There was an overwhelming amount of joy around the business community & the world in general to see 2016 bite the dust. Between the seemingly endless amount of the world’s favourite celebrities leaving us for good (did you know there’s a whole website that lists celebrities that died by year??…..) to a really tough year in business for a lot of people, 2016 was just hard.
I’d have to admit looking back, 2016 was not great for our businesses in all areas as well. We continued to grow quite healthily but in the area of systems and HR we definitely had a tough one that brought a lot of stress with that.
2016 saw a few changes on the employee front mixed with continued growth. As a result, our long-standing good response times for emails & phone calls blew out beyond our usual 24 hour max timeframe. Similarly, our times for jobs extended past our two-week turnaround time for business clients. Not happy Jan.
So what did we do once it was identified?
As the business owner, I identified the issue pretty early on in the new tax year. Two new staff members helped greatly but with a busy tax season already underway, I took a step back and tried to evaluate how to improve response & job turnaround times permanently. Even improving them beyond what they were before staff changes. How could we do this?
Many business books later – Michael Gerber, Brian Tracy, Brad Sugars, you name it I read… it came down to systems – that is procedures, templates, processes, not re-creating the wheel each time. Nothing new, but as well as knowledge business & motivational books (check out Audible.com great way to absorb books whilst working, driving, possibly sleeping too), provided the motivation & push to finally implement this well in our business.
Our aim is to provide high quality service both technically & on the customer service front for small business. That’s our mission.
So implement it we did. For the last few months, we have reviewed every process we do in the office from preparing a tax return, processing a BAS, writing a letter or email, or ordering stationery. We started with the admin processes and wrote out the steps or generated templates for every email or letter written. We then moved on to accountant & bookkeeper processes, then HR and we are now on to marketing.
Its been a long process and we are not finished, but the improvements are starting to flow through. We’ve taken on another staff member and the new staff training has been more efficient & they have a great staff manual to refer to easily. It means knowledge is not locked away in my head or another staff members. Our aim is to provide high quality service both technically & on the customer service front for small business. That’s our mission.
As we do a new task not yet documented, we take out screen shots, record the how to video or write up the template wording and add it to the folder. Then each week we go through the folder and review a handful of the procedures and see how they can be fine tuned – whether that is making it faster or making the projects we do of better value to our clients.
So as much as 2016 really sucked for music & movie fans (RIP Bowie), its turned into a great learning process for Goad Accountants & Simply Business Bookkeeping businesses. We’ve set targets for turnover, staff numbers, response & turnaround times and know that these will be intrinsically linked to how well our procedures are implemented within each business.
Have a think about your business? What tasks can you document into procedures? What communication can you document into templates? What would it mean for you as a business owner to empower your staff to take over these tasks?
If you would like to have a chat about our journey so far and a starting point for yourself, feel free to send me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s to a great 2017
Disclaimer: The information contained on this website is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser. Taxation, legal and other matters referred to on this website are of a general nature only and are based on Goad Accountant’s interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Those laws may change from time to time.