Why? I say Why Not!
Why should I have good systems and business processes in place in my business…especially when there is only me? I hear you…there is only me in my business as well, but right from the start, I knew that having good systems and processes set up in place will help me, not only with the day to day running but also when there is a crisis (think PR scandal!) or if I get to the stage where I have a need or want to expand; outsource and/or take on employees. By having great systems and processes in place will make handing over tasks much simpler.
It is also just good business sense to have a set of standards in place to showcase your professionalism and that of your clients. These should align with the values you have and want for your business.
So what processes should you have in place? To commence, identify:
- Essential processes – these are the most frequently used core processes that your business needs to perform in order to successfully run;
- Support processes – these are used to help execute operational processes; and
- Management processes – use to manage your business, the way you grow and develop it.
An example of management processes would be the financial side of your business. Let’s face it; most small businesses want to know how much they are spending vs how much they are earning! If you are a product based business, do you know what your most popular product is…or your least popular product? This sort of financial information can assist you in improving your bottom line. Furthermore, having good clear financials can help at tax time, applying for grants or loans or if you ever wanted to sell your business.
Business Processes – aka policies, procedures, checklists, manuals
No matter what they are called – policies, procedures, checklists, manuals, documents, code of conduct, guides, handbooks or plans, there are many that you need to think about when either starting a business or whether you are already in business. Business processes all perform different functions within your business and therefore they are all important. I’ll be honest, since writing many of mine, I often don’t even look at them…because…well I just do it each and every day!
The documents that you may need to include in your business (and are definitely NOT limited to!):
- Business Plan
- Marketing Plan (including social media)
- Product development processes
- Customer service and handling (eg: refunds, complaints, warranties)
- Service agreements
- Confidentiality agreements
- Payment terms (including debt collection)
- Terms and Conditions for website (can often include some of the payment information as well)
- Code of Conduct for employees
- Workplace or Occupational Health and Safety – eg: safe lifting practices / setting up work stations correctly
- Questionnaires – help with gathering client information before commencing tasks
- Internet Policy
- Intellectual Property and Security
- IT, Internet, Social Media
Sometimes just starting with the basics and improving on these as you grow in your business is better than having nothing at all. Therefore, always take the time to review what systems and processes you have in place and update accordingly, and when needed add the new ones. As your business grows, the above can and most likely will change!
Another reason for having these processes in place is that it takes the ‘personal’ aspect out of it and makes it more about business. You may feel less guilty when you can refer someone back to these in the future instead of agonising over what to say or do in response. The last thing to be aware of is that interpretation of a verbal agreement may be different to yours hence having documentation like many or all of the above is VERY IMPORTANT!
I was fortunate enough to work with Business Kitz to get my service agreement set up for my business and knowing that this will protect not only my business but also my clients is a weight off my shoulders! Business Kitz identified a need in the market for small businesses to be able to access a range of affordable easy to use templates for business including: business policy template; employee templates and forms; quote, proposal and invoices templates and more and they also have free templates that you can download!
AFFILIATE ALERT – I like to be upfront and honest with you, therefore if you purchase from Business Kitz and mention Call on Jo, I will receive a referral fee.
Until next time!