Building a business is exhilarating and exhausting – I know I’ve been there on more than one occasion. But the joy of creating something is the motivation you need to keep going, right?
As your business grows so do your operational needs. When you’re starting out, being ‘scrappy’ works just fine, but when you realize you have 5 staff without an Employee Handbook, or your finances are still on the back of an envelope, you are really impeding your ability to scale.
Once you start to grow, the race against the clock begins to design internal SOP’s to keep you operating smoothly. You will quickly run out of time to effectively implement any kind of structure. Are you constantly putting out small fires that could be avoidable with better operations? This is a key sign that your business could be built on sand.
Of course having a solid foundation for your business is optimal, particularly if you are heading into a growth phase, looking for funding or need to report to your current investors or Advisory Board. Organized internal operations translate into increased efficiency, which in turn translates into more rapid growth and confidence in a company.
Reviewing all internal aspects of your business, and identifying where improvements can be made, is a great place to start. We use our Five Core Pillars – Administration, Human Resources, Technology, Finance and Sales & Marketing – as a launch pad for any business we work with. You may just find these a useful place to start, too.
To start creating a solid foundation for your business you could ask yourself questions like these:
Administration – do you have?
- Automated email responses to commonly asked questions
- A structured Document Management system that should mirror the folder structure in your Inbox
- Procedure documents to assist with future training/growth
Human Resources – do you have?
- Detail Job Descriptions or Outcome profiles for your staff
A structured onboarding or welcome process for new starters
- A checklist of the documents required for each staff member
- Your staff birthdays and anniversaries in your calendars?
Finance – do you have?
- Your finances on an excel spreadsheet, is it time to migrate to a bookkeeping system?
- A checklist of what documents you need for tax preparation
- A process for managing your Payroll/AR and AP
Technology – do you have?
- Robust technology to support your business? Is it time to upgrade to a paid plan?
- Connectivity technology to save on data entry, for example can your CRM automatically send new contacts to Mailchimp, can you online web enquiry form feed directly into your CRM?
- Maximum usage out of your paid platforms, often we get amazing pieces of software and then run out of time to fully utilize their capabilities.
Sales & Marketing – do you have?
- A clear workflow of your customer’s journey?
- A marketing strategy and execution plan?
- A budget or program for client gifting/thank yous?