Recognizing synergies can make a remarkable difference for your business. The idea behind synergy is that one plus one no longer equals two, but now equals three or more. You’ll also hear the economic term “economies of scale,” which happens when potential output increases more than proportionally to the increase in inputs. The search for synergies is a constant process in many companies. I can recall a specific company in Utah that I helped through their product mix. Their sales team would go out on calls and were only able to offer customers a single product and a complementary add-on. I suggested that they look into additional products that they could provide to those same clients that were already nearly available. After some brainstorming and a few long nights, we created a product mix that could be used to upsell. The result was a more diversified and extensive product mix available to each customer, making one plus one equal more than two!
Finding these synergies, however, can be the hardest part and depends on how your business is organized. As important as the specifics are, the idea of synergy should be woven into your culture. A recent article in Chron Small Business magazine provides some great insights on creating a synergetic culture. “In simple terms, a synergistic organization achieves more as a group than its parts could in isolation. Increasing synergy requires a careful analysis of your organization’s current strategies to identify better ways of doing business.” As an outsourced CFO, I have considered this from the perspective of having visited numerous businesses in Utah and compiled three approaches that I strongly feel will help any business owners in the pursuit of synergies.
1. Complementary skills
Consider the various departments in your organization and the skills they provide. Combining these skills in strategic ways is one of the most practical ways to synergize. Say, for example, that you have a sales department that is great at creating and maintaining client accounts, and a research or marketing team that excels at expanding product lines. These two departments can work together to join these two skills, identifying product developments that better play to client needs.
2. Increase communication
Identify barriers of communication and brainstorm ways to open the lines of communication between departments. The potential innovation and increased efficiency associated with increased communication can be surprising. Warehouse workers, for example, probably know much more about the timing of orders and wasted shipping resources than anyone in the office that is shuffling papers. Ask departments to meet regularly to discuss current activities.
3. Have fun
No one likes coming into work when they dislike their job or the people they work with. Few things crush efficiency more quickly than poor morale. To create a synergetic culture, make sure that all employees are happy and enjoy what they do. However, there is a line between creating a fun work environment and wasting time and resources, so seek to strike a balance.