Wednesday, February 4, 2009

You've Got Some Moss Growin' on You?

You have a business and things are kind of okay but employees are nervous and so are you. You wonder how you can streamline and get your "back burner" marketing plan back up to the front.
  1. You're not sure if your systems are working anymore.
I can guarantee there's at least ONE system that you have running that's not working for you:
Are sending your office manager out to the post office?

With that example, some of you will shudder, some of you will say "what office manager?" and some of you will say, "please, that's stupid." I have a feeling that most of you are going to be relating to the first two comments. There's always something. Some weird little process that only one person knows how to do, doesn't want to teach to someone else and it's inefficient and costing you time and money.

You quite possibly may not know what "systems" you have. Let me give you an example of what you can do to identify and update what you have going on. I'll use an example of a recent client:

Small office (5) but used to just be the owner and perhaps an assistant. As soon as two more people where brought on to help with the revenue stream and create more space for the owner to work on other things, it became clear there were issues.

What we did:
1.5 days together in an on-site retreat. We turned on the voicemail, notified the clients and every 2 hours took 15 minute call-back breaks so that things didn't crumble on the front side. We went through everything that happens for each person from the minute they walk in the door. What is their process?What is the process for dealing with a new client? What is the existing paper-trail?, etc.

In that amount of time we:
  • Realized that new and better way of doing things were going to make money and save time.
  • We needed to move to a different space to grow the business properly.
  • The business owner needed a schedule too.
  • There needed to be a "hub" person for all client information until there is a database created.
  • There needed to be a "lunch break" for the entire staff with the phones off.
  • A hundred more things, but most importantly, the world will not fall apart if we take some time to figure things out!
So, on that Friday everyone quit that 'old' business and on Monday when they came to work, it was for the 'new' business (not my idea but a great one).

This is such a great topic and my favorite one that I think I'll go into another case study tomorrow. Till then...

1 comment:

  1. interesting. I wrote a little bit about systems myself this morning.

    Programmers (and other folks) talk about how programs have "cruft," signs of age where the code has been patched in haste to fix a bug in an inelegant way, or extended at the last minute because the original design didn't have the right kind of feature. Multiplied by time and number of contributors, sometimes code just needs a hard or soft reboot.

    Our systems (in my case how we organize our information for effective processing; or in your case our business plans) develop cruft too. A hard or soft reboot sometimes is just what the doctor ordered.


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