Don’t re-invent a process every time you want to repeat it. There are a lot of arguments used when I suggest that something has to be systematized. The one I hear most often is; “We are not a cookie-cutter type of operation; we want to leave creativity open in our business.” There is a difference between wanting to be creative and not wanting to put the time and effort in developing systems in a business.
In doing desk audits (analyzing what each person in a firm does) I find that there is a lot of time wasted due to a lack of systems. There is so much time spent in “re-inventing the wheel” that what should be routine matters turn into major productions.
I believe that with systems comes innovation. It is easier to make changes/improvements if there is a basic plan to work from. As an example, I visited a manufacturer last week who could not find a form he wrote down on the back of “some paper”, and due to the urgency of the “form” which contained a customer’s request, we spent most of the morning trying to recreate what he lost.
Systems should be in place for the following areas:
- Customer service (during and after the sale)
- Internal operations
Coaching a new client usually involves my obtaining information on how work is currently done. Having systems in place allows me to understand how the business functions and to find areas that need improvement.
Many business owners us a “management by chance” method. In other words, there is a chance that it may work.
Take a look at the 5 items I listed above. Start this year by “working on your business” instead of “in your business”. Take the time to systematize each of the areas based on what you are doing now. This exercise will make you stop and take a closer look at your business, and I am sure you will notice a lot of deficiencies that can be changed to increase your bottom line.
Don’t let procrastination rob you of a successful year.
Nick J. Petra CFP