Business systems are meant to help, but for many businesses they are not a high priority. This is mostly because people either feel overwhelmed or cannot see the benefits of having procedures in place. But good processes will lead to a more sustainable business. First of all you need to identify what you would like the system to do for you. It’s important to remember that the systems you implement are meant to help you, not create more work. If a system is overly complicated to set up and implement the chances are it will also add an extra layer of work. Business Systems or as they are sometimes known, business procedures or processes, when used correctly actually end up saving you time and money and can even generate more business for you. When you develop the right system you will find your business actually improves, there is less scope for error, and there is consistent quality control. There are four main areas of daily business life that a good system will help in.
One key area that a business system is invaluable in is the documenting of procedures and forms. When a business expands it is important to have manuals and procedures in place. Documents such as Human Resources Policies, how you do certain things related to your particular services offering or even having a standard leave forms can all be centralised, making it easy to amend as needed. If you have a system in place which looks after forms, policies, procedures and documents you will never find yourself looking through the bottom of the filing cabinet for that elusive holiday leave form again. Having your manuals written and up-to-date is a very important component of a successful business. It guarantees that you will have a consistent service and message, it will assist business continuity and is essential when you bring on new staff. Writing manuals can be tiresome, but once completed they will give you more time to focus on other tasks. It is important to remember that these documents are a constant work in progress and need to remain relevant and be sustainable. They should be revised and updated as the business changes and grows.
Another area of your business that good systems are essential in is human resources and taking on staff. This does not only refer to health and safety but also an induction process. You want your staff to understand the organisational structure, the history of the business, and what the key goals of the business are. This should all be discussed and outlined as part of the induction process. It’s very important with new staff to go through your business practices, your motivation and the culture of your organisation, and having documented procedures around this is very important.
The third important business system to set in place is training. Because you already have your documents and manuals organised it should be easy to determine who needs training for what and which area you would like yourself and your staff to further develop their skills. It may be as simple as sending someone on a first aid course or the accounts section needs training in new software or maybe the executive team needs media training. It doesn’t matter how small or big your business is, everyone will benefit from training.
The final system which should be in place for your business is the setting of goals and targets and you need to be able to monitor your performance against the goals set. This is not only a great tool when you reach your set targets but is also helpful to identify problems or issues if goals are not reached. Modules, training, induction and goal setting all sound as though they will take up time – time that you feel as though you should be spending on your business. But if you introduce and implement these processes you will have more time to concentrate on the business. It doesn’t matter if you are a team of one or a team of 100, good practices and processes will make your business more sustainable and efficient.