5 Common Operational Issues in Business You Need to Fix

tug of war

Operational issues in business can have both short-term and long-term consequences. Moreover, these consequences can be especially damaging to businesses struggling to survive in the current landscape. Yet, many business owners continue to allow such issues to go unaddressed. 

Why?

In most cases, it’s because they either don’t know how to fix these issues or don’t know the issues even exist…

The good news? No matter which one of the above explanations best describes your situation, you can learn how to identify and solve the problems preventing your company’s success. First, it’s worth taking a step back and looking at what operational issues in business actually are.

WHAT ARE OPERATIONAL ISSUES IN BUSINESS?

Operational issues in business are problems that can create waste and affect profitability. Further, they can drain company resources, impact operational performance, and hinder growth. 

Typically, such issues fall under the following categories:

  • Waste
  • Quality
  • Delay
  • Control
  • Culture

Given that operations play a major role in increasing the value of your company and helping you earn a profit, these issues must be tackled sooner rather than later. Otherwise, you’ll never reach the level of success you deserve. Worse, you could end up having to shut down the business you’ve worked so hard to build.  

5 OF THE MOST COMMON OPERATIONAL ISSUES IN BUSINESS (AND SOLUTIONS)

Though businesses face a wide range of operational issues, the ones listed below are some of the most common. 

Chances are you’ve encountered one or more of these issues in your own company, which is why it’s so important to learn how to solve them now before they can cause further damage. 

1) OUT-OF-CONTROL OVERHEAD COSTS

Every company has overhead costs, though the amount can vary depending on size, industry, etc. If you allow overhead costs to get out of control, they can have a negative impact on your company’s profitability and lead to a significant net loss. 

Solution: The first step in controlling overhead costs is to make sure you’re keeping a detailed record of all expenses. Once you know exactly what overhead you have, it’s much easier to find ways to reduce it. For example, you could set policies for spending, outsource certain positions/projects, and review vendor contracts. 

2) TOO MUCH WASTE

Excessive waste is one of the most common operational issues in business. When time, labor, and materials are either being used ineffectively or being wasted, it can impact your company’s bottom line. Additionally, too much waste can prevent you from scaling your company, focusing on the bigger picture, and increasing productivity. 

Solution: The best way to combat waste is to implement lean processes. Look for activities that require a lot of time or money but provide little value. Then, eliminate those activities for the health of your company. Some good places to start include inventory, downtime, and transportation.

3) NO PERFORMANCE MONITORING

When you don’t monitor performance, there’s no way to accurately measure how well your company is doing. Further, it becomes easier for staff problems to go unchecked. As a result, your company’s profitability could experience a decline without you knowing the root cause.

 Solution: To ensure that your staff and processes are set up for success, you need to create performance indicators. Additionally, those on your team should be informed and reminded of expectations. By evaluating performance at regular intervals, you can identify where improvements need to be made.  

4) UNSTABLE CASH FLOW

Failing to maintain a healthy cash flow can make it difficult (if not impossible) for your company to survive. Without the proper funds, you may find yourself unable to pay your utilities, cover staff salaries, or afford materials. In short, unstable cash flow can prevent your company from being able to function properly, especially in the current landscape.

 Solution: It’s vital that you create a budget for your company and plan for all expenses. Look for opportunities to fix costs, such as those related to overhead. Further, you can stabilize your cash flow by adjusting your offerings. For example, you could offer prepaid retainers, ongoing payment plans, or maintenance contracts to clients. 

5) LACK OF PLANNING

Another one of the most common operational issues in business is a lack of planning, particularly for periods of uncertainty. Neglecting to account for downward trends, slow seasons, and even economic downturns can put your company in a precarious position.  

Solution: To ensure that your company is able to survive hard times, make planning a top priority. Create both short-term and long-term goals for your company. Plan for multiple outcomes, and try to be as flexible as possible. Further, make forecasting a key part in all of your decision-making.  

HOW TO ELIMINATE OPERATION ISSUES IN BUSINESS

The best way to eliminate operational issues in business is to streamline your operations, stay as lean as possible, and document all of your processes. 

However, it also helps to have a problem-solving strategy in place. When you have a framework you can use to address each problem that comes up, you can not only handle it quickly but also reduce the likelihood of recurrence. 

A good problem-solving strategy may look like this…

Step 1: Identify the problem. First things first, you’ll need to be aware that there is a problem and identify what kind of problem it is. 

Step 2: Determine all contributing factors. Find out when, where, and how it occurred. Talk to those involved to see how often the problem arises.  

Step 3: Ensure the problem is contained. To avoid the issue causing further damage, implement a short-term solution.  

Step 4: Discover the underlying cause. Work with your team to trace the problem back to its source. 

Step 5: Brainstorm possible solutions. Discuss ways the problem could be better addressed or even avoided.  

Step 6: Create an action plan. Once you’ve settled on a solution, develop an action plan for members of your team to follow. 

Step 7: Audit the results. After a problem has been solved, check back to make sure it’s truly fixed. 

Step 8: Don’t make adjustments too quickly. If a problem reoccurs, don’t automatically adjust your approach to solving it. Instead, review all contributing factors to see if something else is at fault. 

IN SUMMARY

Operational issues in business can lead to a number of negative consequences, including low profitability, poor growth, and lack of overall success. That’s why you need to streamline your operations and have a strategy in place for dealing with problems when they arise. It may also help to bring in an outside party. If you continue to struggle with your operations, feel free to reach out to Smart Business Doctor LLC