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Productivity / Processes

Small business systems: getting the best bang for buck

Focus on these areas when implementing small business systems and you’re sure to get the best returns on your efforts.

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There are numerous benefits of implementing business systems – improved consistency, efficiency and resilience to name a few. But if you’re just starting to systemise your business, how can you ensure you experience these benefits as soon as possible? Focus on the following areas and your business will be consistent, efficient and resilient in no time.

1. Where you can make the biggest impact

Begin your systems implementation in areas where there is significant risk or there is potential to be significant risk to your business:

  • processes that have consistent problems that are costing your business time, money or cost to reputation
  • processes that are performed frequently in the business
  • processes that are currently working well but if there was an issue would cost your business significant time, money or cost to reputation

If the process is performed frequently the savings in reduced errors will add up quickly.

2. Where your skills weaknesses are

Most of us go into business being an expert in our particular area, but there are many skills we’ve had to learn about along the way. Even if you’ve been in business for a while there are probably still one or two areas that you might consider a weakness. You should:

"To make the most of an outsourcing arrangement everyone involved needs to have a very clear understanding of the process being outsourced. "

  • target this area and ensure you have documented systems
  • at the very least develop a checklist to follow, it will do wonders for your confidence and efficiency
  • seek expert advice or ask a colleague in your network to review your processes if required

And if it is really an area that you would rather not have on your regular to-do list, maybe outsourcing is the answer…

Want more articles like this? Check out the processes section.

3. Areas you are considering outsourcing

Outsourcing can be a cost-effective way to regain some precious time to concentrate on the work that you are great at and love doing. To make the most of an outsourcing arrangement everyone involved needs to have a very clear understanding of the process being outsourced and the expectations around the end product or service to be delivered. Remember:

  • outsourcing without procedures is asking for misunderstanding and errors
  • procedures inform your new supplier about how “things are done” in your business and about your expectations for the process
  • information such as frequency, other processes that depend on the outsourced activity, specifications for the final product etc. should be included in the procedure

Make sure that both parties are clear on the service to be provided. Clear expectations equal a more streamlined and effective outcome and will likely lead to a better relationship with your supplier.

4. Areas where you are considering bringing on additional staff

Having your systems figured out and your business processes documented will streamline your training and induction.

Systems will ensure:

  • consistency of process, no matter how many people perform the task
  • training is consistent from person to person
  • your new staff are able to work independently sooner

Don’t forget to set up systems for training. Consider a training plan or checklist for each position so that you bring consistency to your training and induction process. Use the opportunity of having fresh eyes in your business to review your procedures and make it clear that you value improvement suggestions.

Ultimately, it is up to you where you start systemising your business, but if you start your work in these areas you’ll be giving your business a great systems kick-start.

Have you implemented systems? What area of your business did you introduce small business systems to first? 

Mary Gardam

is the Principal Quality Advisor at LogiQA. She has held a number of senior quality roles but is now enjoying introducing small business to the benefits of business systems. Mary also lectures in Quality Systems at Griffith University.

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