I Know How to Do It…

As a business, it’s great knowing that you are an expert at what you do.  It is outstanding knowing that you have it down to a science.  You know, full well, that you can do everything you need to do in your sleep.

Problem is, the business is you.  When you go to sleep, when you are sick, when you have personal challenges that you must address, the business will stop.  Basically, you have a job and you work for yourself.  Maybe that is the epitome of success for you.  This is an excellent and honorable stay.  But…

  1. Are you planning to retire some day?
  2. Would you like to take a vacation without having to close the business for a week?
  3. Do you have a backup plan, in case you can no longer do what it is you do?
  4. Are you going to pass the business down to a family member, or sell it to one of your competitors.

For many people, owning and running a business is their ultimate expression of giving back to their communities.   Others simply feel that they want to work for themselves, and feel like they can do things a lot better than their previous supervisor or boss.  Others, still, do it for a sense of freedom or for a means to an end.  Certainly, there are those who simply love to be in business, start, run and sell businesses.

Unfortunately, many of these dreams are ill-fated, even from the outset.

Businesses thrive when there are systems and processes in place for getting things done.  Businesses fail when they don’t.  Because you know what to do doesn’t mean you are going to be a success.

I was speaking with one of my favorite clients about her business and about her processes.  I reminded her that she can no longer “be the business” meaning that everything in the business revolves around her.  She readily agreed and we got to work listing out the things that needed to be done in order to run her business.  It would go something like:

“So, Michelle, how do you do this?”clip_image002

“Well, I just do…it just takes me a few minutes.  It’s not a problem.”

“Okay…excellent.  What do you do.”

“Well, I do this, then I do that.”

I’ve heard this in the restaurant industry, as well:

“How much does the recipe cost you?”

“Oh – about $4.50, $4.75 or so, I guess”

“How do you know?”

“Kinda guess, I suppose”

“Do you have a recipe so we can cost it out”

“Yeah…you just throw some of this, and some of that…a little of this….”

In both cases, the processes were much more complex (and costly!) then they’d realized!  After writing the process down, in both cases, they were able to talk about ways to reduce the costs in the processes by redesigning the way they did things.  This is called Process Improvement.  Here are a few benefits to process improvements:

  1. You can evaluate what steps can be given to other people
  2. By freeing up your time, you can do other things, such as grow the business or increase capacity
  3. By teaching your team the documented steps, you can take a vacation every once in a while
  4. If you decide to sell the business, it is less likely to die once you walk away, making it more appealing to a savvy buyer
  5. You will have less waste!  Be it food, employees, paperwork or innovation, by developing written processes
  6. When there is a breakdown, it will be easy to identify where the problem is and how to fix it
  7. When you need to reduce costs, you can logically decided where it is safe to cut them without damaging your business

So, while you can do it all yourself, the reasons for not doing outweigh them, substantially.  The word is PROCESS.

At Aepiphanni Business Solutions, we are a Small Business Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small business owners. We specialize in helping you develop strategies for your organization, and are committed to your success. If you have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at info@aepiphanni.com.

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