Daniel Bugeja

Business Doctor

Excelling At The Foundations Of Your Business

Monday 11th December 2017

As Business Doctors, a common question we are asked by business owners and directors who are looking to grow and improve their company is “what’s the one thing that would make the main difference?” However, there is no such thing as ‘that one thing!’

For a business to be successful, it is crucial for there to be continued incremental improvements in all areas of the business throughout. When this is applied, one will notice that the business outputs and results increase dramatically over time. Therefore, it is important to keep the momentum going by constantly looking for new ways of improvement, regardless of how small these changes might be.

The three key areas for delivering a successful business growth plan

1.   Structure

Look at your current hierarchal structure within your business. Who reports to whom? Is it the appropriate way to implement any of your business requirements and needs? Step back and start from scratch. Establish clearly-defined job roles and responsibilities and what key competencies are required for these roles. As you move forward, decide who can fill these roles based on the employee’s skills, knowledge and how they will fit in your envisioned future company. Select who you would retain, re-train and re-accolade, then release and recruit based on the gaps within your company. Having improved clear lines of communication and passing down responsibility internally ultimately means you will be more effective when it comes to customer communication.

2.   Processes and Policy

Are there any defined processes for important tasks?

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) need not be highly intricate, however, it is important to understand the key processes and the flows within your business. A good tip is to walk through them and highlight any bottlenecks. Determine if these are due to batch mentality of certain tasks such as work planning, job sheet allocation or invoicing. Then, as a team, find a better way of working. Simply reducing the amount of duplication and people involved, including yourself in each process will make a significant difference. Utilise or bring in IT systems where possible to create consistency. Clarifying policies and procedures, such as handling customer complaints, staff sickness, holiday requests, even use of personal mobile phones and social media within the workplace can make processes more efficient. Then over time employees will become more productive, resulting in a higher level of customer service and efficiency reducing costs such as non-productive time.

3.   People

Ensure you have the right person doing the job in question. Recruit or fill job roles with people who have the necessary competences, or the potential required to establish and fulfil the future roles within the business structure. All employees should have the opportunity to sit down with their line manager for appraisals at least twice per year. As a manager, it can be highly beneficial to hold one-on-one meetings with your employees to address direct reports linked to business objectives. Staff should be supported and motivated to be the best they possibly can be within their roles. This is not just sending them on training courses, but coaching, mentoring, buddying up with others “on the job”, and through following up on one-on-one meetings, giving them the necessary tools to be effective and efficient in their roles.

What if you do nothing? One quote which has always stuck with me is:

"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got." Henry Ford (1863-1947).

Therefore, take stock and start working at developing your skills. Check out some suggested reads for this Christmas season which could help you with your vision:

Dealing with change: Dr Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese, Vermilion

Being more successful yourself: Marshall Goldsmith, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, Profile Books Ltd

Becoming a successful SME: Michael Gerber, The E Myth Revisited, Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work And What To Do About It, Harper Collins

Managing people: Ferdinand F. Fournies, Why Employees Don’t Do What They’re Supposed To Do And What To Do About It, McGraw Hill Books

Time management: Gary Keller, The One Thing, John Murray General Publishing

Understanding and improving your sales: Robert B. Cialdini, Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion, Harper Collins

If you are looking to grow your business, Business Doctors Malta offers a free business health check which could help you get a clearer vision and understand the steps you need to take to fulfil your aspirations. Contact us for more information on 79903685 or email [email protected]

Roberta Lepre

Dr Roberta Lepre is a lawyer and CSR consultant.

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