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For how long could you leave your business?

Jennifer Palmer - Nov 2019

With some quiet time coming up over the Xmas holiday season we thought it would be a good opportunity for you to reflect on your business.

So how long could you leave your business? Simple question you might say…but is the answer that simple?

Let’s define what a business is …”it is something that works when you are not there.” Easy, go away for a week & it still works. Now consider, go away for a month, 3 months, 6 months…how do you think the business will cope? You might just have a job, especially if you don’t want to go away for very long because you’re scared about what may happen when you’re gone. Lose customers, lose team, lose profit, lose cash flow etc.

The real definition of a business is - go away for a year and if you still have something when you come back, you have a business.

It is acknowledged that business owners who had a business partner should feel that they could go away for a longer period than sole proprietors.

So what do you have to do to create a business...that continues to work when you are not there.

Let’s start with having the right team and the right systems in place. There is no doubt that a business with great systems works better than one with no systems - just look at any McDonalds Store.

Improve Your Systems & Processes (and Your Bottom Line!)

Having an effective system to guide the processes in your business can save you and your team both time and money, as things are done consistently, regardless of the team member doing it. Whatever the size or type of business you have, there are probably processes that you have looked at, and thought that they could probably be dealt with better than they currently are. It may seem like a daunting task to start the process of analysing and reengineering them to be more efficient; but remember, poor processes hit straight at the bottom line of your profitability.

The basic rule for systemising is to:

‘Systemise the routine, humanise the exception’. And in fact, if you look at it, you’ll find that much of what you do is routine and maybe provides little value add for the business – so why are you doing it?

Take the time to analyse what you do

That way, you can systemise your job and pass on the routine tasks to someone else. To do this, spend some time observing your job as owner and document what you do day by day.

The diary you end up with will be useful for 2 things – it will show you just how much time you are spending working IN rather than ON your business; and it will suggest which jobs could be handled by someone else once they’re systemised. Then, you can go to work systemising those jobs you want to shift to someone else.

Which process do you start with?

There are hundreds of processes in any business. Your first decision is to consider which ones to give priority to, since you can’t go changing them all at once. Consider starting by identifying the systems where changes will make the biggest difference; generally these will be the really key processes.

Make a list of your processes and what you currently know about them and from that, decide which would be best to address short term and which longer term.

Once you’ve identified a process you want to assess, the first step is to map how it currently operates. Whilst you’re doing this, it’s worthwhile to keep in mind:

  • Does the process need to be done at all?
  • Is it being done in the most effective way?
  • Is it being done in a systemised manner?
  • Can the process be improved?

Great systems lead to a better business with greater profit and increased wealth.

If you would like to find out more about improving your systems and processes, please give one of the Sullivan Dewing team a call on 9526 1211 or email Terry Dewing.

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