By Marc Beauchamp
Elite organizations have invested the time necessary to develop their processes, procedures and systems. Every business function can be segmented into a process and/or sub process. Once you discover what processes drive a particular activity, it can be quantified, measured and improved upon.
A process occurs in every area of business, whether it's marketing, appointment setting, sales calls, deployment, inventory management, risk management, data compliance, underwriting, technical support, customer service, training, recruiting, hiring or firing.
American scholar, engineer and teacher W. Edwards Deming, who was instrumental in helping Japan become an industrial powerhouse after World War II, developed what's called the Deming Cycle, which is, a continuous quality improvement model consisting of a logical sequence of four repetitive steps for continuous improvement and learning:
Start with improving your most important or core processes, the ones that will have the most impact on your business if they are enhanced. This is the blocking and tackling part of any business. It's not glamorous or exciting, but if you want to be able to scale or have the business operate independently, you need to develop documentable processes, procedures and systems.
Start with the low hanging fruit, as follows:
Let's look at marketing for a moment. This is an area where you have unbelievable leverage to create improvements. Think about it, if you are running a Facebook ad or pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, you are spending a fixed amount each month, whether you generate 20 leads or 50 leads. If you have a salaried salesperson in the field, the monthly cost is fixed; you pay them the same salary whether they close five deals or 15 deals. If you have a call center, you are still paying a fixed hourly rate regardless of the number of appointments set and so on.
So marketing is one of the areas where you can realize the biggest leverage in your business. If you can increase conversion ratios for Facebook ads or PPC campaigns, increase salespeople's closed sales, or achieve higher appointment ratios, you have just increased your revenue, sales, profits and portfolio value. Small, incremental improvements make a major difference.
Document each of these core processes, ask for input from team members and keep it simple. With today's technology, there is no reason why you can't drastically improve your business in these four key areas. Once you get the initial four down, move to other areas such as operations, finance or human resources.
Why do you think franchises are so successful? Because they have processes, procedures and systems in place, so the franchise in Houston, Texas, is producing just as efficiently as the one in Pittsburg, Pa.
Systemizing your business gives you more power and control. It gives you options. Duplicate your system in other markets, maintain it, sell it or turn it over to someone else to run. If you get these four steps perfected, you will be a long way toward building a massive residual stream.
If you want to grow and expand, develop systems that allow you to do so.
Marc Beauchamp is author of Survive and Thrive in the Merchant Services Industry and founder of Bankcard Life, a community for payments professionals. He is offering a free copy of his book to all payments professionals at www.bankcardlife.com/greensheet. Marc welcomes your comments and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.
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