If it works, write it down – chances are you'll need to remember how you did that at a later date. In fact, why not write everything down, every function of your business. If your business follows a set of systems, it's likely to be highly organised and offer consistent service.
Various commentators have suggested the most successful way to run a business is to write everything down and develop the system as if the business was a franchise.
For a franchise business to be successful, it has to be replicated in many different locations and possibly different countries. The only way for that to work is if the business has been systemised. This means that for each and every function of the business there is an explanation of, or a system for, how the function is
carried out, for example, the way your staff answer the phone, take messages, give quotes, make a sale and so on.
This system is then followed step-by-step by anybody who has responsibility for that function. For example, when we go into a McDonalds restaurant in Paris we would expect to receive the same service and the same food as a McDonalds restaurant in Wellington. Every function in that business – down to how the meat patties are cooked – has a system.
Franchise businesses, like McDonalds, have seen phenomenal success over the last 35 years and one of the key ingredients in that success would appear to be the preparation and implementation of systems.
Unfortunately though, many small to medium-sized businesses do not follow the franchise lead. In most cases they have no written system in place at all and often lack the discipline of the franchised systems.
Take a look at your own business. What happens when you go on holiday or you employ new people? Can it continue to run without missing a beat? While you might be intimately familiar with every function of your business you can't expect the same from everyone else. But if there is a system outlining how everything is done, you might be able to take that much needed break and you won't even be missed – that's what you're aiming for.
One of the key messages to come out of franchising is that what you do is not nearly as important as doing what you do the same way each and every time. If it's written down, new staff members should be able to pick up the task and complete it in a consistent manner.