Monday, August 02, 2021 / 07:00PM / By FCMB Business Zone / Header Image Credit: Make Money
One of the common reasons small businesses fail is the
inadequate management of their people, processes and other activities required
to achieve the vision of the organization. The effective interplay between
these factors is what determines the strength of a business.
business owners venture into their own enterprises because of the need to
supplement their income or as a result of being unemployed for too long. Thus,
the managerial skills and business acumen required to sustain the business is
often missing. Some of these business owners still find themselves working more
than they would have done working for an employer while having little to show
for it. This is mainly because the business still largely revolves around them
rather than on systems and structures necessary to keep the business
operational with or without them.
Regardless of being formed as a one-man business (sole
proprietorship), partnership, or limited liability company or otherwise, it is
important to ensure your business is built on systems not sentiments, in order
to move from being just self-employed to having an organization that can
outlive you. Other reasons why it is essential to have reliable systems in
place include, but not limited to:
- It facilitates the smooth
running of your business with minimum supervision from you as the founder
of the business.
helps reduce workload and eliminate bottle necks.
- It aids
the effective assignment of clear roles and responsibilities within the
organization thereby reducing duplications and conflicts.
enhances the smooth flow of information from one level of the organization
makes the automation of your process easier.
helps identify the strengths and weaknesses within the organisation
reliable systems you can consistently deliver value and replicate what
costs can be reduced and revenue enhanced.
- It helps you put in place
checks and balances within the organisation thereby ensuring good corporate
According to business process experts, the business systems most organisations
have are the financial management, facilities management, employee management,
information management, customer development, product development, supplier
development, operations management, service management, improvement management
and enterprise management systems. Often, enterprise resource planning softwares
and tools should be adopted to help streamline these processes.
So how do you get started:
1. Document the least to the most
important activity you engage in to ensure your business is functional.
From developing a product or service to getting
customers or clients to purchase same, there are different touch points and
activities involved in ensuring these processes kick off and gets completed in
due time. Identifying these touch points, the activities, the people or
departments or tools involved and how regular these activities are executed is
the first phase of developing your business system.
2. Develop a Process Map
Next is to develop a process map which is the visual
representation of how work flows from one aspect, level or department of the
organization to another. This shows who and what is involved in a business
process; while helping to define the input, processing, decision and output
stages in order to appropriately assign roles and responsibilities and business performance measurement
metrics where necessary.
Process maps aid the improvement of communication
between the persons involved in executing various assignments, while serving as
a tool to identify problems and proffer possible solutions. By showing detailed
connections and sequences using a process map, everyone gets to clearly see and
understand that their work is interrelated and can be affected if one delays or
fails to complete his or her tasks in due time.
3. Develop standard operating
procedures (SoPs) or work guides
Further to having a process map in place is the need
to have standard operating procedures which are step by step guides that
describe how activities identified should be performed. They help to document
the instructions and steps to be taken to ensure a process is completed
appropriately every time.
This documentation also helps ensure that tasks
assigned are completed in accordance with your industry’s standards and
relevant laws, in order to ensure you are compliant.
4. Design templates for almost
everything to ensure easily replication.
Beyond having SoPs, templates help to easily replicate
the processes that are often repeated within the business. For instance, your
proposals and other communication materials should be templated such that you
can quickly adapt them for similar organisations within the same sector. With
this you can ensure consistency in your communication and enhance easy brand
5. Evaluate the systems efficiency
& improve on any gaps identified.
In order to ensure the purpose of the systems set up
are met, it is important to measure the performance of the systems. This helps
to ascertain if they are in alignment with the needs of the business. Measuring
the performance of your business process also helps to identify gaps and
possible solutions to bridge those gaps.
In all, your business process should be simple, easy
to adopt and flexible enough to adjust to trends and customers expectations.
For instance, if the mode of delivering your services used to be offline, the
Covid-19 pandemic has taught us that offline only is not enough, you will need
to incorporate online processes as well. Also, ensure you consult experts where
necessary and keep learning about ways to improve your business processes. You
should also make an effort to hire competent people because people are the
drivers of processes.
Though you may nurse the fear that your ideas will be
stolen or duplicated by employees when they exit your business; it is important
to note that there will always be something unique about the way you run your
business that another person will not be able to replicate easily. Thus, don’t
burn yourself out trying to do everything yourself, learn to delegate and trust
Credit: This post first
appeared on FCMB Business Zone HERE
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