The 7 Habits of Highly Chilled Small Business owners
This is the fifth article in a monthly series on small business owners I have met or worked with over the years who developed beautiful successful businesses.
Stories of successful real business owners
Systems: In 35 years of doing business and working with some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met, I’ve learned a very important lesson: Success in small business starts by building great habits. I call these practices the “7 Highly Chilled Habits” and I find they’re best illustrated with the stories of real business owners who I happen to have had the pleasure of coaching.
The articles are based on my E-book, The 7 Habits of Highly Chilled Small Business Owners. All of my books and other resources are available for free here
Highly Chilled Business Owners are Systematic
In order to build a Highly Chilled business, you must always be on the prowl for parts of your processes that can be turned into repeatable systems
BTW, You can read up on Chilled habit #1: Be dependable here
- Read habit #2: Be Specific here
- Read habit #3: Be On Top of the numbers here
- Read habit #4: Be Thrifty here
- Read habit #5: Be Clear here
- Read habit #6: Be Careful here
If McDonald’s Did Flowers
Amanda sells bunches of flowers. It’s a simple concept, but she manages the process in a way that no one else thought of before she came along. Amanda wants her business to be the McDonald’s of floristry with systems: keeping repeatability, dependability, expandability, speed, convenience and price at the heart of what she delivers.
In order to achieve this, Amanda has had to invent her whole business model and production process from scratch. It had never been done before in her industry because, as is the case with restaurants and chefs, the success of a floristry business relies on the creative vision and genius of the florist. Besides, flowers are natural products and one night’s unexpected frost can leave said creative vision in tatters.
Be Analytical, Like Amanda
In Amanda’s business, a limited number of different bunches of flowers are created and produced in large quantities every day, 7 days a week.
The composition of each one is determined by the market purchaser on the day.
The purchaser makes decisions dependent on that early morning’s availability and market prices.
Getting the day’s bunches right was historically a hit and miss affair – and something that gave Amanda sleepless nights.
So, Amanda set about systemising the bunch design process. She created a database of every bunch produced through a whole year. By the end of the year, there were 400 bunches recorded in the database.
Each record held photos of the completed product, a list of the components, the cost of the ingredients, the total cost of the bunch and the time taken to create each one. The bunch records were further categorised by month, by the person who created it and its popularity with customers.
Systems make it easy
A year later, Amanda can send her purchaser to the day’s markets with simple instructions relevant to the season and state of the markets. All the purchaser has to do is pull out a tablet with the records of previous bunches from the same season and compare what’s in stock at the right price that day. The result? Making precisely the right flower purchases for that day’s production.
That’s what systemisation is all about, taking the guess work out of an operation and standardising. What was previously a hit and miss affair has become one of the simplest aspects of Amanda’s business.
That’s because even something as creative and dependent on external factors as flowers can benefit from systemisation. Many times, you might have to imagine your own systemised solution to a problem. However, getting into the habit of looking for opportunities to systemise your business is what will turn an ordinary business into a Highly Chilled one.
Amanda’s is a Highly Chilled business and Amanda is a Highly Chilled small business owner.
Your homework (the chilled kind)
Here’s a short exercise you could carry out to start the process of making this habit your own.
Practice Highly Chilled habit #7:
Your business consists of many, many processes (from answering the telephone and sending invoices to building the products and delivering the services you sell). Start by creating a list with as many repeating processes as you can think of in your business. Now, go and pick the low hanging fruit first.
Ask yourself: What’s the easiest process to create a simple system for? What’s the next low hanging fruit?
Don’t panic. You don’t need to tick them all off at once. Just do this exercise once a week or even once a month – but do get started this week! And remember, building a Highly Chilled business isn’t rocket science. All it takes is baby steps, time and consistency. Keep at it and you’ll be surprised by how different your business and life will look.
Next, you might like to carry out my business owners self assessment survey, I’m sure it will give you some food for thought.
Quality, Systems and the 7 Big Questions of Small Business
Business owners frequently ask 7 Big Questions about how to Build a Beautiful Business and Life.
The first of these Big Questions is: How do I grow my business?
To answer that question I have identified the 11 most important strategies to create Business Growth.
The eighth of those strategies is Grow your business with Systems. This article and others on this site, explains how Quality, Systems and Growth hang together, in some depth.