It’s all about the Ops. Business Operations is one of the most critical components of business success. It’s also one of the most overlooked. So, what exactly is “Operations?” I like this definition by OnDeck:
Operations is the work of managing the inner workings of your business so it runs as efficiently as possible. Whether you make products, sell products, or provide services, every small business owner has to oversee the design and management of behind-the-scenes work.
This “behind-the-scenes work” isn’t what most business owners sign up for. According to a recent Guidant survey, 39% of respondents launch their business to pursue their passion or skill set. That passion could be anything – coaching, public speaking, consulting, freelancing, designing, crafting, or beautifying. What that passion usually isn’t is running the back office. They want to be front and center, focused on their expertise, not behind the scenes dealing with operational issues. For this reason, many business owners take the plunge into entrepreneurship without first answering the important questions – the who, what, where, when, why, and how of their business operations. They pursue passion without first establishing the operational processes to ensure their business will run smoothly and profitably.
In fact, it’s your processes that allow your passion to produce profits.
When your business runs efficiently, you spend less time on nonbillable, administrative tasks and more time on revenue-generating activity. Having well-defined processes and systems in places makes it easier for you to get work done, respond to customers, and provide your services.
With smooth operations, you’re not wasting precious time trying to figure things out, because you’ve already determined the necessary steps to deliver your products and services with excellence. And when smart workflows and automations are factored into your operations, your back office pretty much runs itself, freeing you to focus on coaching your next client, writing more content, or whatever work you’re most passionate about.
Whether you need to build or re-establish a solid operational foundation for your company, here’s a list of business processes every small business owner should think through:
- Establishing and maintaining your books
- Running monthly financial reports to understand where you’re losing or gaining
- Sending invoices, receiving payments, collecting on unpaid invoices
- Banking, online payments, cash transactions, and reconciling these
- Onboarding new clients
- Responding to phone calls, emails, and website inquiries
- Ensuring timely and accurate delivery of your products or services
- Following up with clients to stay top-of-mind
- Keeping track of tasks, milestones, and due dates
- Ensuring your vendors or contractors deliver on time
- Making sure your deliverables are of the highest quality
- Managing your contacts and leads
- Preparing, sending, and following up on quotes/proposals
- Engaging with clients on a regular basis
- Maintaining your website and social media
- Recruiting, training, and managing your employees
- Choosing contractors and overseeing their work
- Getting people paid – accurately and on time
- Prioritizing your own time between billable and nonbillable activities
By focusing on these standard processes, you will begin to establish a solid operational foundation for your small business. You’ll find that your business runs much more smoothly and efficiently. And you’ll discover more freedom to do the work you’re most passionate about and to grow your company to the next level.
Get in touch to schedule a one-on-one consultation to establish or improve any of your operations processes.