To see how these concepts played out in our project for this client, please visit Improve Productivity by Reducing Time on Administrative Tasks.
"Process is the Clark Kent of business ideas: seemingly mild and unassuming, but actually amazingly powerful." – Michael Hammer, The Agenda
What's the benefit of getting your people, processes, and technology – that is, your overall system of running your business – under control? Michael E. Gerber, in his book The E-Myth Revisited, talks about creating a system that makes your business sustainable and your success repeatable. To create this system, a business owner or executive has to step away from working "in the business" to enable working "on the business." As simple as this sounds, it is incredibly hard to do – every business person wrestles daily with the "tyranny of the urgent" which typically relegates truly important, value-building work to the "do it someday" status.
There are two things that make working "on your business" even harder:
Most of the time, this work is not especially sexy or glamorous – like Clark Kent, there's little sizzle here. The key is determining what tasks your business has to do absolutely well, and then ensuring that your people, processes, and technologies are aligned to support these key tasks.
To be effective, this work requires the executive to be able to detach from what is being done, to envision what needs to be done or what could be done. A third party can bring this vision to the executive, who typically lacks the "focus" and "distance" required to bring "clarity" to an issue.
This month's case study may seem simplistic, or even mundane, especially when compared to some of our other projects – the focus is on process, and not on technology. Our client project involved developing a procedures manual (process) and reconfiguring QuickBooks (technology) to help a business owner and a newly-hired office manager (people) work more proficiently, thus yielding improved business results. But our client wouldn't call this mundane – he would call it invaluable, because we helped him work "on the business" so as to position him to help grow the size and profits of the business.
So, read on, to see how one business owner went about making his company more profitable, by working "on his business."
Todd L. Herman
Read more on ways you can improve your business processes.