One of the core operational challenges in a business is consistency. No matter if it’s an online business or old fashioned brick-and-mortar, do your clients know what to expect, and have confidence that their expectations will be met? Consistency in your business depends on two things: people and process.
One of the biggest struggles with any business as it grows is the ability to transform tribal knowledge into repeatable processes. A combination of checklists, simple step-by-step guides and templates. Even airline pilots with thousands of hours of experience use a checklist before takeoff. Why? Because a written form of steps and procedures is far more accurate and reliable than human memory could ever be.
Of course, the key is to ensure consistency with minimal effort. Something as simple as a checklist with specified times and duties can help eliminate guesswork and streamline experiences for both your employees and customers. A step-by-step guide – or recipe – allows tasks to be performed and product to be made that closely conforms to existing standards. In business, an inconsistent outcome is often an inefficient one. Anything consistently repeated should have a template, and daily operational reports measure the health of the business by focusing on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Continuous improvement is needed in every area of business in order to remain competitive, but be mindful that constant change can defeat the purpose of repeatability. Test your solutions before fully implementing them, and ask “what went wrong, and why?” every time something doesn’t pan out. Start with something that is very repetitive and causing a problem with your operation. Think of what category it fits into and get it done. A simple checklist, guide or template can save you money and reduce time spent reworking details and improving consistency. With consistency, it is easier to fix the process instead of blaming the person. If it isn’t in the process and can negatively impact your business, fix it today!