In my view it is always worth researching any significant change in your business.
Do not fall into traps when you are at the “don’t know what you don’t know” stage. It is often worth investing in some good advice early on to minimise the chance you are not only “looking at the right tree within the forest” but also “in the right forest!”.
For example: Your business might have several of the following elements, and you might be wondering that the best way to get it all done the most efficiently.
- A receptionist who takes calls, writes down orders and enters them onto a job sheet
- Field staff purchasing on the run just using a job address for reference
- Contacts and sales from a website that come through as email messages and are acted on manually
- A spreadsheet for working out quotes
- A mailing list in MailChimp that gets added to from your web form and also from Xero.
- An ops manager who has a big diary that everything is written into
- No organised follow up on quotes or lost business
An expert overview can:
- Identify how you can better use the systems you already have. E.g. Using Tracking or Billable Expenses in Xero.
- Identify where it is most efficient to which processes. E.g. Use your Job Management system for Purchase Orders rather than Xero.
- Identify if you would benefit from new software, and now it would work with your current systems.
Once you have done your research and you know which tools you are going to use and how the system is going to be changed it’s time to plan how to get it happening.
There is no way around the truth that getting stuff done takes either Time or Money.
Choose where you will spend your time and money wisely:
- Work to your and your teams’ strengths.
- Don’t try to do stuff that will take you 10 times as long to learn as someone else who knows it.
- Do your best to get a solid overview of changes as well as specialist advice for individual parts where required.
Consider the natural cycles of your business to decide when to implement. As well as the time of year and peak periods, also consider if bigger changes are coming up like moving premises, change of ownership or a sale on the horizon.
Be aware that once you start planning for change there is a good chance this will bring other potential areas of change to your attention.
Stay focussed. Recognise it’ unlikely you will solve all your issues at once and aim for the top 2-3 major issues that need to change. These issues could be about getting better information for decision making in your business, or reducing errors and manual processes, or being able to provide a better customer journey experience.
Get the right help and recognise you will go through a temporary period of more work, more learning and more stress.
Look both inside and outside your organisation for resources you can rely on to get you through. This could include beefing up staff resources as well as temporary support from relatives, Temps, and outside experts. There are also some very effective outsourcing agencies, from providers like www.Upwork.com through to agencies like www.taskseveryday.com.
Consider the culture of your business and what needs to happen so that staff are engaged and on board with upcoming changes. Engaging staff early may uncover hidden talents and you may discover your champion who can lead the change for you and positively influence change in others.
Do not underestimate the power of a positive culture ready to embrace change!
Recognise the hump!
Recognise the extra time it takes to learn new things.
It’s not just doing it the new way, it’s the mental stress of having to learn a new way to do things. Not just for you, but everyone in the team affected. Accept you might be duplicating work short term if you need to run two systems together for testing purposes.
However, if you have planned and tested thoroughly, the implementation can be the simplest part of the journey.
Once processes are settled, take the time to celebrate and review.
There is a good chance you might find yourself almost immediately looking to the next step for change. This may happen because when new systems are put in place, this often brings to light other aspects of your business that had just not been noticed before. For example, when you start using a good Job Management system you might think about doing something with all the contacts you collect to do quotes for that you don’t win. This is a great sign, but don’t let it deflect from what you have already achieved!
Change is a Constant. We never get away from it, it’s always there and the challenge is to embrace and enjoy it.