From Chaos to Process in 7 critical steps

Tom Coffin smartPRENEUR Blog Series

Most small businesses operate in chaos each day!

Why? They lack a way of consistently operating their business in a repeatable way.

   They typically lack Process

SO, how does one change their fortunes? Turn the ship, Invoke manifest destiny?
Preparation and research will assist you greatly in Creating Process in your Company.

Step 1

View your business as “The Product.” Not the projects you do, not the brands you choose to offer, perhaps not even the specific disciplines you are most excited about like home theater or automation. The business itself is your product. How should it be branded? What can you do to differentiate your product? What can you do to improve your product? Now focusing on the product, we can move to step two.

Step 2

Identify your “Ideal Customer.” Who are they? What are they all about? Do they require sales enablers to get them in front of you? Can you reach them directly? 
Most important, it is critical that you understand what they want, how they want to be served, and what they are willing to pay for it. What are their values. Figure that out and it will make it easier to understand the value proposition you need to deliver.

Step 3

Layout the steps necessary to deliver an outstanding experience for your customer. Your “Value Proposition” will help you answer the question, what is it and why do I need it for the customer. Are you saving them money? (BTW: the cheapest guy almost never wins unless they are backed by huge capital and willing to wait out the quality providers). Do you provide them with a sense of security? Maybe they like their toys like us Yuppies from the 80’s did. In ye ole sales speak, what is their motive to buy? Find it, that closes sales.
Now layout a path to define exactly what needs to be done to give your ideal customer an experience that will make them want to do business with you.

Step 4

Define the “Elements” of your business. This includes what disciplines you will support and what brands you will use to deliver your product that will assist you to make a reasonable profit.Train on these products. Understand their benefits and value when combined together with the other disciplines and brands you have assembled. Now, work on telling that story. How Your product AKA “Your Company” brings together knowledge, design expertise, creativity, etc. to deliver a unique value proposition.

Step 5

Hiring “People” is one of the biggest challenges in a small business. If you make a mistake and hire the wrong person and you have to fire them or they leave due to being unhappy. Before you start hiring people, define what roles are necessary and what the people in those roles will be expected to do and how you will define success and failure as well as how you are going to reward them. A flow chart of your processes from the time one decides to start prospecting through to the servicing of the client and asking for referrals. With this information you can now develop a job title and a job description as well as defining a path from new employee through to veteran employee with an expected reward growth schedule.

Step 6

A “Shared Vision” with the employees you begin to bring in to the Company is critical. Every person in the Company must understand the ethics, the motivations, and the values, of the Company. Why is this important you might ask? If you spend time in your meetings, such as your Monday morning kick off the week meeting for instance talking about how you believe your customers should be treated, how the Company should be seen, and how to make decisions based upon core values, it will sync in. And, one day you will happen upon a conversation one of your employees is having with a disgruntled customer and you want to jump in, but as you listen you hear the employee treat the customer just as you would with respect and listen to that customer, take notes and promise to get back to them with a resolution. Well, NOW YOU’VE GOT SOMETHING, DON’T YOU?

Step 7

Probably THE most important thing you can do to move your business from Chaos to Process is make sure you understand your job as the CEO, President, Owner. It is your job to lead. It is your job to develop people helping them grow intellectually, emotionally, technically, and socially. How do you do that?
Your focus needs to be to work “ON” your Company not “IN” your Company. Find ways to give more responsibility to employees. Work to make your need to be there on daily basis less and less each day. Then you can focus on growth not the weekly payroll. Good processes will help you build a company that can last whether you are there or not. Once you’ve attained this you now have a saleable asset,. So when it is time for succession or exit, you’ve built something of great value.