Tuesday, February 08, 2011

How To Start Making Good Decisions In Your Business

In the planning stages right now for release of a new product that will be available soon to help businesses to easily manage their information around compliance for employees and actually manage the information simply and with the least amount of misery as possible. I was really drawn to this idea when I first heard about it because it is part of the cluster of issues that comes up again and again, when working with business owners and which gets them stuck and unable to work effectively in the business.

In recent days, we've had articles on the fiasco at Commonwealth Bank and their Big Brother approach of their social media policy and the Heat Company winning their costs for a harassment case that they have been stuck defending for four years. Can you imagine the time and disruption this would create, even apart from any costs directly related to the case?

How Would You Cope?

If you were called to defend your workers against some accusation of wrongdoing in the workplace where would you start? How do you prove something didn't happen?

How many have good reporting in the business even for logging the things that DO happen?

Not many.

There are so many things that should happen in business that don't that it isn't funny.

These stories in the media go with other stories I've run into lately of business owners telling me they don't have issues in their business covered that need to be and at some level they want to be covered. Where they are exposed to risk by not having them covered and yet they go on and continue to put the things that expose them to risk in the "do later" pile and never get around to them. They have not bothered to get them done in the past, so it is a pretty safe bet that they will not get to them in the future either.

So what are some of the things that don't get done in small and medium business?

Things Not Done In Business

  1. No written policies and procedures which are always up-to-date, complete and accessible easily
  2. No real process for recruiting the right people
  3. No induction process for new hires to help them hit the ground running
  4. No real system to monitor and track performance and training 
  5. No business plan with an outline of priorities for this next period (and no 'in your head' doesn't count)
  6. No training process to keep employees improving their skills 
  7. No marketing plan to incorporate their online marketing
  8. No checks and monitoring of the business on the web
So what are the possible results that can happen to a business as a result?

What Happens When These Things In Business Aren't Done?

Some examples would be (and I'm sure you can think of more of your own)

  • Wasted time and energy by employees not following the set standards
  • Frustration for customers 
  • Opportunities not taken 
  • Sales lost
  • Crisis when a new person is needed to be hired 
  • Wrong people hired who are a poor fit and don't have the right skills or attitude
  • Poor performance from employees
  • Lack of interest and initiative in the workplace
  • Employees stagnating and not developing
  • Vital issues in the business not dealt with 
  • Resources (money) allocated to things that don't return value
  • Resources (money) not allocated to things that will return value
  • Value of the business reduced as a result of poor efficiencies 
  • Value of the business reduced as a result of poor management
  • Opportunities to grow customer base restricted
  • Lack of sales that could be made without increasing fixed costs
  • No data to analyze to improve business output
  • Opportunities for business to grow are hidden and not able to be activated. 

I don't know why a business owner would want that.

To come back to the compliance issues and we know that the regulations and requirements for business to be accountable for legal obligations is not going away. We can probably feel safe in assuming that the red tape is going to get worse rather than better, into the future.

"Too busy to get to it" is not a very good excuse when something goes wrong and the business owner has to show that they have done the right thing.

No good decisions come from a place of being "too busy". If you are "too busy" to get to these issues, then you can be confident that whatever other decisions you are making in your business are likely to be ill-considered.

There are few guarantees in life but here's one. Where the things that should be done are not and only the crises that you manage day-to-day get attention... any decisions made from this position, will be bad for your business.

How To Start Making Good Decisions

Take an objective look at your business.

Work out:
  1. What are the areas that have been neglected and need work?
  2. What do you need to do to fix this now?
  3. Do you have the knowledge and resources to fix this?
  4. Do you know where to find help for the things you don't know how to do?

 If you'd like a worksheet to use to start reviewing your business send me an email with your story and I'll send you one.

Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering 

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