The Foundation for Business Success Begins with This One Key Element
Developing systems and processes is one of the most important things a business can do to invest in its future. Unfortunately, this fact is often overlooked and/or undervalued by most business owners. They either haven’t taken the time to put the necessary systems and process in place or have failed to clearly define what they are. The systems and processes that do exist in these businesses typically reside in the head of the owner or one of the employees.
The problem according to W. Edward Deming is, “94% of all failure is a result of the system...not the people. The performance of anyone is governed by the system they work in.” Put another way, a strong and well documented system leads to strong performance whereas no system makes poor performance inevitable.
In their book The One Thing, Keller and Papasan discuss something similar when looking at the difference between acting entrepreneurially versus purposefully. Acting entrepreneurially is relying on your natural abilities day in and day out to get something done. This way of acting lacks a plan or process thus will always carry a ceiling of achievement with it. The only way to break through is by choosing a more purposeful approach. To identify and incorporate new, or even better, systems and processes that allow you to shatter that ceiling.
When developing and documenting a specific system or process there are 5 simple questions you need to be able to answer:
1) What is this system or process for?
2) When do we do it?
3) Why do we do it?
4) How do we do it?
5) What are the results we’re looking for?
If you don’t have clarity on these elements or on how you measure success, your employees aren’t going to perform the task the right way. Although it’s important to be very clear and specific when answering these questions, it can be easy to get bogged down in the minutia. Don’t worry about trying to document every little detail. The most important thing is to write down the basic steps...the elements that can’t be missed.
As John Jantsch states in his book Duct Tape Marketing, “At its core, a fully functioning business is basically a set of systems and processes.” When incorporated properly they can eliminate obstacles and pave the way for opportunities. They make it easier to grow a business, take time off, sell it, and even make it possible to let someone else run it. Systems and processes are the foundation for building a business that can successfully operate whether the owner is there or not.
If you’re feeling inspired and are ready to take your business to the next level, give me a shout. All it takes is one discussion to put yourself on the path to extraordinary results.