Four HUGE benefits of doing so
There’s a reason large corporations invest heavily in procedures, and it’s not to make life hell for staff. In fact, it’s the opposite. When everyone knows what is expected of them and where to go for answers, things run smoothly. When the business runs smoothly less money is lost, and as a result more money is made! Logical, really.
Over the years I’ve systemised multiple companies by implementing policies and procedures (P&Ps) into the workplace. Every time there has been resistance, followed by acceptance, followed by an increase in profits and staff retention. Implementing P&Ps throughout the entire company is initially time consuming and a huge commitment, but I promise you the rewards are worth the effort.
Benefits Of A Systemised Business:
- Growth – The knowledge that every aspect of the sales/construction/staffing process is systemised is a great relief to most business owners. They find themselves able to delegate more and more tasks, confident the work will be completed as intended, freeing up the boss to finally focus on growing their business
- Happy Staff – Staff who have confidence in how the business is run tend to be more content and sure of the future. Policies and procedures give staff a system to follow and change. They’re able to objectively look at the procedure and speak out with suggestions for change (P&Ps are ever-evolving, they are not something you ‘set-and-forget’)
- Increased Profit – Think of P&Ps as waterproofing to that leaky bucket holding your profits. Most businesses lose money through inefficiencies, streamlining processes so that staff have information when they need it immediately reduces inefficiencies and downtime, which increases profit
- Happy Clients – Clients don’t know when you’ve systemised your business, however they do know when they have confidence in it! The confidence comes from them feeling that you are running a professional operation. Good P&Ps are structured so that the client is well serviced, especially when you make a mistake, giving them trust in you and your business. And a trusting client is much, much easier to deal with!
How To Systemise Your Business
Start big and work your way down.
Every task in the business should have a policy and procedure, which is a daunting idea at first, so you need to start with the big fish and work your way to the smaller ones. The larger tasks will have the biggest impact on your business; however, they all work together to create the well-oiled machine you’re aiming for.
First, create a map of how your business operates. This plan, which I call a cradle- to-grave, maps out all the steps from when a client first makes contact, to the moment they pay their final bill. This exercise is an enlightening process, often exposing holes in the current system. Use the cradle-to-grave to create P&Ps for each step in the process.
It is best if the person/people who do the task create the P&P for that task, ensuring ownership and buy-in by them.
The P&Ps won’t have an impact on your business unless you get your staff on board. Expect resistance initially, especially from those who don’t like change, but don’t let it deter you. Encourage these people to look at the process and reward them when they come up with inventive solutions. A P&P written by a member of staff may not suit you, but encourage them to test it and prove to you that it’s a good solution. You’ll either be pleasantly surprised, or they’ll see it’s not working and want to change it themselves.
Policies And Procedures Are Not Written In Stone!
They won’t be perfect the first time you write them, and circumstances change, meaning they need to be reviewed and adjusted on a regular basis. Every 3-12 months is good, depending on the importance of the process.
There Is A Process To Writing A Process!
Create a P&P template (I’ll happily send you mine, email me at [email protected] gaugepm.com) so that they are easy to write, read and update. Here are a few must-haves in your template:
- Dates – Created on. Last updated
- Owner – Created by, owned by. The owner is the person responsible for ensuring the P&P is followed. It is ideal if the owner is also the creator. You can also add a ‘checked by’ if needed
- Version – Every time the P&P is updated you create a new version
- Title – The title of each P&P should be a brief and clear description of what the P&P covers
- Policy Outcomes – A description of what the policy outcome is, what it is trying to achieve
- Procedure Description – A step-by-step guide (I prefer to use a flowchart) about how to do the task in a way that will achieve the policy outcomes
- Links to other P&Ps that relate to this one
- Standards – These are rules on how to follow the procedure, for example ‘Project paperwork must be generated within 1 business day of acceptance of quote’
- Linking files and documents – Any files or documents that must be read/ filled out/edited/etc. while following the procedure, should be listed in the P&P for ease of use and to avoid confusion
I’m not going to lie, formally systemising your business is a HUGE task, but the benefits are immense. The initial task of scrutinising every aspect of the business in detail will identify many areas you had no idea were losing you money, and once implemented they will save you more and more over time.
Create your business map, and then slowly chip away at the P&Ps. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll complete them. Your business will be systemised in no time.
Back yourself and your staff and you’ll see your bottom line growing at a rapid rate!