My husband and I were enjoying our dinner one night as we discussed various plans and ideas. I shared that I wanted to submit articles and ads to a large number of ezines to market my ezine in a big way, and wanted your help to make it happen. His response stopped me in my tracks: “Can your systems handle the increased demand?”

I know my online systems and processes are capable of handling significant volumes of transactions on a daily basis, but there are still a couple of manual processes that aren’t as seamless as they could be and at times may not create the best experience. With current demand, I can tolerate these manual processes and get by easily, but the additional demand I expect from my marketing efforts will make these tolerances very quickly intolerable. If I had gone ahead without changing and expanding my systems first, I would have risked some very important things: the loyalty of my new customers and my sanity!

I seem to be frequently in this tug-of-war situation. The need to establish the correct system configuration conflicts with the search for opportunities. With my strategic sense, I can see several steps ahead. I often get very excited about those steps and can’t wait to make the leap before it’s time.

I see this as a challenge for both large and small companies. I believe the ones that are successful plan their operations and put the right systems in place to properly manage the highest demand loads. The key is to take firm and strategic steps forward: you must learn to walk before you can run. All businesses need a solid foundation or business operations platform so that they can easily handle increased business needs and growth while serving customers well. This is essential. Otherwise, the business owner can easily get overwhelmed.

Top ten qualities that allow business operations to grow easily:

1. Scalable: Operations are scalable and easily handle exponential and sudden demand.

2. Designed to create great customer experiences (while meeting business needs): Operations provide a consistent and repeatable level of service that serves the customer every time.

3. Seamless Flow: Efficient operations allow all transactions to flow through the business effortlessly, with minimal manual effort or intervention where manual effort only occurs when it makes good strategic sense.

4. Professional Appearance – Operations help you present a professional face to the customer at all times.

5. Simple – Processes are simple and straightforward for both you and your customers. They are simple to use, simple to maintain, and simple to run. Everything is done quickly and efficiently.

6. Proven – Operational processes are tested and produce repeatable successful results.

7. Backup – Operating systems are always backed up and backup is also backed up.

8. Documented – All processes are documented, including customer experiences as well as team member roles and goals.

9. Understood: The entire team knows and understands the operating procedures and suggests continuous improvements.

10. Improved: Improvements are discovered proactively through close observation of customer experiences, as well as through direct customer feedback. Adjustments to improve the customer experience are added quickly and easily.

I believe that these ten qualities can be applied to any operation, at work or at home. Examples in the home include but are not limited to meal preparation, house keeping, and paying bills.

Copyright 2004 Donna P. Lendzyk

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