Small businesses are the envy of larger companies: they’re nimble and able to adjust their marketing and customer offerings on a dime. However…when was the last time you audited your company’s processes, including bookkeeping, accounting, inventory, and production, and made them earn a place in your business?
The key is in asking tough questions. One in particular often elicits a response known as “the six deadly words.”
The question is: “Why do we do it this way?” And it likely produces the following answer: “We’ve always done it this way.” The six deadly words.
Chances are, few of your processes exist because they’re the best option for today. They were convenient, cheap, a temporary solution or one that worked well…10 years ago. So, reexamine them now.
Ask questions. Don’t accept the six deadly words as a response. If a process is outdated, ask your employees for suggestions to improve it. Ask your customers: they may see problems you didn’t even know existed.
Listen to the answers. Look for patterns. Are there tweaks that would improve your company’s operations, or are there deeper systemic problems?
While it might not be an option to overhaul your company’s systems now, looking for processes that are past their prime will help you plan a more efficient future for your company. And perhaps even get buy-in for changes from your employees and customers.
Don’t fear the six deadly words. Replace them with this positive eight-word statement: “We’re changing our processes, thanks to your input.”