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Control Systems………..

Every business, no matter what their stage of development, requires some form of a control system. The term control is defined as the process of influencing the behavior of those working within an organization.

Having control systems in place will help in the attainment of the firm’s goals. My definition of a control system is: setting in place a structure that focuses on the company goals. I use the word focus because all systems should be geared towards reaching the goals set in the strategic plan.

A small business, even a one-person firm, needs to have systems in place to ensure that all the functions that need to be performed are completed every day. Distractions are many in a very small business, and without a control system in place a downward spiral may occur as the unfinished work overwhelms the owner.

I have found that as a firm grows its staff more control systems are put in place; unfortunately, many don’t contribute directly to reaching company goals. Some control systems are put in place to manage other control systems and thus the bureaucracy grows.

Control systems should be in place in all areas of a business, from marketing to production, to accounting and to delivery of the product or service. Measuring the effectiveness of systems in all areas includes the measurement of the performance of those delegated to implement the system.

Yes, it may sound like a time management system and yes, it does help with time management. Control systems, once in place and implemented, avoid the unnecessary re-invention of tasks.

With control systems that is also a potential down side; not stepping away to see if new systems, because of technology or other outside influence, may offer a better  alternative.

Systems do not control themselves thus the term control systems requires someone to accept responsibility of overseeing (being in control)  the systems.  As a business grows there comes a point when the founder has to relinquish control of some of the systems. This transition, I have found, is one of the hardest to implement; not letting go of control is possibly just as bad as not having control.


The only sustainable competitive advantage comes from out-innovating the competition.              James Morse

Nick J. Petra CFP

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