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Finding Your Business' Function

It's week three of our #businessdetox and we will be detoxing the "intestines" of a business!  Meaning: we will be looking at ways to improve efficiency.  The assessment of efficiency is a very difficult task since efficiency is not something tangible and cannot easily be measured or definitely reached... there's always room for improvement.  However, I am about to introduce a simple method that can be used time and time again when trying to understand and improve your business' efficiency.  But first, here are a couple easy tips to kickstart the detox of your “intestines.”

  • In week one we discussed cleaning the workspace and its positive impact on your work habits.  One of the greatest benefits of having a clean workspace is the positive effect it has on efficiency.  When we know where everything is and have our "clean space," it is much easier to concentrate on our work.
  • A technique that I use regularly while working is one I came up with when I was a college student.  I call it the "Get Out Of My Brain” list. As the name states, it is a list of thoughts that I need to clear my brain of so that I can focus on my work.  I realized every time I sat down to study, all of the thoughts and tasks that I had put off would pop up into my head.  The easiest solution was to buy a notepad solely for my “Get Out Of My Brain” list and write down all of the random thoughts that came up.  Doing this cleared my mind; I also use this as a trick to jot down all the things that "conveniently" pop up when I’m trying to sleep at nights. It helps clear my head of all of the minute thoughts that get in the way of what I’m trying to do at the moment. Plus writing these thoughts down puts me at ease knowing that I won't forget these tasks!

Try creating a "Get Out Of My Brain” list!

When learning math in elementary school, we used something called the "in and out machine."

This graphic was applied to help us solve math functions in a fun way. We were given an input number (for example:  2) and a function (for example:  + 5) and would have to solve for the output (which in this example would be 7). The variables would change, sometimes the exercise would ask to solve for a given output or would give both the input and output and ask to solve for the function. The in and out machine aids in learning math because it provides a visual of how the numbers are changing throughout the process. This visual can also be used to aid in solving business problems, especially those revolving around efficiency.

I'm going to use SBC and this seven week business detox campaign as an example.

To use the in and out machine for your business as you go through the detoxing of the business' internal workings, the "intestines":

  1. State your desired output
    The goals for the #businessdetox campaign are to engage followers, instigate discussions, drive more traffic to our website, and to increase awareness in the social media community of who we are and what we do. These are the outputs I strive to achieve.
  2. Set a deadline for the desired output
    October 31, 2014
  3. Enumerate all of your “givens” or your inputs (these can be current inputs or future inputs)
    Write and post a weekly blog article and post daily Tweets and Facebook posts regarding #BusinessDetox.
  4. List the ways which you think you can reach your desired output (this is your function formula). How will you accomplish all of your inputs and achieve your desired outcomes?
    My function was something I spent a lot of time preparing:  I brainstormed ideas that are worth writing about and that can be related to an actual body detox and I created a calendar in which I planned out the order of the blog articles.  Next, I planned out the daily progression of the campaign by preparing a list of all of the Tweets and Facebook posts that are meant to be launched throughout the first three weeks of the campaign.
  5. Foresee any challenges you may face
    My greatest challenge was launching and continuing the campaign while traveling out of the country for three weeks. I planned ahead and created my three week calendar, as mentioned above. I transferred all of my work onto my tablet since I knew I wouldn’t be taking my laptop. Lastly, I brainstormed my main writing points for the blog articles that I would launch while away.

By following these five steps, you can effectively utilize a very simple tool that can help guide you toward your goals!

Here are some more useful tips for:

  • It's important to remember that this is likely going to be a trial and error process.  It would be rare for any business to be able to list everything accurately in all three sections.  In fact, one section, usually the function section, may even stay completely blank for a while because the process of figuring out and implementing creative methods to do better business is often a difficult one.
  • Be honest when you are enumerating your inputs. Make a section of inputs you have achieved, ones you are working on, and those that you know you will need to achieve later on.
  • Be realistic in your output section. Make sure you can can accomplish your goals with the resources and the time that you have.
  • Don't be afraid to leave your function section flexible.
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new and creative methods to reach your desired outputs.

Let us know how the in and out function machine worked for you by commenting on this blog below or by posting your responses on our Facebook/Twitter pages and tagging with #BusinessDetox and #FunctionMachine - @solutionsSBC.


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Last modified onThursday, 19 May 2016 03:34
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