much time while getting more leads and generating more brand awareness. You've got it! I recommend creating a masterlist each year to identify your best performing blog posts. This will help you in the long run. In the meantime, check out how to write an actual blog post that converts!