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If You're Not Going To Measure It, Don't Bother Making Changes

Written by: Corey Harris & Julie Traxler, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

The most common problem that we witness with our clients and other small business owners in our network is a lack of business processes. Entrepreneurs are so busy running their business, they rarely have time to do anything to improve how it operates. When you’re involved in every decision or a part of all of the daily operations, you can’t step away for any significant amount of time because your business will literally stop running. It’s nice to be involved in what you do, and there’s a level of control and importance that entrepreneurs enjoy being the main player in their business, but we should all strive to step away from the day-to-day tasks and focus on strategy. This is why you should focus on becoming process driven.

Find the Time


There’s a reason why you’re in the position you’re in. You’ve let things compound in your business, and now you’re having to do everything just to stay afloat. We get it. We’ve been there, and it’s common for small business owners to work 60-80 hours/week. While there is a badge of pride that comes from putting in those hours, and oftentimes you don’t have a choice, it’s not good for you or your business. Cognitive performance, critical thinking, and overall performance decline at a certain point. That point isn’t the same for everyone, but when we’re working “just to work” we likely aren’t being productive.


If you truly can’t afford the help or to put off work, try prioritizing tasks so that the more mundane, mindless, and less important tasks are saved for the end of the day. That way you are fresh for the tougher tasks and can do data entry or some other mindless task when you’re on the couch relaxing. The additional bonus here is you’ll likely figure out a way to outsource, delegate, or eliminate these tasks once you’ve ruined enough movie nights with the family.


Repetition


Documenting processes makes it easy to repeat processes throughout your business. You can easily measure them, and it helps you identify something when it breaks because there is consistency. You know who else likes consistency? Your customers. And they’re likely to pay more for a better, consistent experience. There’s the ROI argument for spending the time and money to standardize what it is that you do. It’s significantly cheaper to keep an existing customer than to find a new one, regardless of your industry, so retaining customers and keeping them satisfied is critical to being more profitable.


It takes time to document, review, update, and implement processes, so start by having your team document what it is that they do. Dedicate some hours every month to sit down with the end users in the processes and walk through everything step by step. This may come across as a complaint session, but every complaint your team has is a potential opportunity for improvement. Start small and work from there.


Identify Problems


Despite the fact that over 90% of businesses claim that they have processes documented, only 4% of those processes are measured and managed. And this is where we get the most push back from clients and their employees. It seems like busy work, and if you aren’t measuring or managing those processes, it is. There’s no sense in doing all of this work if you aren’t going to do something with the output. That’s where metrics come into play when talking processes. You can’t know how effective a change is in your business unless you can measure it. And if you don’t have the baseline benchmark of where you started, it’s fairly meaningless.


Time is always an issue, so start by creating some automated ways to track some important metrics in your business. Sales and Costs are easy and the top of everyone’s head when we say metrics, but what about customer engagement or employee morale? Those are harder to measure, but you can get an idea through other metrics like online customer engagement or employee sick days. You may have to interpret some data, but find some easy ways to track numbers, and start doing that now. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can make process improvements once you get an unbiased, metrics view of your business.


As much as some people may hate the process of documenting processes, it’s a growing industry. Fourteen billion dollars can’t be wrong. And while small business owners may not be able to afford a big consultant to help them improve, they can make small, incremental changes every day. Like any improvement effort, it takes time and commitment.


Connect with Julie Traxler and Corey Harris on their LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter or visit their website.


 

Julie Traxler and Corey Harris, Executive Contributors Brainz Magazine

Julie and Corey started their company, SB PACE, due to the 2020 pandemic to assist small businesses. Since then, they have expanded into helping start-ups, companies looking to improve, and small business mergers and acquisitions. They wrote the book on small business disaster preparedness and continued to help small businesses by leveraging their knowledge and experience working for Fortune 500 companies and Big Four consulting firms. Julie and Corey are the experts small business owners turn to when looking for sustainable, long-term success.


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