Take Advantage of the COVID Slowdown
What’s the best time to implement business process management in order to systematize a business? The answer is simple. Any slowdown is a great time to improve business organization. Therefore, take advantage of the COVID slowdown!
More importantly, don’t let fear of slowdowns be an excuse for doing nothing. Be assured, when this COVID-19 slowdown is over, business will quickly return. Sadly, those small businesses lacking good standard operating procedures (SOP's) will also return to “business as usual.” In other words, CHAOS!
Truth is, most small businesses stay small for the simple reason, they lack the right systems to handle the complexity of their normal business, especially added growth. In fact, a business will only grow to a certain level without proper systems. Normally, that level of growth is around five to ten employees. At that point, the owner is on a fast track to burnout, due to the chaos.
Therefore, most business consultants recommend systematizing a business from the startup. Best to systematize it before sales grow to levels that cause unmanageable disorder.
That’s why we began systematizing our business front-to-back, while having only five employees, including yours truly. Truth is, we were tired of working long hours, because our sales had reached uncontrollable levels. At that time, errors and late delivery of products and services was normal for us.
Simply put, we couldn’t handle that kind of sales prosperity. Therefore, we had to make the decision to systematize our business to obtain a peaceful prosperity.
How to Take Full Advantage of Slowdowns
Take advantage of the COVID slowdown by listing the biggest business frustrations that cause a business owner those sleepless nights. In other words, identify the biggest holes in your business that cause errors and miscommunications. Begin by working on your top three business frustrations.
From our experience, the number one frustration is usually employee errors when performing job or service processes. If that’s the case, find the root cause of each error. The FIX for any error or miscommunication is implementing a SYSTEM for prevention.
For example, implement a Quality Assurance Checklist, utilizing step-by-step prompts, for performing EVERY key process in a business.
Slowdowns are Investment Opportunities
Having TIME to bring order to a business is an opportunity for investment. More importantly, a return on investment (ROI) that is not only visible; but can be measured in dollars.
How do I know?
We took advantage of every slowdown in our business by using that precious time for the continual improvement of every phase of our business. Consequently, when sales picked up, we were ready. More importantly, those investments in continual improvement paid high dividends by ushering in new business. In fact, a new life!
Some politicians say, “Don’t let a crisis go to waste!” Unfortunately, they use any crisis as an excuse to grow government bigger, which can work against small business, due to more and more regulations and higher taxes.
On the positive side, private businesses are wise to take advantage of EVERY slowdown, in order to see real growth and more productivity.
Did I mention, great systems work, especially in times of crisis!
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.