6 Steps to Financial Freedom for Businesses – Step 3September 14, 2023
Step 2 touched on making a strategic plan and organizational chart. The core segments of business are Operations, Sales and Marketing, Human Resources, and Finance and Accounting. And the organizational chart is key for identifying who will run each of those roles (as well as other employees) today and in the future 5-year version of your company, for example. What foundations are you laying now to see that these are taken care of? What seeds are you planting now to grow into this vision of the company’s future?
Create Operational Excellence
This is number 3 on my list of 6 Steps to Financial Freedom for Businesses. But don’t think it’s lower on the totem pole of importance. If you aren’t able to retain employees and customers, then nothing else really matters any longer. No other steps on this list will need to be followed because you’ll have to close the doors of your business.
When is the last time you’ve given yourself time to actively plan in the area of creating operational excellence and incredible service?
You simply cannot compete these days in any industry unless you are superior when it comes to your service. And you cannot just cross your fingers; it must be intentional. You have to spell out every single step until it is owned by all employees, much like the prosperity mindset.
At my office, we meet at the white board and we flow chart every step, beginning from the moment the phone rings all the way through a sale or non-sale and beyond. That’s the first step — visualizing.
- Write down what operational excellence looks like
- Write down all the tasks needed for a job and who is responsible for each task.
- Locate the points of failure in your systems or processes and how they can be overcome or failsafed. Have a contingency for each of these.
- Make sure your organizational chart is based on efficiency and common sense. A team member currently working under one manager may actually have a role that fits better with another manager, as some roles deal with multiple departments.
- Find your biggest obstacles, the ones that cause the most time loss, the most profit loss, the most frustration. Brainstorm solutions and maximize your control over the issue if possible. If your industry is dependent upon the weather, what is your plan when the weather doesn’t cooperate? Are some seasons better than others?
- Map each point of contact with the customer and log what they can expect from you. After each of these steps have been flushed out, have someone roleplay as the prospective customer and see if they are given a reason to do business with you.
- How do you answer the phone?
- How soon can the customer expect an appointment?
- Who will address the homeowner and what will be said?
- How long will an inspection/repair/install usually take? Will there be any surprises or unexpected charges/delays?
- What follow-up occurs after the work is completed?
- Have you left the customer with a reason to spread good word-of-mouth about your company?
- Staff training (beyond onboarding)
- What – What topics are covered for each role? Will those taking training still have a ton of questions once they’ve finished training? If so, why? Does the employee understand where they fit in the grand scheme? Does the employee know the importance of their role and how they are depended upon for operational excellence? Are they tested on the training afterwards?
- Where – In-house or offsite? Online or in-person?
- How often – Is it one and done? Or is it understood that training is ongoing, much like keeping certifications up to date? Are weaknesses in performance handled with additional training?
- Involve employees
- Have an open-door policy where employees can bring suggestions for improvements in efficiency. They are the ones performing the tasks, in the office or in the field, and are the ones who feel the pain points of inefficiency. One of the main reasons employees leave their jobs is they can feel like their ideas aren’t being heard.
- Promote from within when it makes sense. It gives employees a reason to be the top performer of their group, and a reason to not be tempted by other employment offers outside your company.
“How will I continue to attract employees who want nothing more than to work for my company? How will I continue to attract repeat customers who want nothing more than to do business with my company and tell others?”
Operations will create processes that streamline production, make everyday tasks as hassle-free as they can be, and will keep your company profitable, meaning you can avoid layoffs during slow periods when your competitors are breaking bad news to their employees.
Let me leave you with an example of someone tying together a prosperity mindset with operational excellence. When the two are combined, look out, because the results can be exponential.
My operations manager, who’s also part owner of our company, is a very busy man. He runs all the operations, which ultimately means everything outside of the building and some of the stuff inside of the building ends up falling on his shoulders. This can leave anyone stressed and somewhat forgetful of why we’re here. So one day I asked him in a meeting, I said, “I want you to list out loud everything you have to do today.”
He wasn’t expecting this question, yet he didn’t hesitate to start listing. “Well, I have to do commissions. I have to do payroll. I have to order equipment. I have to pull permits…” He went through all these “have to’s.”
And then I said, “Now I want you to restate all of those things that you say you have to do, but restate them in the context of you choose to do them and tell me why you choose to do them.”
So he continued, “Well, I choose to do commissions because I want my salespeople to get paid so they can pay their bills. I choose to do payroll so everybody else can get paid on time without surprise or delay. I choose to pull permits so we can do more installs and generate more revenue. I choose to order equipment so we can have the proper equipment to do the job right for the customer.” And his whole demeanor changed.
Try it in a meeting. Try it with your team at work. Have them go through and list all the things they have to do and then tell them to restate it in terms of choosing to, wanting to, and the benefit of those things. The prosperity mindset is so much more powerful than that, but a simple reminder can change someone’s outlook and help them refocus.
How will you implement operational excellence and amazing customer service? Like I said, it’s anything but accidental. It takes proactive work. It’s not hard work, but man does it pay off.