Small business leaders want to change their systems and processes to achieve better results. Their gut instinct is to use technology. But they’re not sure where to start.
When a business isn’t running smoothly, guess who feels it the most – the leaders. Things are taking too long. There’s firefighting. You’re spending all your time and effort sorting out problems instead of looking forward. And at the back of your mind, you’re wondering how long everyone can keep it up.
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What does good look like?
Effective systems and processes make a small business run like well-oiled machinery. It’s fast and efficient which means you have capacity to grow. Everyone knows what to do, so you’ve got more time to focus on what’s most important. With better methods and technology, you’re consistently achieving better results.
Why CEOs Fail
The system and processes is how a small business executes. In Charan & Colvin Fortune Magazine’s article “Why CEO’s Fail”, they estimated that 70% fail due to bad execution. That is to say, bad business execution is a result of an ineffective business system.
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Five questions to up your game
We understand, it can feel like an enormous task. Here’s five questions to help focus on what’s important:
- What are the key processes that create value to your customers?
- What support processes enable the key processes?
- Where are the links between processes?
- Which processes enhance your unique offering?
- How can links between processes enhance your unique offering?
Let’s break those questions down:
The key or core processes in a small business system create direct value for a customer. You’ll find them in marketing, sales, operations, logistics and service. Any gaps in these key or core processes directly impact your customer. On the other hand when they work together, they create a great customer experience. Get this right, and you’ll have soaring customer satisfaction scores!
Support processes in a small business system keep the core processes running smoothly. For instance, information technology, human resources, finance, purchasing, maintenance, assets, and equipment. Gaps disrupt the smooth running of a business. That tends to affect customers or your costs. Get it right and nothing will stop you!
Links between Processes
A small business system has many linked processes. For example, a marketing process creates leads used by a sales process. You’ll know if it’s broken because sales won’t get the right information at the right time. Of course, they want leads that have a decent chance of success. In other words, a broken link in the chain will cause a system breakdown – and that’s a problem. And it always happens at the worst possible time!
Processes that enhance your offering
Small business system processes don’t create value equally. For example, some processes will be part of your unique offering. Likewise, it might be a combination of processes that make you unique. Knowing what makes your business unique helps you make better decisions on what you want to improve.
Process Links that enhance your offering
You’ve heard the phrase, greater than the sum of the parts. So that’s true for processes in a small business system too. For instance, you want a quick, efficient, and easy customer journey across departments.
We used to think about processes for a small business system as operating procedures and checklists. Information technology is an integral part of a modern business system, they work hand in glove – wouldn’t you agree? Instead of procedures and checklists, it’s about having an effective digital business system.
We understand it can feel overwhelming. You need both an overview and the ability to break the challenge down into smaller manageable chunks. Using information systems for your small business helps you achieve more. The digital business system is what enables leaders to scale and improve performance.