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Category - Procedures

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1
Training Your Employees For Your Absence
2
Clean Up Your Business While You’re Quiet
3
Operational Efficiency – The First Steps
4
A Challenge in Customer Fulfilment
5
How Systems Can Change The World (or at least your sanity)

Training Your Employees For Your Absence

Unless you own and wish to continue to own a micro-business where you work on your own in your profession or trade, it is more than likely that as a small business owner you wish to expand and grow your business to the extent that you will be employing people as you grow.

Most of us who run and operate small businesses wish to grow in size – as our sales and profits grow, by necessity we need to scale and grow our workforce so that we can produce more, or meet more customers or provide more services. We are constrained by the number of productive hours we, or anyone we employ, can spend on producing goods or services. So we employ more people.

Some of the new people we employ may not be directly customer-facing. Indeed we may need more and more “back-room” hours from new people – keeping the books, managing the stores, manufacturing or working behind the scenes.

The question is, how do you introduce more and more people and continue to control and manage the business as more and more people do the things that you used to do?

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Clean Up Your Business While You’re Quiet

OK, so it’s early January; you’re still full from the celebratory food and drink, and you may not have opened your business in the New Year yet.

Even when you open this or next week, maybe because of the usual holiday period and a little virus it will be a bit quiet in these first few weeks.

Well, instead of doing nothing, how about taking advantage of this and cleaning up some things in and around your business? Now is a great time to tidy up inefficiencies, catch up on some administration, finish those new ideas you have, and make plans for the future.

Here are some of the things you can do around and in your business when it’s quiet.

First, you can sit quietly over the next couple of days and prepare your business plan for the coming year.

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Operational Efficiency – The First Steps

In my Small Business Owners Growth Guide, I identify the Six Business Success Factors.

In 40 years of working with small businesses, I have observed that all successful businesses do these 6 things well.

They are:-

  1. The Act of Leadership
  2. The Practice of Planning
  3. The Logic of Marketing
  4. The Pursuit of Customer Fulfilment
  5. The Attainment of Operational Efficiency
  6. The Mastery of Finance.

You can download my free Small Business Owners Growth Guide to the Six Business Success Factors here and “audit” your business to see how well developed they are in your business.

I’ve recently dealt with Leadership, Planning, Marketing and Customer Fulfilment in this blog, so this week I want to turn my attention to Operational Efficiency.

What do I mean by that?

I also want to set you a challenge that you can undertake over the next 5 days, taking just an hour a day to start your journey in Operational Efficiency.

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A Challenge in Customer Fulfilment

Customer Fulfillment usually refers to the process of delivering the product or service to the customer, involving “order fulfilment” methods such as logistics.

However, when I say customer fulfilment, I mean the whole system of ensuring that your customer is “fulfilled” in their engagement with you.

In other words, how fulfilled are they when they first encountered you, how easy was it to transact with you, whether they received their goods and services in the way and time that they liked, and what was their experience after the sale?

I take customer fulfilment to be much more than “customer service”.

It’s about total satisfaction.

In this definition, customer fulfilment is one of the six key factors that successful businesses must have to be successful.

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How Systems Can Change The World (or at least your sanity)

There was the Stone Age.

In the Stone Age, small business owners learned the best ways of doing things. Then, they hired staff and they tried to get their staff to do those same things the way they had done them earlier.

Of course, their staff tried to follow. But the small business owner had other tasks to do, so they left their staff alone. But somehow, their staff could not do those things in exactly the same way the owner did them before. Something was always forgotten, one step perhaps, or a key ingredient. The small business owners got frustrated. They showed their staff again. Over time, their staff again kept missing something. In fact. left on their own, their staff often found different ways of doing those things. They thought it was better, but the owners did not agree! In fact, services started to suffer. Their customers just weren’t as satisfied as when the owners did things for them. They complained that each time they bought something, they got something different. I mean, when Fred ordered a Brontosaurus Burger, he expected it to taste the same every time. Yet, sometimes it was served rare, sometimes well done; sometimes it had lost of sauce, sometimes none. What was going on?

So the poor Stone Age small business owner had to keep re-training his people and more often than not had to go back and do it himself. This really was stopping his ability to grow and open more stores because he spent so much of his time training staff, correcting mistakes or doing things himself. He was driving himself insane!

Then came systems, and the world changed!

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