Best Practices To Implement Now
“I wish I would have known this 20 years ago.” We often have clients say that they wish they would have learned certain business best practices earlier than what they did. These best practices not only make their business easier to run on a day-to-day basis, but in the end, they also make their business more sell-able when the time comes to exit.
While we can’t share all the best practices in one newsletter (without it being a novel) here are a few that really stand out:
- Document your vision – Having a written vision is common, but for many it may feel like fluff until you see it in action. Having a vision makes it easier for you, and your team, to make decisions. There is no doubt you will run into roadblocks and detours on this journey. Having a map will make a difference in how your team reacts to what’s coming at them.
- Invest in systems – We understand that systems take time, but you’re also going to spend time training. You can choose to invest that time in a way that your business owns the material if an employee walks out the door, or you can invest it in a way that the employee takes everything with them. Systems are a wiser investment, they cut down on mistakes and improve efficiencies. In addition, potential buyers like to see systems in place because it shows that your business can get results without you.
- Teach problem solving – If the business relies on you to solve problems it’s difficult to be in control of your time. And when you're gone, decisions are delayed and it slows down processes. To start teaching others to solve problems, you need to stop giving them answers. Instead, ask them questions which will begin teaching them how to think their way to a solution.
- Diversify your customer base – Having large customers, or many customers in the same industry, is a problem waiting to happen. If the industry takes a turn or a large customer exits suddenly, your business will take a hit. Even if that doesn’t happen, when you go to sell your business, a potential buyer may see the lack of diversity as a reason to lower their offer.
- Design your culture – Every business has a culture. If you don’t create it intentionally it will still be there. In the absence of a clearly defined culture, the owner often becomes the key driver behind maintaining an undefined culture. If this describes your business then when your business grows, or you try to take a long vacation, or when you go to sell, the culture is in danger. Having a clearly defined culture allows you to engage others to adopt it and become active participants in keeping it healthy.
- Time management is king – There’s a lot you can’t control in business, but you can always control what gets your time and attention. It can be difficult but taking control of your time is one of the first steps to business success. This often requires a change in your mindset as well as putting guidelines into place. Once you have control of your time, it’s much easier to invest that time into building the business practices listed above.