Business operations typically include four key areas;
Location: Where you do business — physically and online
Equipment: The tools you need to get the job done
Labor: The human side of business operations
Process: The way you get business done, including your process and systems for production, sales, and service that drive quality control.
Large or small, efficient operations are critical to business success. Take, for example, my client, a talented local florist who watched her small business blossom almost beyond her control. In the early years, she managed all the designs and arrangements herself. She bought new inventory at the flower market early in the morning and finished the bookkeeping late at night.
Over time, her designs started to get noticed. As the business expanded, she could no longer do everything alone. She scrambled to hire and train employees. In a rush to meet growing demand, she failed to establish a clear set of expectations and operational procedures - the result: a business meltdown.
Suddenly, she had no control over how her business was operating. Flower arrangements were delivered before approval, customer payments were often late, and no single person was in charge of purchases, customer service, or vendor quality.
For a brief, rocky period, several unhappy clients threatened to find other providers. Just in the nick of time, the florist sat down with me and, within sixty days, worked out a new way of doing business based on higher volume and more robust staff.
The new operational procedures spelled out each person’s role and responsibilities. The plan laid out a process of hiring, training, and the development of each new employee. We created a detailed process for production, sales, and customer experience. We set quality standards and negotiated with vendors. We worked closely with her accountant to create secure systems and metrics to monitor her financials. And we included a variety of tools to help manage her time so she could run her company effectively.
The transformation was astounding. Using the new procedures she was able to spend more time with family, profits increased an average of 12% each month, and she could devote more time to do what she did best — creative design while still meeting the demand of a booming business.
Now, three years later, along with her new business partner, they have added additional staff and services and truly created a blooming business!