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Category - Procedures

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

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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How Systems And Procedures Can Build You A Better Life

“How Systems And Procedures Can Build You A Better Life” – that’s a heck of a promise, isn’t it?

Well, I think it’s true!

Life could be great for you right now, and you’re pumping it! But I know this – if you own and run a small business, especially if you started it within the last few years and you’re starting to get busy, you’re working pretty hard in your life right now, and dare I say, your work-life balance is probably out of whack.

I know what it’s like, I’ve been there, I’ve seen so many clients go through the same thing as well.

You start your business with a passion, you’re doing everything from opening the doors every morning to the marketing, to fronting the front-counter, to producing your service or product, to keeping the books – right up to sweeping up and locking the doors at night.

It’s pretty exhilarating at first – this is what you dreamt of, owning your own business and carving out your own pathway to business success!

But as business ramps up, it becomes a little consuming. It’s hard to maintain the energy levels and feel like you are focusing on what really drives the business because you are involved in doing everything. Even if you hire staff, it doesn’t seem to quite work out. You have to train them in what you used to do, and they don’t quite get it right, so you get re-involved. Or they leave and so you have to find and train someone else. Sometimes wires get crossed and tasks fall between the cracks because someone thought you were doing it when you thought they were. Pretty soon customers start to comment that the quality of what you deliver isn’t quite the same anymore, or worse, that it’s patchy and sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not.

So you work even harder to get it right, mainly by doing it yourself and pretty soon you’re working hard every day on all the details and the direction of the business starts to stagnate, your work-life balance, that dream to earn enough to spend time with the family seems to be a long way away.

Your life might be rocking, but it’s not well balanced! Ask your spouse!

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