I think it’s safe to say that every business begins with the intention of long-term success – nobody starts just to fail. But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Business Employment Dynamics, only about 50% of businesses will survive their fifth year. That number drops sharply to only 30% that survive their tenth year.
So in order to achieve success, you must do what 70% of businesses are not doing. That bring to mind a few questions: What is that? How do I figure it out? Where do I start?
The average business begins with an idea or product that is centered around one person or a small group of people. While it’s understandable that your early days would be centered around an entrepreneur who has created a product or thrives at a service, long-term success can be achieved much more rapidly by thinking outside of yourself. Establishing a system for the future rather than today is the first step in the right direction.
BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND
In order to make a solid process, you must first know where you want to go. A local, family run business has a much different process than a national or international service business. Decide who you want to be and who you want to service, then work backwards from there.
EVERY BUSINESS NEEDS THESE THREE Ps
Multimillionaire and serial entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis has said that there are three Ps that determine the success or failure of a business.
People: To grow your business, you need the right people behind you, but it’s also important that you consider fit and place people in the right roles that match their skills and talents. Once you’ve assembled your team, make sure to create an enabling environment where they are supported and set up for success.
Product: A close examination of your product is the next element of business success. Consider pricing, sizing, packaging, whom you will target, and how you will get your message out there. Remember to view your product as customers will view it and make modifications as needed.
Process: To grow your business, you must also have solid processes in place. This will make the business more efficient, guard against financial problems, and allow you to replicate the model when it’s time to scale.
CREATING YOUR PROCESS
Begin by making your process as simply as possible. Start with the large bullet points that outline what your company does and then break that down. Be willing to invest time into this process because it is the foundation to everything you are building. An easily understood process can not only be passed on to new team members but can also be replicated for future growth.
Once you have solidified your process, know that it will likely change as you grow. We live in a rapidly shifting culture, so you must we willing to shift your process slightly to keep up. But by taking time with the initial process establishment, it is feasible that 80% of your initial process will carry you for quite some time.
Pro Tip: Make sure to involve your team members in your process review – they will see things you do not.
TEACHING YOUR PROCESS
There are certainly many ways to teach your process, but we have found that this simple SOS system works well for us.
Show It · Observe It · Shape It
Yes, it’s as simple as it sounds. Show you your team how your process works. Live out every single step with them so that they can see how it works and what you expect.
Now that you’ve shown your team how things work and what is expected, make sure they get it. See how they are performing and make sure that they understand the why of the system. This process may take a while and often requires patience. It can be easy to think , “This would be quicker if I just did it myself”. But you must remember that this is about long-term sustainability, not immediate gratification.
We think of this as “trust but verify”. Your team member understands your process and your culture, so let them run their lane and coach them as needed.