In our book for NAW, Optimizing Distributor Profitability: Best Practices to a Stronger Bottom Line, we present 47 best practices for distributors to apply in their businesses, along with plentiful resources and examples for mastering the process. However, we’re aware that just crossing the starting line can be a challenge — especially in such uncertain times.
Still, once you overcome that challenge, the benefits on the other side of a best practice implementation are worth every ounce of effort. So, we thought we would share a few tips — or mantras — to motivate and guide you through major change in your business.
Attitude determines success or failure.
Willingness to change and adopt a new best practice is pivotal to success, and it applies to everyone in your organization. You must cultivate an attitude of acceptance and excitement around using the method or technology.
- Leadership. Be ready to embrace change and see your business from new perspectives.
- Management. Involve managers from across departments in the process to engage them as change agents.
- Workforce. Help employees understand why you chose this practice, how they can use it and how it will benefit their daily routines.
Don’t navigate in the dark.
Be mindful in choosing a best practice. Despite the results another business might achieve with one method or another, not every method will be right for your business and your culture. And, you have more data and information to refer to in decision-making than you may realize. Ask yourself:
- What practices are working in my organization and which ones need improvement?
- Can I apply practices that are already working more broadly and achieve results?
- Are there new best practices I could apply to my top process issues?
- Will these new best practices help my employees and be easy for them to accept?
Once you’ve highlighted some of your problem areas, further focus your options and confirm your decisions with data. If you’re concerned you have issues with consistency in pricing, for instance, you can confirm that with data.
Start small yet intentional.
You don’t have to fully rebuild your processes overnight, and you don’t want to overload your employees with a completely new workflow. Start with just a few high-impact task changes that will get you on a path to results. Ensure your workforce understands the value of those tasks and what it means for those tasks to “work.” Also, be sure the new process doesn’t overly complicate or derail their current workflows. Integrate the new steps in ways that are simple and immediately helpful.
Be eager to evolve.
A best practice isn’t something you set and forget. Rather, it’s an evolving component of your business strategy and operations that you should constantly revisit, reshape and improve. Some of these evolutions will come to you naturally as your employees ask to expand their toolkits. Others you’ll need to work to recognize as necessary by tracking data and results. For instance, you may need to customize the workflow for employees who have difficulty applying it effectively. And, of course, the world is constantly evolving, setting new standards and introducing new possibilities. You must continually adapt your processes to stay competitive and up to date.