The word “streamlined” conjures up images of a sleek object surging forward, impervious to friction. With a well-thought-out system to propel it, that streamlined object could be your business.
Understanding Business Systems
An effective business system coalesces your team’s operations into a definite, reliable, and efficient template for success. The ultimate aim is to reduce the resources of time, manpower, and capital required to maintain or improve your current KPI statistics. In that sense, they are akin to SOPs, with the key differentiator being that business systems are far more comprehensive.
A business system may be designed to work on several fronts and achieve multiple goals at once. These objectives can include:
- creating transparency that enhances inter-departmental collaboration
- consolidating parallel procedures into a unified pipeline
- eliminating overlaps in responsibilities and paperwork
- automating repetitive tasks
An excellent example of an effective business system can be found in any leading fast-food chain. Through a standardized set of rules and procedures, a burger from any of their franchises across the world looks and tastes the same, and takes an identical amount of time to prepare. That homogeneity is an incredible asset, allowing these companies to move resources and personnel between stores with minimal disruption to customer satisfaction or operational efficiency.
Create Your Own
Every operational business already employs a business system, whether or not they are aware of its existence. However, the efficacy of a system that manifests incidentally from a repetitive rut pales in comparison to that of a coherent, deliberately constructed one. Use these four steps to create your own robust and substantive business system.
- Hello, elements. You cannot improve a system or process without an intimate understanding of how all the discrete pieces fit and complement each other. Speak to your department heads and determine the essentials of Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of the operations you wish to overhaul. This process rewards you with a comprehensive overview of each element’s place in the whole.
- Voila, a plan. With the insight gleaned from the step above, identify critical points where changes have the potential to make the greatest impact. If you are doing this for the first time, consider using the four bulleted points in the previous section (create, consolidate, eliminate, and automate) as a broad roadmap. At the end of this phase, you should have a rudimentary business system. Disseminate it to relevant team members in text, image, spreadsheet, audio, and/or video format.
- Plan, meet reality. Most plans don’t perform in the real world as well as they do in our brainstorming projections. The first implementation of a business system usually proves that human beings have the potential to misunderstand, confuse, and, essentially, break anything. These revelations are invaluable – they will reveal bottlenecks and operational conflicts that you must address for your business system to work.
- Tweak, implement, repeat. An effective business system will improve KPI metrics but its first iteration is unlikely to be ideal. Fiddle with the specifics and fine-tune them for the best results; the only way to do this is through trial and error. There is no rule that demands that a system be static, either. As your organization and its needs evolve over time, adapt your business system to keep performance at its peak.
At DeSantis Trusted Advisors, we provide consulting, advisory, and coaching services to businesses and their stakeholders with the goal of creating pathways to success. If you would like to discuss how your organization can adopt a streamlined business process, please contact me today.