Effective Business Procedures are Essential for Enabling Business Growth
It’s pretty common for businesses to start operating without any formal systems; in fact most SME’s start by simply monitoring “business income” against “business expenditure” and that is how they progress….. if you want the business to grow, this approach will never be good enough!
When I took my business from a sole trader to employ a workforce of over 300 I learnt early….. “Effective Business Procedures are Essential for Enabling Business Growth”
“If it’s not written down, you have no foundation to start controlled growth.”
Create a ‘Fit for Purpose’ System
Don’t be fooled by corporate level consultants that explain an elaborate mix of systematic genius….. what a load of crap!
- Don’t build a system that you will never use = Write a system that is based on what your business normally does
- Don’t make procedures and policies just because they look good = If you have a system, you must use it or it is pointless
- Don’t overdo things = Combine processes wherever possible and enable people to make decisions easily
A system should capture the natural business processes and what the business does “day in – day out”. The method for continual improvement is identifying where the business has a flaw, then make the required improvement and test its impact. Once the system is functioning, re-write the procedure so that the system represents ‘what you do’ once again.
“System Basics” for beginners….
“The root cause for implementing a system is because there is a re-occurring business problem.”
Whether you employ people or manage people, if you want to control the manner in which things are done then you need to put a system in place; typically businesses will implement a system to control a potential problem from occurring. These include:
- Legislative Compliance
- Quality, Safety & Environmental Impact
- Customer Satisfaction & Behaviour
- Efficiency and Consistency
- Financial Stability
For people that have never implemented any kind of system, they can begin with simple steps ‘dots’:
- Flow diagrams
- Proforma Templates
- Characteristics Charts
- Testing Methods
As the system grows, it becomes a matter of joining the ‘dots’…. this is done by scripting procedures that envelope the practical use of the different ‘dots’ to deliver a united outcome or product. This procedure is what people are directed to follow so that a predetermined outcome is achieved.
Writing a Procedure
Procedures are the documents which tie everything together (the dots), this can be done using these simple steps:
- What is the Scope of the procedure
- Reason for Implementation
- Method in which it applies
- Integration of Procedure with other procedures
- The document Revision number
- The Name of the document for easy reference
The Golden Rule for a System
When you have a system, then you can control the outcomes….
“If it cannot be measured it cannot be controlled”
So, make sure that processes can be measured, because if they are measurable and achievable then people can be accountable and responsible. Once you have a measurable outcome, objectives and targets can be introduced to make sure the system is being implemented.
Objectives and Targets assist the business operation because it can be analysed in a controlled manner.
No business system is perfect. There are always improvements to be made, and, whenever the business can become better those changes should be taken with ‘2 hands’.
Maintaining a structured system that is entirely based upon the business operations (it is intended to control and develop) is the only way the business itself can mature and provide the customer exactly what they expect.
The opportunities are endless, but be careful not to overdo it!
Written by Geoff Pike, Entrepreneur, Speaker & Business Mentor
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Geoff founded a sole trader plumbing business in a remotely located and vastly underpopulated location in outback Australia. Starting business with only enough money to pay 4 weeks wages, Geoff persisted by growing the business into a multi-disciplined trade services company. Over a period of 12 years, the company Geoff established grew to employ a workforce of over 300 personnel covering an area almost half the size of Europe, receiving international award recognition with an annual revenue of over $30mil. Geoff knows what it takes to overcome adversity.