Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The secret to getting there first

This week I offer my thoughts on the importance of a well thought out system for your small business.

No matter what you are doing, from my work with hundreds of business owners I can guarantee that systems beat effort every time. In the competitive world of small business there is no doubt that the well planned, logical business system will out perform the most hard working company every time.

Most entrepreneurs confuse effort or being busy with progress. The key to making money, building a business and satisfying your customers is NOT frantic motion, but a few simple things done well.

Many of us have observed that the key to keeping our promises is to make fewer of them. In business, the same principle applies.

Well-run businesses rarely scramble or improvise. They have systems and plans for creating great products and delivering them at a fair price. Great companies understand their customers, sometimes even better than the customers know themselves! World-class companies do a few things, do them extremely well, and generate profits from their ability to impress (and keep!) their customers.

New or young entrepreneurs get caught by the lure of the "next big thing". They are impressed with innovation and can't wait to expand or grow, and they forget the basics of serving customers and developing life-long partnerships.

Take time to get organized. Set up automatic tracking and record-keeping systems. Stay in touch with your best customers and ask them for feedback about your company. Sam Walton used to say that his best ideas came from talking with stock-boys, check-out clerks and people on the loading docks. In Tom Peter's phrase, he "managed by walking around".

We can learn from that. Slow down and achieve more. Simplify. Focus. Do one thing, do it better than anyone in the world, and your fortune is assured.

I realize that at this time of year, business systems and processes are probably the last thing you want to be thinking about. Remember that a successful 2007 starts today. Get your foot in the door early and make sure that your time, effort and resources are spend wisely right from the start.

If you need support with designing effective systems for your business, there are some great South African software available, especially designed for small businesses. Give us a call on 084 908 9131 and speak to Luther Diedericks.


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