As you know we are a country of very small businesses. Not in terms of turnover, rather in the staffing and the level of control the business owner has.
Last week I wrote about Des and Tracey of Mouldem Graphics.
• On one hand they clever use of technology that has saved the equivalent of one staff member, as well as lowering other operating costs.
• Adopted the cloud way of doing things
• Mobility. His office is in his hands.
• Lower cost of operating. For example having worldwide Skype telephone numbers that are forwarded to his mobile phone and answered via VoIP (voice over the internet)
• Fewer fixed assets
• Immediate response
• NZ/AUS has access to all documents.
After our long conversation about how they operate their business, I asked Des: ' What would happen if something happened to you?' Standard insurance broker question. However very appropriate here. His partner Tracey interjected 'He's insured to the max'.
But my question is valid. And being insured to the max is a short term answer.
Like so many business people I meet, Des is married to his business. No matter how much he 'loves' his business - it is all consuming and one of the by-products of his clever use of technology and less staffing, is the volume of work that falls on his shoulders.
The other risk or should I say pitfall is that by being so consumed by the everyday of running the business, it almost surely hinders the future performance of the business in two ways.
First - the business owner should be focused on developing relationships, strategic planning and frankly living more of a life one loves, free time, holidays the like.
Second - by having everything in one's head rather than documented processes and procedures that a new owner can walk into, you put a big dent in succession planning - the future value of your business. The goodwill component of your business will be lower than similar companies with full documentation.
My advice, rightly or wrongly is this:
1. Take time away from the business and list every single thing that is done in the business: administration, operations, customer services, sales.
2. Then element by element - document all procedures and the way it's done. Take it from one's head to electronic form.
3. List all the jobs that the owner does
4. Go through them one by one and keep only the ones that fulfil the three 'PPP's'. It's either the most pleasurable, passionate or profitable use of your time.
What do you think?