You are reading this because you probably run a small business of your own. Either that or you are strongly considering coming over to the dark side and away from the faux safety of a job. Faux fur is great for animal lovers as it gives the owner all of the feelings of owning a dead animal (the comfort, warmth, prestige) without actually having to kill anything. Faux safety is the feeling a good employer will give you until the time they decide they don’t need you anymore. The warmth and safety of a job that pays just enough to cover your lifestyle, is like taking your beautiful fake-fur coat on a free trial, then having to give it back. The end day of your free trial is very likely to be the first day of the coldest winter in history. Many people are finding their once safe job has disappeared after the COVID pandemic.
If you are lucky enough to still be in employment at present, then you might want to start considering your options. The latest IT revolution has enabled another, parallel, “entrepreneur revolution”. Once you have learned your chosen trade and decided on your path in life, it has never been easier to drop the faux safety of your job and get to work creating something for yourself. Something you can control.
New or existing small businesses can “grow like topsy” if they are able to do three things:
- Find an underserved niche or part of the market
- Create a team of good people to work with
- Automate the processes that support your customer
After doing these three things, it’s rinse, wash, repeat. Occasionally, you can add small improvements to refine your processes as you grow. It’s all about People, Process and Technology.
The old saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” has stood the test of time. Business is about people. The most successful people in history have always surrounded themselves with high-quality friends and colleagues. In this information age, you can discover how to do almost anything on the internet. But creating and nurturing contacts takes time and effort and you should never stop creating new contacts. Personally, I hate people. Lockdown was great for me. So, doing this part of business is hard going for me. Luckily, I have partnered with a colleague that likes people more than I do. His networking abilities are second to none. If you don’t believe me, try going to the urinal next to his.
Your business may serve customers directly. Those customers may be the final consumers of your product or service. We call this B2C (Business to Consumer). You may opt to start a business that sells to other businesses and it is they who take the final product or service to the consumer. Your business model is then called B2B (Business to Business). Whichever model you adopt, you will need to be able to provide a product or service to your customer that is either:
- Cheaper in price
- Faster to get hold of
- Easier to use
- Better in features or looks
Than your competitors….
You may be blessed with a new product that is far better looking than anything else on the market and so much easier to use than any other on the market. But, to be honest, it is unlikely. Take a look around and you are most likely going to find at least one direct competitor with something similar.
So, you are going to need to find a way to deliver your product or service quicker than your competition and at a price they will find it hard to match. You will need to do both of these things and, still be able to sell it for more than it cost you to produce and sell. Anyone can run a business that makes a loss. Your business needs to make a profit. You have good people in your company, but now you need good processes. It is these processes that will enable you to compete. To win.
Are you unique?
Every business owner I speak with believes their company has unique processes. In every case they are wrong. There are only about 49 business processes and after that, each one is a derivative of another. Being able to look at each part of the business and to document exactly what happens, when it happens, who does it and what information is needed to make it happen, is critical to the success of your business. To every business actually. It is not hard to do, can be really cathartic as you see your business laid out in front of you in all its naked glory! So why do so few business owners ever get around to doing it? I know exactly why. I see it every day. People are so busy working in their business, they always neglect to work on it.
The ability to empower people to make decisions and to take action as soon as they start a task is critical in any process. Without the correct information to hand, a task cannot be completed in good time and when this happens, your processes fail. Allowing your staff to “cherry-pick” tasks is equally as unproductive. You need to make sure your staff are starting the right tasks at the right time. Not just taking that quick job now, because it’s Friday afternoon. The good news is, there is an easy way to ensure every person in your employ knows exactly what they must do and by when and to give them the correct information to complete their task. It is called technology and it’s available to even the smallest business with the smallest budgets. Process and Technology are no longer the realm of the big dogs.
Technology has changed the ground rules of business. Controlled systems and processes that were once the preserve of large corporations can now be re-created on software platforms that cost less than $100. You will now find large multi-national behemoths that pay millions of dollars every year to maintain software products that are less efficient than some of the lowest cost Software as a Service (SaaS) products available in minutes to every small business owner.
Overlay your own processes onto one of these services and you will quickly be able to refine, test, and improve every process used to make, sell and deliver your product or service. The end result is a product that is just as good as your competitors, delivered quicker, with less friction, supported in the most charming way at a price other can’t match. This will create profits. Profits that allow you to buy any coat you want this winter.
Zway has been designed to enable small businesses to compete on the main stage. It enables any business process to be linked with single point of truth information, (your information entered just once).
Take look at how Zway enables any business to import their information and documents and within an hour. After that, you can create any business process you need and enable your staff to take part whilst ensuring every member of the team has access to the right information at the right time.