Continuous improvement in Business: Answers and tips

Summary

The essence of business planning is knowing where you want to go, knowing where you are, and knowing which direction to go from here. Most businesses fail for one simple reason: they didn't have a plan. In planning, the questions are: What do we want? Where do we want to go? and How do we get there?

Defining Continuous improvement in business (10+ answers)

In business, incremental improvement is the norm. But incremental improvement is a mistake. Industrialization was supposed to make people better off, but it has instead made them poorer. What people really need is continuous, exponential improvement.

  1. Continuous improvement means constantly thinking about what you do, and always trying to learn more. And if you don't learn, then you are getting worse, not better.
  2. Continuous improvement means taking risks. If you never try anything new, you will never find out what doesn't work. But if you always play it safe, you will never find out what does work.
  3. Continuous improvement means working with colleagues. Working alone can get you so far, but once you have more than nine balls in the air, you need help.
  4. Continuous improvement means learning from your competitors. If Warren Buffett were to suddenly go broke, it would ruin his reputation, but it wouldn't make his competitors any richer.
  5. Continuous improvement means allowing yourself to fail. The only way to learn what doesn't work is by trying it, and having your app crash or your website go down.
  6. Continuous improvement means being creative. Business is creative, not rational.
  7. Continuous improvement means being flexible. If you always do the same thing over and over again, you will get the same results over and over again.
  8. Continuous improvement means being humble. Business is full of people who think they know what they are doing, and never get results. But humility means keeping your ego in check.
  9. Continuous improvement means being lucky. Luck is another word for opportunities, and opportunities are created by people.
  10. Continuous improvement means being patient. Two steps forward, one step back, two steps forward, one step back.
  11. Continuous improvement means being open. Successful people avoid being closed

To attain continuous improvement in your business, you need to use business management tools, including online employee management software and PMS tools for business. Luckily, Finclock offers you a chance to try these business management tools and attain continuous improvement in your business.

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What does it take to attain continuous improvement in a business?

You want to be number one, but first you need to know where number one is. The best strategy is to pick something with potentially huge market potential and invest massive resources in it. But to do that you need to know what's out there already.

In 1965, when IBM was in its heyday, no one had heard of personal computers. But microcomputers were coming, and if you wanted to be there first, you needed to know.

So sometime in 1965 or 1966, a team of IBM engineers set out to create a list of the companies already working on microcomputers. They tracked down the founders, asked the engineers what problem they were trying to solve, and tried to figure out what the market was.

The result is a 48-page manuscript, written in thick black felt tip pen, now kept at the Smithsonian. It's full of names and lists of companies and products, and it reads like a road map to the future.

But what was their plan? To buy these companies? No. To buy their products. To find out what the market was. And then, when they knew, to buy, copy, and surpass. They called this the "3P strategy."

The 3P strategy worked. IBM now dominates personal computers. But it's pretty hard to find that manuscript today. Companies rarely document their failures.

One exception: the 3P strategy worked, but IBM didn't copy it. The company says now that it was "not technologically feasible" at the time, but the document at the Smithsonian shows that wasn't the whole story. It was possible then. But to be successful, IBM would have needed something more than people. In particular, it would have needed to find managers

How do companies achieve continuous improvement?

We live in a world where everyone, including your competitors, is creating new products and services. And in a world where everyone is trying to look bigger and better and more professional than you, you need continuous improvement.

One of the riches of Lean management is that it forces everyone in the organization to take responsibility for continuous improvement.  Luckily, modern software can help you to measure key performance indicators. For instance, online project management software for business comes in handy for teams with many employees. The Lean philosophy holds that waste can be reduced, profits increased, and customer satisfaction increased without having to invest in more employees or new equipment or new facilities.

Lean management doesn't work unless everyone in the organization buys into it. A strong leader, with executive backing, is essential to making Lean work. But without buy-in, Lean won't work. So what can you do to make your employees believe in Lean? One way is to show them how Lean is benefiting someone else. A perfect example is Wendy's. After using Lean management to create the fastest drive-through service in the country, Wendy's was looking for a way to turn its focus onto improving quality. One of their suppliers, Proctor & Gamble, has already proven that it is possible to cut waste and improve productivity by 20% or more.

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