We have all heard it said that the most important assets to a business are its staff, and whilst this is true in many cases, there are other considerations to be taken when trying to ensure your business is ahead of the competition. Having good products, a clear direction and vision are obviously pivotal, but one thing which is so often overlooked is how important it is to have the right systems in place to support the effective functioning and success of your business.
Any business, large or small, needs systems.
The complexity of these systems will, to a large extent, depend on the individual organisation. A small business does not need to spend huge amounts of money on complicated software when often you can create what you need using the standard suite of software packages which most of us already have. The key is identifying what systems you need to put in place, and then addressing how to achieve this.
So how do you go about starting the process?
Systemising your business does not have to be overly complicated – indeed, most will already have some systems in place, you just don’t realise it.
Start by documenting how things are done, which involves participation from everyone in the business. It will usually become apparent where there are gaps or holes in a process which need to be resolved. It forces everyone to think about how things are done and how they can be improved. This is not only important for established businesses – in a newer business it will create the foundation blocks on which to build future success.
What sort of systems might you be looking to implement?
This is really down to the type of business you operate, but if you ensure that the documentation process covers all aspects of your business, such as sales and marketing, customer service, production, accounting, recruitment and induction, and administration you can then be sure that nothing is missed out, and identify where formal systems need to be implemented.
Outline the basic procedures for each area of the business, and then expand on each of the steps with the critical elements involved. Identify any additional documentation needed, such as ‘How To’ manuals, as things which may seem obvious to some may not be quite so for others. Ensure that everyone knows where to find information on the systems relevant to their roles. Business systems are not only there to help with the smooth functioning of your business, but also to minimise the amount of time spent explaining things, both of which work towards ensuring business continuity across the whole organisation.
The benefits to a systemised business are many, including:
- Effective and timely communication to potential or existing clients, and so better customer satisfaction
- Discovering what works and what needs improving
- Completing services with efficiency
- Less reliance on key individuals, especially the business owner, freeing them up to concentrate on developing the business.
And all of the above should, in time, help to create a more profitable, future-proof business, which allows you to outlast and outperform your competition.
Rebecca Hall – Production Manager
Westbury Accountants and Business Advisors is an accountancy practice based in London. Westbury have been providing Accounting and Tax solutions to small and medium sized businesses since 1936. Talk to the team at Westbury on 0207 253 7272 or visit http://www.westbury.co.uk.