I think we are all very well acquainted with survival mode at the moment, given that, at the time of writing, we are 6 months into the Covid-19 pandemic. However, most business owners want to be thriving, not just surviving. 

The key for any growing business is to develop your business systems and procedures as you grow, having the right systems in place at the right time. Time and again we see the importance of having watertight small business systems. 

It is a small business’s systems and processes that run it, not the owners or managers. The owners or managers “just” put the systems in place and ensure they are correct for the business at that time.

In this blog, we outline key examples of having good business systems in place, the systems and procedures that small businesses need & how to get the right balance.

What is an example of having good business systems?

A slightly extreme example of having good business systems is McDonald’s. They would not make any money if they just sold the customer exactly what they asked for, like a cheeseburger.

They make their money from having a system in place that ensures, without fail, that the default reply to that is “Would you like to make that a meal deal?” or “Would you like a drink with that?”

If we wanted to relate this to small business systems for, say, an independent restaurant, there could be systems in place to ensure the waiting staff have default responses to items on the menu. For example, if someone asks, “Can I have the roast please?”, the reply could be, “Sure, would you like a Yorkshire pudding with that for an extra £x?”, or with a more pushy approach, “Our signature cauliflower cheese goes great with that, can I add that to your order?”

Each individual upsell won’t make a huge difference, but when they are applied to each successful order, the impact is huge.

What small business systems should you have in place?

These systems and processes should form a part of all aspects of your small business, not just in sales as per the example above. Some further examples, to name a few, are as follows:

  • Health and Safety – COVID-19 procedures, heavy lifting guidance, accident reporting, PPE requirements, workplace stress management and more.
  • Personnel and Human Resources – new employee onboarding processes to ensure all training is carried out in good time, collection of personal information and payroll additions, disciplinary procedures and more.
  • Stock and ordering – procedures in place for suppliers to use, authorisation limits, procedures for sourcing new suppliers and more.
  • Cash flow – payment terms for customers and how they should pay you (i.e. 50% on order, 50% on delivery for a manufacturing business or monthly Direct Debit for a professional services business), payment terms for suppliers and anything else related to cash flow.
  • Workflow processes – ensuring all staff follow the same steps when completing work, and that work completed is reviewed by the correct individuals.

What is the guidance for implementing small business systems?

If you run a business striving to thrive, you need to develop your business systems and procedures as you grow, getting the right balance between control and direction without smothering your team in red tape. 

You can go overboard with too many systems and systems which are too strict and regimented, which could lead to a less productive and unmotivated team. So, it is important to get your team’s feedback on systems you implement.  

We hope you have found this blog on the implementation of small business systems useful! It all comes down to careful planning and making sure procedures are in place which makes everyone’s lives easier, and which generate more income in the long run.

If you have any further questions on this topic, you are more than welcome to get in touch with us.