Move the needle: habits


Have you ever dealt with a routine challenge and thought to yourself, “Didn’t I deal with this exact problem last week?”

Of course you have.

In fact, after you have been in business for a few years, chances are good that you get into a fairly predictable routine each week. Unfortunately, even though you see similar challenges week after week, you devise a new way of dealing with them each and every time.

Consider the following scenario: A customer has just called and complained that there is a defect in your product or service. The staff member who answers the phone deals with the problem but never communicates the solution to anyone else. Next week, a different customer calls with the same defect and the phone call is taken by a different staff member.

Guess what happens? That’s right, another member of your staff takes time dealing with a problem that had been solved a week earlier.

Now, keep in mind that this sort of scenario takes place in every facet of your business – sales, marketing, operations, customer service, accounting, shipping, etc. In other words, you and your staff spend a significant amount of time and effort trying to reinvent the wheel each and every week.

This loss of productivity (in addition to a fairly high level of frustration) is taking a significant toll on the bottom line.

So, how do you stop?

Like most issues facing entrepreneurs, the answer is intellectually simple, yet most owners struggle to implement the solution.

Here goes (drum roll please …) – Buy a 3-ring binder and write the word “Operations Binder” down the spine. Next, create a table of contents that mirrors your business. Typical headings include Marketing, Sales, Operations, Finance, Customer Service and HR.

After you have decided on the main headings, you then carefully consider each of the tasks that needs to take place in each of these categories and then document the steps necessary to complete each task. It really is that simple.

As with most things in life, intellectually speaking this is easy. All you need to do is choose to execute.

Choose wisely.