As a business owner, what do you feel is most important when it comes to building solid small business operations?
I'm conducting a survey of my fellow-business owners to learn what their views are on essential business operations. In building your business sustainably, what elements do you think will most ensure your success?
It is very important to use a good crm software for your business like the one from https://www.bpmonline.com It helps business owners organize and optimize all the processes and manage customers efficiently. Which is your favourite CRM software, by the way?
From my point of view, it depends on a solid organizational infrastructure, which will be the backbone for your business when the time comes for growth; look at Starbucks' execution intelligence when Shultz founded such a strong point-of-sale systems with good information technology management; as an example: this is a solid business operation example.
it's to take care of the below points with an operative perspective:
1- internal processes efficiency and how it's adding value to external, internal customers
2- lead times for each processes
3- bottlenecks with processes
4- technology needed to facilitate processes
5- culture for people as a framework to carry on processes
6- people (training, development, incentives..etc)
7- environment suitable in terms of achieving a good work&life balance
I think it is a part formula. I also clearly don't know your business and who you sell to or what your sell. But, it is about 3 elements : Relationship Management, Road map to Revenue, and Customer Success. You have to have a strategy around all 3 of these elements. If you do, most businesses would say they were successful. Much to consider here but that is,my opening shot!
1. A business plan
2. Clear financial plan for 1, 3 and 5 years with P+L, Cashflow models and Balance sheet
3. Enough money to run the business at break-even at best for the first couple of years
4. Supportive partner (it will take up most of your time for 2-3 years
5. Mentor/business adviser
6. Discipline in following all of the above.
How's that for starters?
As a full time smb consultant, I can offer this: We approach each client with a straight forward approach. If we feel the client business can be saved (some are too far gone), we institute a three pronged approach.
Operation, marketing and financial protocols. Without these three, the business will continue to limp along. This ts the Cliff Notes answer, of course it is much more complicated than that.
By operation protocols, we mean several things. First, the business has GOT to be customer-centric in every single aspect of the business, all the way to the night cleaners. They must live for service, just the same way house servants took care of the Lord of the Manor. Service must of the highest caliber, sincere and consistent.
Enhancing the operations with new EXPERIENCES that create enthusiasm, pride, uniqueness and customer-facing. The experience economy demands it. It is not the packaging, pitch or price that people remember, it's the great memories from the experience. Remember the best meal out with your friends? Was it the steak or the camaraderie that stuck in your mind?
Marketing protocols are by far the most complex of the recommendations. Because each small business has its own audiences, locations, customer demographics and so forth, custom marketing across all channels is mandatory. However, it the operational protocols are deeply entrenched and executed with perfection, referrals will come on their own, but you could nudge them with "unexpected extras." Remember, EXPERIENCES AND MARKETING create a more positive brand. Customer loyalty builds with each great experience, but it is really easy to lose that loyalty, so be careful.
Financial protocols in our business can work for any business, but it takes determination and hard work. We always require the business to go on a 7 day P & L. What? Yes, a 7 day profit and loss statement. Several of the numbers can be qualified estimates, but at the end of every for weeks, everything washes to its final format. Cash flow estimates occur every day, GAAP must be included, strong accounting, whether it is cash or accrual.
Obviously, none of these protocols will stick unless you're specific and they have to be written. However, the real key to ensuring sustainability and growth is the cap to the program: OVERSIGHT.
We believe OVERSIGHT is going to be the knot in the rope for Air BnB, Uber and a whole lot of other "disruptive" enterprises. They don't have local oversight. In reality, they operate an e-commerce site and leave the risk to everyone else.
That's my answer and I am sticking to it!
Best of LIfe!
From my viewpoint, having coached several hundred business owners and executives on ways to improve the running of their businesses, here are a few of the most essential elements of operating a successful business:
1. Think like a business owner. Remember, the business is under your guidance. It will perform as you direct it. Being able to stay ahead of what's happening now by planning out your medium range strategy for acquiring clients, overseeing the financial flow and insuring the customer experience is to your standard are areas that are most important for the business owner.
2. If you have a staff or are working on developing a team of employees, vet them well and make sure they thoroughly understand their purpose and responsibility to the overall operation. Make sure your performance standards and code of conduct (your culture) is always top of mind with them.
3. Be clear about who you are and what you offer. Generating a steady stream of quality clients depends on how well you convey the reason you do what you do.
4. Make sure your processes are well defined. Every business has operating procedures that must be repeated continuously. Make sure yours are thoroughly vetted and written down. If you have to make changes in personnel, your operating processes should not suffer during the transition.
5. Be an expert on your competition. Competitors only seem hostile when you don't understand how they operate and how you are different. Knowing what they offer and how they communicate their uniqueness in the market will allow you to establish yourself apart from them.
A successful business is like a well designed machine that produces the same quality output over and over again. It's this level of consistency that drives employee loyalty, keeps customers coming back and delivers the greatest profitability to the bottom line.
It also helps to have a high level of vision, commitment and determination.
My view is to keep your cost variable, keep it simple, focus on customers and employees not on procedures. I would copy and improve operating procedures of successful companies.
In my opinion successful business operations start with awareness born from knowledge. Over my years of serving as outside general counsel to hundreds of businesses, I have witnessed the good, the bad, and the ugly. All the good came from founders who spent upfront time learning all they could about the legal, commercial, and financial constructs in which their businesses needed to function. This knowledge came from first hand investigation and a willingness to lean on trusted advisers. Armed with the essential knowledge of their chosen industry and markets, they started and remained alert to their business environment from as many angles as possible. Of course, no one person can consistently do everything all at once and, therefore, building a core team of valued business advisers forms the base of the pyramid upon which all future growth can solidly rest.
All the Best for your Success!
1.Establishing yourself as an expert in your field. 2. Building your referral network by attending networking group meetings & following up with one-to-one's. 3. Follow up your networking with a solid, regular online presence (which you can use to help with step 1.)