Businesses don’t do business with other businesses. People do business with other people. Your people need processes and information so they can perform at their best, provide proactive value to your customers, and generate positive results in your business. Your resources include your people, processes, and information.
When someone gives me their accountant prepared financial statements for the first time, I learn important things about them from the accountant’s report on page two. That’s before I’ve even looked at any numbers. I look at the date their financial statements were issued by the accountant. If the company has a December 31st year-end and their financials were completed in February, then I know that management is on top of things with good people and good processes.
If the December 31st financial statements are issued the following June, almost six months later, then I know the company has problems. Slow financial statements indicate that a company’s resources are inadequate. This is often the tip of the iceberg.
Fortunately, strengthening resources can be done quickly and without major capital expenditures. That’s because you’ve already got everything you need.
Figure 5.1 The Resource Framework
To strengthen the performance of your people:
- Educate employees on the strategic value that you create for your customers so the employees understand the true purpose of your business.
- Ask your employees what tools (processes) or information they need to provide more value to your customers. Value isn’t price; it includes convenience, timing, service, proactive help, and caring.
- Ask your employees what irritants, distractions, or time wasters impact their work day. Then eliminate them. You’ll create happy employees quickly and usually without cost.
- Monitor and strengthen relationships between your key people and their supervisors. Most good people leave companies because of poor relationships with supervisors. You want to prevent this.
The purpose of a process is to enhance your value to your customers (so that you can increase your revenues, profits, and valuation.) A process is simply how something gets done. It may be formalized in a Standard Operating Procedure or in a flow chart on the wall. It doesn’t matter where it exists. It only matters that it exists.
To enhance your processes, try these steps:
- List the major steps or processes that occur in your business, by department.
- Identify your best performers for these steps and then work with them to codify how they do things. This will help you to create your own (previously undiscovered) internal best practices. You don’t need someone else’s best practices. You do need to discover your own and codify them.
- Keep it simple. Make sure the process provides value for your customers. Some quality designations ensure that all process are documented, even if the process is useless. Good processes need common sense.
- Have the employees who use the process codify it and teach others. Teaching increases learning for both student and teacher.
- Documenting processes will reduce your realistic fear where a key employee possesses critical information about your business that no one else knows about.
Information is the most under-valued and under-utilized resource in many businesses. Ironically, it’s abundantly available. Information includes:
- Plans for the future. The executive or senior management may know where the company is heading. But if all of the employees don’t know where its heading…and why…then it’s more difficult for them to get engaged. Since people do business with people, getting your people excited about your (and their) future has lots of upside.
- Today’s performance. When we were kids playing street hockey, we always kept score. People need to know the score. Performance improves when you measure what’s important and share results in real time.
- Historical context and where you’ve come from. In these days of email and lack of direct human contact, your employees need to understand your company’s history. This means telling stories about why and how the business got started, great successes, hardships endured, and your core values and principles. Principles don’t change. Principles guide the business every day.
The resources of People, Process, and Information provide a simple and powerful framework for you to dramatically grow your business.
Next week, we’ll explore the Information section and talk about my most powerful management weapon: the SME Business Wealth Builder Daily Flash Report.
Tip: Improving one thing each month in People, Process, and Information will create 36 powerful improvements in your business in the next year. Where could your business be next year?
Contact me if you’d like to discuss how I can help your management team to strengthen your resources and help your company to increase revenues, profits, and valuation.
Thanks for reading!