One of the best investments you can make when setting up your small business is to begin to create a ‘dummies guide’ to the way you operate. No one will ever do it the same way as you – but unless you create a guide – how can anyone understand just the way you want ‘things done around here’?
Our ultimate goal in business should be to earn money while you sleep – in your purple pyjamas – and the only way to do that is to have systems, processes, and procedures in place that are easy for other people to understand and follow.
Start by thinking through all the steps that are involved in getting your products or services to your customer, from start to finish – from the first steps in designing making your products or providing a quote through to delivery and payment and after service care. Include descriptions of raw materials or services you will rely on, physical processes involved, the order in which things must be done, and whose responsibility each step is.
It is also important to think about how decisions are made. If you are a small operation – what happens if the kids are sick or when one person is away? Will the process that is required to get your products to market still be able to happen?
Steps from your enterprise to your target customer:
Many enterprises rely on materials or services from other people or businesses. Some, like petrol or electricity, are unlikely to fail you or cause you problems. But there could be others that might cause you problems if they are suddenly unavailable or the price goes up. You don’t know about what goes on in other people’s business so don’t take the risk by being reliant on just one supplier.
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By going through these steps not only do you start to create an operations manual, the process can help you identify opportunities to reduce costs, improve efficiencies, and minimise risk.
What can you improve on?