Editor’s note: This is the fourth post of the Fast Forward Your Business series by guest blogger Phil Badura from ActionCOACH.
In this series of Fast Forward Your Business blogs, I’m addressing the six levels of business that are required to have a successful business – the Business Ladder of Success. We define a successful business as a:
‘Commercial, profitable enterprise, that works, without YOU’ …
In the last post we looked at Level 2 – Niche, which focused on marketing and its importance for consistent cash flow. This post moves onto Level 3 – Leverage.
The Business Ladder of Success
Level 3 – Leverage
Leverage is all about systematising your business.
In business, the definition of Leverage is: ‘The ability to influence a system, or an environment, in a way that multiplies the outcome of one’s efforts without a corresponding increase in the consumption of resources’. In other words, leverage is the advantageous condition of having a relatively small amount of cost in terms of Time, Energy or Money, yield a relatively high level of return.
There are 4 ways to leverage in business
1. People and education
This approach involves building a much better, more educated and stronger team. The key here is to identify the skills and strengths of your staff and document this into a skills matrix, which will enable to you establish a training plan for the needs of the business.
2. Systems and technology
Develop a stronger, more efficient company through documented systems and better technology.
Identify the types of systems and technology that will best suit your business. Key things to look for here is how the technology can save your Time, Energy and Money. Consider not only the benefits of a particular offering, but its various integrations and add-ons which form a package to cover your business’s entire workflow e.g. ServiceM8 integrates with leading accounting packages and has numerous add-ons which save time and further improve productivity, communication, cash flow and professionalism.
3. Delivery and distribution
Increase margins, throughput and delivery times with better distribution and delivery processes.
Ask yourself how easy you’re making it for your customers to buy from you — what is your customer service commitment? Are you easy to find? Can they order an item, arrange a quote or book a job online?
4. Test and measure
Constantly test and measure on your Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) around finance, cash flow, team productivity and marketing strategies.
9 Steps to Business Systematisation
Steps 1, 2 & 3
Having clarity around your ‘Business Why’ (covered earlier in Mastery – Part 1) and then articulating this into documented Vision, Mission and Culture statements is the best way to gain leverage with staff and customers. This becomes very evident when you walk into a business and you immediately get the ‘feel’ of how the business operates and their commitment to provide the very best in their products and services.
Applying the principles of SMART goals and writing them down is one of the keys to achieving business success:
It is also important to document your Organisational Structure as this articulates the key positions in the organisation. When considering an organisational structure, develop this with a view to what the business will look like in 5 years’ time, particularly in terms of the positions that will be required for sustainable growth.
Combine the Organisational Structure with Employment Contracts and Position Descriptions that clearly identify whom is responsible for what tasks within the organisation. This must also include the Business Owner.
Clearly identify the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) in your own business that will enable you to gain a quick picture of how your business is operating at a glance. Develop a KPI Dashboard with this information and break it down into the Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly and Annual buckets that best fit each KPI category.
Developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) for your business will enable routine tasks to be conducted with clarity and consistency, not only saving time but improving productivity. SOP’s will aid in the training of new staff and ensure that tasks are being consistently completed the same way ALL of the time.
Be constantly on the lookout for Management Systems that you could introduce into the business that will enable you to ‘do more with less’ and free up business resources, especially in Saving Your Self Time Energy and Money.
‘Systematise the Routine, Humanise the Exception’
In the next instalment of Fast Forward Your Business we will look at Level 4 – Team.
In business, it is always the little things that get big results. Take the Business Health Check Here to receive a complimentary report on the ‘health status’ of your Business.
Phil Badura – Business Coach
Phil is a certified Business Coach at ActionCOACH. Specialising in business advice, planning, coaching and mentoring, Phil’s passion is for helping small and medium-sized businesses grow and become more profitable.