How to Build Trust - 9 Steps to Simple Business Systems
Most business owners dream about creating a self-sustaining, high-growth enterprise supported by a group of loyal customers, partners and employees. Unfortunately, these dreams too often founder, with roughly 30-percent of new businesses failing within a year.
Meanwhile, an even larger number of small enterprises manage to keep the lights on, but only at great personal cost to the owner, who remains mired in the "trading time for money" trap -- a phenomenon we detailed in an earlier blog post.
There is, however, a common denominator shared between unsuccessful enterprises: Failure to create and implement effective and repeatable business processes. These systems are a critical aspect of any professionalised business, as they greatly enhance efficiency and productivity while also radically improving the client, partner and employee experience. They deliver consistency, and consistency builds trust.
To help businesses successfully implement these systems, we suggest using the following simple nine step framework.
Name your process. This is as basic as it sounds; define the new business system or process you'd like to implement.
Identify who benefits from this process. Is it your customers? Partners? Employees? Remember, you're not limited to one group, and you should be as specific as possible when identifying who benefits.
Establish your start line. When will this new process begin? Along with when, it's also important to examine why. Explore the necessity of these new tasks and define why they are important. Doing this provides some much-needed context to your new process.
Visualize the end result. After defining your start line, the next step is identifying what the process will look like after completion. To help with this, put yourself in the position of your customers, partner and employees and consider the following four key questions:
How will the customer, partner or employee feel after interacting with the process?
What will the customer, partner or employee have as the result of the process?
How will the process affect the status of the customer, partner or employee?
How will the process improve the day to day experience of the customer, partner or employee?
Set the Trigger. Every process begins with an action, a designation or a decision. Define which actions, designations or decisions will trigger the new task. This can be broken down into a simple formula: If this occurs, then that happens. These triggers can be anything from a designated date on a calendar to a customer request or compliant.
Establish Accountability. Who is ultimately responsible for the design, implementation and maintenance of the new process? Are there other people who share responsibility? If so, define the parameters of this responsibility.
Identify the Deadline. What's the timeframe for the new process? Once triggered, does it require a response within an hour? By the close of business? Be as specific as possible when identifying dates and times.
Document the Process. In order to be truly effective, a business process needs to be repeatable. While you can choose to train each employee, partner or customer personally, this is a time-consuming and inefficient approach. By documenting the process in an easy to understand, step-by-step manner -- and sharing it with your stakeholders -- you can save time and ensure consistency. Remember, documenting a process has never been easier, thanks to technological tools such as computer screen recording programs and smartphones.
Communicate the Process. Even the most cleverly designed and documented business process is of limited use if its not accessible. A cloud computing tool such as Google Docs/Sheets is a smart way to distribute your documents. Create a new sheet that contains an index of operating processes, with each one hyperlinked to the master document or video stored in Google Drive. Alternatively, online training platforms such as Teachable offer a more advanced suite of tools for more comprehensive training.
The ability to create and implement effective and repeatable business processes is what distinguishes high-performance companies from those that remain stuck in neutral.
By following this simple, nine step framework you can stop trading time for money -- and take your business to the next level. Need some help? Contact us