The Small Business Engine: Looking Under the Hood
Is yours a small business engine with smoke billowing from under the hood, due to constant fires of chaos?
What IS under the hood of your business?
With hardly any power, your business sputters and stops, causing frustrations to all onboard. Therefore, errors, miscommunications, and mismanagement happen every single day it’s operating. Has it become the norm more than the exception?
A Typical Small Business Engine
Does your small business run like thousands of other “Mom & Pop” businesses around the country? In other words, operating on an unreliable business engine; whereby, if the owner or management is not constantly hovering over it, it would stop running? If there’s too heavy a business load, your business engine would STALL right in the middle of larger job or project.
At that point, everyone in the company must stop what they’re doing and start pushing and shoving to get things moving. This is “business as usual,” a typical day for a Mom & Pop business engine. Pushing and shoving is what they do, to keep their business functioning and hopefully, “on the road to success.”
According to many business experts, a small business consists of 1 to 500 employees. Surprisingly, there are businesses with over 200 employees with business engines that shouldn’t BE on the road.
Franchisees with Bright Colors, Loud Logos, and Slick Slogans
Many of these type of small businesses look great on the outside; in fact, they’re all shined up with slick corporate logos and slogans, right up front. In like manner, every employee has the same color uniform with the nationally-branded logo plainly visible. Seems impressive!
For this reason, when potential customers see the outside of many franchise-type businesses, they assume that they are RELIABLE, with quality products and fast service. Besides, these franchises pay a bunch to use those bright colors and logos, and a “national brand” is a guarantee of quality! It separates them from the other Mom & Pops around. Right? NO, sad to say!
Many franchise businesses function with the same poorly-running engine as other Mom & Pop outfits. Thus, the corporate identification on the outside, in many cases, means little when it comes to a guarantee of quality service.
Unfortunately, finding these small business engines providing inferior quality and service is not out of the ordinary. Consequently, customers conditioned to TRUST national brands, are often disappointed.
A sad truth is, many Mom & Pop business owners buy a national franchise brand just to get more sales.
Independent Mom & Pop, Handed Down from Mom & Pop
Mom & Pop owners are likely to say, “Our small business engine may be old and quirky, but we know how to keep it running. The outside of the business is a little the worst for wear, unlike branded franchises, but our customers don’t seem to pay it no mind! Besides, none of the family gets along that well, so they can’t agree on an engine overhaul, much less, putting in a new business engine. So, who cares anyhow?”
Consequently, nothing much changes in that type of business. In fact, the owners and employees grow accustomed to the family feuds, miscommunications, mistakes, re-work and a cluttered work environment.
In fact, they proudly proclaim, they are INDEPENDENT; subsequently, they don’t pay a franchise fee every month, so they plan to stay that way.
Meanwhile, their faithful employees, customers suffer; not to mention, some family members in the business.
Well-oiled Business Engines Running Smoothly with Spare Power
These businesses have customers who come away smiling and sharing their experience with their friends! Some are independent and some are franchises, but they all have one thing in common...
They’ve learned how to systematize their business by going UNDER the hood, fixing every leak, replacing all worn parts and fine-tuning every facet of the engine until it operates smoothly and efficiently.
They KNOW that Business Process Management via written systems is THE ANSWER. The ones that continue to improve and grow will, at some point, replace the old engine with a brand-new efficient engine that makes driving the business fun; not to mention, more profitable.
A Business Process management system should never cost money; as with other investments, software solutions should make money for a business!
Old or new, a small business engine can run like a super-clean, well-oiled machine without management’s constant on-site attention.
Did I mention? Great Systems Work!
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.