When I started in business, I didn’t realize the importance of wearing many hats, but today, I totally get it! Whether working the books, or working the sales, or likely working both simultaneously, one thing remains true: Your time is a valuable commodity and must be protected.
Through decades of my business’s growth I’ve discovered policies and procedures are an important key to unlocking not only profit, but time freedom. Of all of our business practices, these are the policies and procedures that have yielded the greatest boost to my profits and freed up more of my time:
1. No phones policy
Engaged employees make you the most money and work the hardest, so unless absolutely necessary, require employees to leave personal phones somewhere out of reach. It’s not unreasonable to expect employees to keep their private business to breaks and lunches. Allowing access to personal phones during work means you’re allowing occasional check ins on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, texting with friends, etc. This is letting money go right down the drain, not to mention lowering the morale of all the staff as well as any customers that see your people playing on their phones. Make a No Phone policy. After the initial shock, you’ll see how everyone benefits and becomes more engaged.
2. Develop and Document a hiring process
Don’t just bring one or two people in and interview them on the fly. Who you hire is a huge decision for any business and you must get it right. Poor hiring practices can be costly in more ways than just financial. Botched hiring decisions drain time and energy away from your business’ main objectives and forces everything and every one to slow down.
Here’s a quick process:
- Identify the key traits you’re looking for in new hires
- Build a set of questions designed to demonstrate those specific traits
A good rule of thumb to remember is: hire for attitude, train for skills.
3. Develop a training process
Training is the ultimate fulfillment of your brand promise. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a high or low turnover environment, or if your team is 2-200 people. Small businesses must always compete on service and great service is more likely to happen if your team is well trained and knows how to accomplish what’s expected of them. They also need to be held accountable.
Give your staff what they desire; structure, guidelines, feedback and goals, and watch your customer counts, and satisfaction, increase!
4. Document every procedure through checklists
Business accountability dictates you must have checklists for everything. Checklists are by far the easiest systems to develop and manage. Use opening and closing lists, cleaning and maintenance schedules, stock rotation and inventory par levels. With easy checklist accountability, there’s far less room for error, misunderstanding, waste, mistakes – even theft. Hold yourself accountable first, then everyone else and build checklists for everything. Start small and simple, then, grow your checklist series and depth as you and your team get more comfortable with these basic systems.
Rather than doing something tediously over and over, develop a system for it and then manage the system and save time. Even better, you’ll get more consistent results and profit! Now that’s just smart business.
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