Building a business that’s fit for purpose is a constant challenge. There are many different reasons to start a business. Do you have a driving vision, perhaps one that will disrupt the market or break the mould? If so, how is that reflected in the day to day business tasks? How is your vision changing the way you do things? For further information on vision, see Paula Fernandes’ article “What is a Vision Statement?”.
Business Horizon taking your Breath Away!
Our three-part series “Business Horizon taking your breath away!”, there’s the wow factor of the big adventure as well as the need to take a breath and prepare for the next stage of the journey. In this blog, we take a look at preparing your business systems for the adventure and making sure it’s fit for purpose. Part-two “Data requirements – future plan” looks at how taking care of your data will help fuel your digital future. Finally, in part-three “What tech? Advantage or Headache” we take a look at what tech will help you scale and what will cause problems down the road.
Systems and processes work better when designed as a business system. Our guide, Business System: An Essential Guide to Growth, will help you design a robust system for better results.
The big adventure
I grew up in the seventies with low-cost package holidays. When I was a child, we stayed on the historic Greek island of Paros. Now my parents decided to follow local traditions and have a siesta in the afternoon. Well, no youngster wants to be stuck indoors, so I headed out to explore the island. With no real plan, I started to climb the 724 m (2,375 ft) mountain. There was no real path, more of a scramble, initially up the steep sided terraces and then towards the summit.
I remember feeling excited by the climb, and also feeling fear. It had taken time to climb and I didn’t know if I’d find my way back. At one point I realised that I was higher than a helicopter that was flying through the valley. No one knew where I was, I had no water despite the heat, no map, and no kit – and it was great fun!
Don’t lose the excitement
As a parent the thought of a young child, going off by themselves, let alone to climb a mountain in an unknown country, rather scary. I consider myself blessed by my parents’ relaxed take on all those early adventures (well it was the seventies). Of course, as an adult I’d want to think about what I’d need on the journey and be prepared. Being prepared doesn’t take the fun away, if anything, it can make it more enjoyable. I want to keep that sense of adventure and also make sure I’m ready for the challenge.
Prepare for the challenge
I had great fun climbing that mountain, yet I wasn’t prepared. It’s good to prepare for challenges. If you’re going on a long hike, you might want to get some walks in, and get your body in shape. Build stamina. Make sure you can use a map. Research routes and learn about what you might expect. Otherwise, you might start well and then fall at the first obstacle. Worst case, it all goes horribly wrong.
Are your systems prepared and fit for purpose? Does everyone know what they’re doing? Is everything mapped out in detail. Do you know what you need and what to expect? Is everything there and ready to go?
Systems ready to scale
Are your business systems fit for purpose, can they scale? They might work now, but what happens when you put them under more pressure. What happens when staff are on vacation or sick, will they still work? Are you starting to see cracks? If you are, then that warning is worth acting on sooner than later. After all, when you start to get a blister walking, taking immediate action can avoid making it worse.
Systems working for you
Another aspect of a fit for purpose systems is, do they work for you? Now don’t get me wrong, there’s great value in learning from what others are doing. However, it’s not always the case that it works well in your business. Using the same systems as everyone else is unlikely to give you much of an advantage. Those areas of the business that give you competitive advantage are most likely to be more unique and more specific to your offering. So, do those systems reflect your unique knowledge & leadership?
If we’re serious about achieving our scale-up goals, preparing well for the challenge makes sense to avoid falling short. It’s wise to plan & test systems thoroughly to ensure they will meet your future demands. Spot cracks and flaws early to avoid system failure when the pressures on. Fit for purpose also means making sure those systems give you the competitive advantage you need. If you’re struggling to get your arms around creating fit for purpose systems, why not take the first step and arrange to have an informal chat with me in complete confidence.
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