Want to Expand, But Are You Afraid of Losing Control?

At some point in the life of a small business, it stops being small.  This journey is seldom smooth and there are a lot of changes that cause stress and anxiety.  Changes such as adding your first new employee or the expense of moving into a larger space.  Things that worked for a few clients, begin to break down as the client list grows.  For instance, where you once mailed a few packages a day, now you need to palletize those packages. 

All these things put more demands on the business owner’s time, getting to the point where they can no longer do it all.  If not managed correctly it could lead the business owner to feel like they are no longer in control.  Does this mean you avoid growing?  Absolutely not, but it requires that you have procedures in place to anticipate and manage these issues as your business grows. 

Mapping the Process

First, you need to understand what you are doing and why you are doing it!  Not only does that give you a better idea of what is going on, but it allows you to document it.  This documentation allows you to standardize that work and it no longer leaves all this information with just a few employees.  Nothing is worse than work having to stop because a key employee is on vacation or sick.  You should try to do this for as many processes as possible, but don’t get too wrapped up in doing it all, because  paralysis by analysis is as bad as not doing anything at all.

Defining Goals

Second, you need to understand the goals of these processes so that you can understand what needs to be tracked and measured!  For example, if you bake bread, you should know what you need for ingredients, how much waste there is, how many loads needed to be thrown away, demand for the bread, etc… This knowledge is important as it allows you to proactively address issues and determine if you need to reevaluate how you make and sell your products. For example, you normally lose a few loafs of bread a week due to some issue, but today you lost three, then you know there is an issue that needs addressing immediately.

Review and Update

Lastly, you need to review the steps listed above periodically. Don’t do all this work and then leave it on a shelf somewhere (or in a computer folder), never to be touched again. Too often we get in the habit of saying “that is how it has always been done,” even as we have forgotten why we were doing it in the first place. Ensure employees have an opportunity to give feedback and suggest improvements.  If you make changes, update your documentation.  Finally, don’t be afraid to start the process all over again.  Remember, you want to periodically ensure that the process you are using is the best it can be, never rest on your laurels!   

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Does this feel overwhelming?  Not sure where to start? Well, this is where Dirigo Software Solutions fits in. What I do is help businesses become more efficient through technology.  Using my risk-free guaranteed technology assessment, I help the business owner to see opportunities for improvement by looking at their business processes from the 30,000-foot view and not the trenches.  Then I give them a report on what they can do to be more efficient.  The best part is that even if you don’t hire me, you will still walk away with four or five great ideas you can implement in your business to save time and money.  Give me a call at 207-740-5709 or email me at wwade@dirigosoftwaresolutions.com to get started!

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