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Future-proof your business with tips from B12’s Firm of the Future Award recipient
The past few years have tested business owners, from a pandemic and looming recession to staff and supply chain woes. To support the professional service providers who keep going amid these challenges, B12 recently awarded one innovative company a cash grant, free website and online tools, and other resources to help drive business growth.
We’re excited to announce that our Firm of the Future recipient is Action Logistix, a warehouse staffing agency serving the St. Louis area. While other agencies were forced to close, they managed to keep their doors open, and even thrive during tough times, adding clients and not laying off a single employee.
Learn more about how Action Logistix evolved to withstand challenges, and how your firm can replicate their efforts for success and longevity.
Consistency through the unexpected
Action Logistix is a specialized staffing agency led by mother-son team, Josh Browell and Barbara Bartelsmeyer. Instead of broadly serving all industries, which inevitably causes knowledge gaps, they focus on their niche areas of expertise: warehousing and manufacturing.
When COVID-19 forced many companies to pause hiring and lay off workers, there were few opportunities for staffing firms. Action Logistix was deemed an essential employer due to its role in the supply chain, and committed to keeping all of their employees working. This forced Barbara and Josh to focus on business development and winning new clients, particularly ones whose staffing firms were forced to close during COVID.
For months, there wasn’t enough money for Josh and Barbara to get paid, but they kept their doors open, staff working, and their focus on new business paid off as they added more and more clients.
What has sustained Action Logistix’s success is their dedication to fostering the best people, processes, and products. According to Barbara, “We hire only the best. People who are reliable, honest, and respectful of everybody. There are documented processes that our people follow to ensure consistency between all of our offices, including shared systems that transcend any individual person.”
How to future-proof your firm
Future-proofing means you’re constantly innovating and improving to operate more efficiently today, while setting yourself up for what’s coming tomorrow. These future-proofing tips, inspired by Action Logistix, can help you thrive through hard times.
Use technology strategically
An impactful way to future-proof your firm is to stay up-to-date with new technology and industry trends. According to Barbara, “[Action Logistix is] agile and laser-focused on using technology whenever possible.” This growing trend has become the norm for businesses, which find automation appealing due to its cost-effectiveness and increased efficiency.
To integrate more technology into your company, consider a few time-consuming but simple manual processes you want to automate, from appointment scheduling and sending basic emails to following up on overdue invoices.
Be precise in how you implement technology. It’s more about maximizing your existing team’s efficiency than replacing these workers with automation. Moreover, upskilling your employees to take advantage of new technologies and trends can help keep them engaged and excited about their work.
However, know the limitations of your tech and tools. Human touch is still needed in many areas. For example, there are instances when customers don’t mind interacting with a chatbot, like when looking for basic information about your company, but there are other times when they need to talk to a human in order to be successful.
Invest in employees
As Action Logistix knows well, employees are a firm’s greatest asset. Their loyalty and hard work carry your business through tough times and allow you to reach your goals. Reward their efforts and improve employee retention by creating a positive employee experience. Whether you offer them new perks, invest in additional training and education, or simply express your gratitude, this can help make them more engaged, productive, and loyal to your firm.
Listen to customers
Barbara says, “Action Logistix is always listening to our customers and pivoting to support them.” Taking this approach to your firm shows you value your clients’ opinions and can make them feel more attached to you. Improving your customer experience is worth it, as increasing customer retention by just 5% can boost profits by 25-95%.
Be ready to fund your future
While you can never fully predict or prepare for a pandemic or economic downturn, you can help set up your business for success. One of the most straightforward ways to do it is simply saving for a rainy day, like Action Logistix has. Barbara shares, “We have strong reserves and no debt, and believe this will allow us to weather and fund any future challenges.”
It doesn’t have to happen overnight. You can slowly build a fund to help your business stay afloat when you unexpectedly lose a client, a vendor increases their costs, or you need to hire a recruiter to replace one of your employees. Start building your emergency fund by looking for ways to cut costs and reduce spending, saving your tax refund, and working to reduce debt.
Digitize your business
Your clients are used to the convenience of services like Amazon Prime, Grubhub, and Netflix. How can you make their process of buying professional services just as seamless and user-friendly? Start by elevating your online presence, like Action Logistix did when it built its website using B12.
The company’s B12 website is set up to nurture both of its audiences: applicants and employers. Each group goes through their specific funnel on the website, leading to next steps like submitting an online application or the employer contact form. Both audiences are able to quickly find what they need, complete next steps, and receive more targeted service from Action Logistix.
Does your site make it simple for clients to do business with you? From scheduling an appointment online, submitting their intake form, and signing a contract, they should be able to do all of it virtually, and fast. If you need help shifting more of your operations online, B12 gets you up and running online in 30 days or less – complete with a website, payments and invoicing, email marketing, scheduling, and more. Sign up now to launch fast, evolve over time, and scale your firm exponentially.
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