Many small businesses are so busy running the business and fending off daily emergencies that systems go completely ignored and chaos often prevails.
The business that leads in the race for customers is the business that has all its systems integrated and working smoothly together. A business that has an infallible billing system, acceptable customer service but has too much inventory is not going to win the race.
Ideally, your systems create an experience for the customer that makes him or her want to come back for more.
Here are some tips to make sure your systems are up and running at a winning pace:
Make sure you have a schedule for reviewing your systems and procedures. Consider reviewing them:
Monthly to ensure procedures are being followed and required (not out of date)
Annually to check for potential efficiency gains. This check should include talking to relevant team members to gain their practical advice about things they think work well or should change.
Do not follow. Just because a system worked for one business does not mean it will work for yours. Always consider your business and your customer needs when using other businesses as referees for model systems.
Have a Backup Plan. Take care that your systems have a backup and do not rely on one person to make them work. People get sick, make mistakes and have emergencies.
Documenting how you do business safeguards your business in emergencies, alleviates confusion on the part of your team members and can ultimately protect you in potential legal matters. Think how much more appealing your business would be to a potential investor, lender or buyer if you could present a how-we-do-it-here manual.
This check is to verify that your systems have the capacity to help you achieve your business goals. As an example, there is no point having a business goal to grow using an online store if your website is not set up to handle online purchases.
Peter Bridges has a business which sells motor vehicle spare parts for a range of makes and models. The business has grown rapidly beyond Peter’s expectations and management abilities. He feels like he is on a runaway train and is desperate to streamline operations. He and his team are working very hard, yet customer satisfaction is slipping and profits are starting to suffer.
The root cause of the problem is that this type of business requires strong processes and procedures to control stock and orders. The few systems it has have not grown with the business and are not well documented.
Peter sought the help of his Accountant. He gave them a sizeable brief. Help me get my business under control. Find my profit and help me return to working normal hours.
The Accountant tackled the problem from three fronts:
Identify Peter’s business goals: Where does he want to be in 3 years?
Streamline operations and increase the efficiency of the processes.
Align processes with business goals.
Create a short sharp Strategic Plan (how Peter will achieve his business goals).
Review operations and redesign business processes to achieve maximum efficiencies.
Engage an HR consultant to help with restructure of team.
Benefits for Client
Streamlined documented operations, thereby reducing cost of operations.
Reduction in cycle time of processes, thereby enhancing the market standing of the client
A client who is confident, is in control and driving the business forward in the direction of his choice.