Any organization that is looking to grow can face a significant amount of uphill challenges. And, with almost any startup or new venture, it is almost laughable to have daily processes and procedures in place because one individual or a team of only a few have to wear each and every hat. That being said, as an organization begins to grow it is simply imperative to get in the habit of being more efficient early on and before any bad habits or faulty processes can become the main way of doing things.
Creating Processes (and Sticking to Them)
When you first start out, your processes don’t have to be extremely big picture or boiled down to the very minute detail. That being said, you need to define the business by your core competencies and make sure you actually have a plan in place for every item. This is not just the key, but you also need to have a plan in place to revisit and revise these same exact plans year to year (or on some other time horizon). After all, if a business that has been operating for a decade was to go back and look at the things they thought were the best practices and necessary processes on day one, they would probably find tasks and important notes that weren’t even around any longer thanks to the changing business landscape.
Another important point to note is that just because you have these processes in place, it doesn’t mean that you are done! You have to have a way of enforcing these. After all, what good is writing something down if you don’t follow it? Rather than just wasting time to come up with processes, any organization needs to put them into practice and needs to make sure they update them on a regular basis (as needed).
When you act as an organization and tell others what you can do, you are effectively making a promise. Whether you are stating a sales pitch and giving a quote, showing packaging and testimonials on the side of a product, or even putting down facts about your business on the company website and marketing material, you are giving out a promise. The one way that you can easily get rid of customers and destroy your reputation is to break these promises. When it comes to putting your money where your mouth is and making good on your promises, delivering the goods and services that you explicitly promised is just the first part. You also have to remember the implicit and implied promises that any customer or client will expect you to hold up regardless of whether you say them or not. These are things such as quality, efficiency, and standing by your product when it comes to service. In short, you need to be responsible for your business in the eyes of the client or customer.
Always Being On Call
When it comes to being on call, this is a key that any and every IT business needs to focus on. Customers call for a variety of reasons. However, regardless of the reason you need to remember that the very second they are calling is the time that they want you. You not only have a chance to capitalize by fixing a problem whether by servicing their existing needs or by selling them something new, but you also have a chance in growing your relationship with your current client. That’s exactly why you need to figure out whatever way possible to always be available.
The companies that have shifted their resources to automated phone lines and overseas call centers were intelligent to try and minimize communication costs, but in the process they were trading dollar costs for convenience costs. The businesses that focus on always being there for their clients and customers are the ones who use systems like logiciel video conference for IT by Bluejeans to always be on hand for any technical issue. When a client can get a live person and real help within seconds then the business model is working. However, if they can see a person face to face in that same time, they are more than willing to pay a few dollars more for the convenience.
The operational standpoint of a business is the most important aspect to focus on because without having a plan you (and your employees) are in a “fly by the seat of your pants” mode for the foreseeable future. However, if you are simply able to line up the processes, tell your clients what you will do, actually do it, and do it in a timely manner that makes them happy as well then you will have a much better business design that is both flexible and more efficient than you would otherwise.