The most successful of businesses operate with the proper systems in places to not only make a profit, but to continually grow and evolve.
Regardless of the size of your business, think of this as setting up an overall infrastructure. This infrastructure needs to support your employees (and/or you), your customers, your technology and your functional-level processes.
This infrastructure will look a little different for each company, as not all businesses are the same.
What Does This Look Like for Your Business?
As a business owner, you set the tone for the entire company, whether you are team of one or a team of 20. You need to evaluate your business strategy and understand your priorities.
Your business plan is that overall infrastructure. It should include each of your processes for you to reference at any time. Let’s talk about a few areas where processes are vital to your success.
Employees and Customers
If you are planning to hire employees, what will your onboarding process look like? Once they are hired, what are their daily/weekly/monthly expectations? Directives must be clear with your employees for them to be successful in their role and provide you with the most value.
If you are the sole employee, how will you measure your success? How will you prioritize your days? For example, will you designate specific days/time for emails or check periodically throughout the day? You should review with yourself each of your responsibilities and develop a plan.
As for customers and clients, you will need a process for working with them. Transactional customers are fairly straight forward. However, clients require more of a strategic approach. Being clear about your deliverables and expectations of them is important to the success of the relationship.
In addition, what does your customer service look like? Is it a natural part of your customer/client relationship or do you have designated services? Exceptional customer service is expected and there should be a plan for handling customer inquiries.
What pieces of technology are essential to running your business efficiently and effectively? There are thousands of tools available to businesses, but which ones will benefit your business the most?
Do you need a CRM platform, social media planning tool, and accounting software? Once you’ve determined your needs, you must then ask yourself if you have the resources to manage these tools (if not, read below about outsourcing). Even though they are tools implemented to assist you in your business, you’ll still need to set up processes for how you will use each of these products.
Functional-Level and Outsourcing
Functional-level areas include marketing and sales, logistics and operations, and accounting. Much of your technology will aid you in creating processes in these areas, but it’s important they are included in your plan. Consider how you will handle each of these areas or if you need to outsource some responsibilities.
If considering the latter, you will want to ask yourself, what functional area(s) should you outsource to be most successful and profitable? There are some tasks that are better outsourced to professionals. This may be because you are not savvy in that area or you do not have the time to be successful in specific areas and manage the overall business.
One good example is to hire a social media manager. The amount of time and effort that goes into running a handful of successful social media channels is extensive. Another functional task to outsource would be bookkeeping/accounting. It may be something that you are capable of handling, but outsourcing means you have more time to focus on what you are best at.
Let’s Set Up That System
Consistency is key in all aspects of your business. Having a business plan with detailed processes for managing and growing your business will be a gamechanger.