Organizing the administration of your company according to best practices that you have determined through research and through experience is the best way to create efficiency and scalability of operations. Once you have a written and dogmatic way of performing certain tasks, you can focus more of your mental resources and manpower on other aspects of your business. This is the way in which your business can expand while still maintaining the quality and consistency that it had when you had more direct control of all operations.
However, there are a few things about best practices that are a often misunderstood by business owners. Below are a few things that every entrepreneur should know about standardizing and codifying their operations.
Essential Knowledge for Building Best Practices
- Best practices may differ within the same industry. Although you can take a few obvious fundamentals from your competitors, you should not fall into the trap of becoming another industry clone; think of your unique best practices as a competitive advantage. No matter what, you will always have a slightly different niche from all of your competitors, and your customer base will be a little different. As such, you will have to organize your company in a slightly different way. Many best practices can be found through research on your competitors and case studies. However, you’ll still need to find unique business solutions for your company through trial and error.
- Practices should always adhere to basic business protocol. There are some basic rules of business that should never be broken, such as quick response to angry customers, streamlined administration and a good supply chain. Your most basic training documents are created to help maintain those standards. Basic protocol in all businesses stretches across industry, genre and company.
- Standardizing practices may require some internal change. If you need to change personnel in order to get your best practices fully incorporated into your company, you cannot be afraid to show them the door. Training programs can help some team members reach minimum standards, but there has to be a limit on the amount of resources that you will spend on people who simply cannot get the job done. Make it known across the organization that your new practices will the bare minimum, and that people should know exactly where they stand if they cannot learn their role in the company under these new standards.
- Standards are only as good as the people delegated to implement them. The only way that best practices on paper will actually translate to the real world is if they’re being maintained by middle and lower management. It can be hard to make that transition from having your fingers in everything to delegating essential operations to individuals you trust, but that’s what needs to happen as your small business begins to scale upward. Find competent people who understand your vision for the company and who will make smart decisions to implement best practices on the ground.
- You’ll constantly be revising your best practice documents. Best practices will always be subject to the environment that you are in, which is constantly changing with the market and the size of your organization. Watch your competitors, watch your own analytics and keep a sharp eye out for new technologies that could be game-changing in the way that they affect the way you do business. You need to be sure that you’re regularly updating best practices with feedback from the grassroots level of your company and from customers.
Author bio: Mike Russell is an author, entrepreneur and consultant working for MakeMillionsMakeChange.com, where you can learn about melding sound business principles with philanthropic goals to make money and fuel your favorite charitable causes at the same time.