These days, the way you do business can be just as important as what you do.
It is fair to say that it is the processes within your business that will tie everything together. Without improving the processes, it is unlikely that your business will be able to achieve any of the first three Ways.
As customers become better educated and more discerning, they often expect more in terms of customer service - the way they are treated and how the product or service is delivered. Given that, it’s important to review the processes - those actions that make up your business - and implement strategies and systems to improve them.
This could range from picking up the phone no later than the second ring (which shows you’re attentive to the customer’s needs), using “awesome service” to show customers how special they are to you, improving the sales process, better educating your team members on the products and services you offer and, more importantly, the benefits to the customer of each, going the extra mile when it comes to serving them, improving the speed of delivery and more.
Working ON your business rather than IN your business is critical. If you, as the owner manager, are stuck with handling the day to day operations, the growth of the business will be limited. You simply won’t have time to implement the ideas that you have. By working ON your business and establishing processes to help you, you’ll create the time you need.
We thoroughly recommend that you read “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber - published by Harper Collins. This book is perhaps the best business book ever written for the owner manager, is easy to read and explores in great depth the principle of working ON not IN your business.
By working ON your business you’ll be able to develop systems and performance standards to allow you to confidently delegate and control more and more of the tasks you currently carry out yourself.
Not only will your business grow but it will also become much more valuable in the process.
Why not sit down with you team and think about what you could be doing differently to improve the way you do business.
Here’s a simple activity your team can use to start examining your current processes and possible improvements. Using a whiteboard or flipchart, draw a large square in the middle. On the left hand side of the square, draw an arrow hitting the box and on the right hand side an arrow leaving the box. Label the arrows input and output.
Now get your team to think of any process in the business (for example, the phone process, where inputs represent an incoming call, and outputs represent orders) - literally any process.
Now, in the square write the word “Activity”. Point out that the only way to get more outputs is to change the activity in the box. Taking the phone as an example, it could be that an input is when a customer calls and asks “what’s the price of XYZ?” The “Activity” in this case could be a team member simply giving the price in response. The customer then says “Thank you, I’ll call you back”, and there is no output.
To achieve the desired output, i.e. an order, you’ll need to consider if there is a better way of performing the activity - in this case, what the team member says in response to the question from the customer. There will be a better response than simply giving the price!
When you start to look at your business as a series of processes, you can produce dramatically positive results. Give it a try.