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How Systems Facilitate Business Growth

A business can be viewed as a collection of inter-related systems. And the creation and management of those systems is the process of building a business.

Why Systems Are Critical to Business Growth

Systems are the only way to build a sustainable business and here is why:

  1. Systems are predictable
  2. Systems allow for delegation
  3. Systems can be measured
  4. Systems can be improved
  5. Systems can be scaled
  6. Systems can be automated
  7. Systems create a business that you can sell

Let’s look at these concepts in more detail and see how they fit together.

1. Systems are predictable

If you have systems in place you know what’s going on inside your business. Without systems all you have is chaos and you’re reacting on a daily basis to what’s happening in your environment.

This predictability also means that your customers or clients know what they are going to get from your business. You can repeat your product or service delivery again and again and again. This builds trust with your customers and encourages them to keep coming back for more.

2. Systems allow for delegation

With systems, you can train other people to operate them. Delegation allows you, the manager or business owner, to focus on the whole business. This gives you an opportunity to plan for the future, or discover new opportunities etc.

Without delegation you only have so many hours in a day to deliver value.

3. Systems can be measured

When you have a system in place, you now have an opportunity to measure what’s happening. For instance, how long does a task take to complete on average, how many leads did our advertising campaign generate and what did it cost to produce this unit, etc.

4. Systems can be improved

What you can measure, you can improve. How might this be useful? Well there are only a few basic ways to improve your business profits. Reduce your costs. Become more efficient at what you do. Charge more. This is an important way in which systems can help in the running of your business.

5. Systems can be scaled

With business systems, you can scale them to suit the changing needs of your market demand and environment. Which leads us on to point six.

6. Systems can be automated

Once a system has been designed, measured and operated for some time, you may have an opportunity to automate it. And automation is often a way of reducing costs, improving operational efficiency and creating predictability (see point one above).

7. Systems create a business that you can sell

If you are a business owner and you may at some point in the future want to sell your business, it has to be based on systems. Why? Well, if it isn’t based on systems all you are selling is a job. And why would someone want to buy your job?

How to Prevent Your Web Business From Melting Into Oblivion

One day, over 700,000 websites went crashing down, rendered completely inactive, all because of a serious and deliberate attack on the entire InMotion Hosting company. What seems to have happened is hackers copied over the index.php in many directories (public_html, wp-admin), deleted the my images directory and added index.php files where they weren’t needed. Many of these 700,000 websites represented the day-to-day livelihood of many of InMotion’s hosting clients. For sure, there would have been a number of business owners who would have closed or shut down because of what happened.

Now, if these affected online business owners had a backup of their website, they could then upload their index.php files to correct this problem, which they’ll have to do for each directory. If their site used an index.HTML or index.htm, they will need to upload those files, then delete the index.php.

I don’t really know how many did keep a backup of their website (if you personally haven’t, please do, today!), but I do know this; if my entire online business crumbled today, went into meltdown, I’d be up and running and making profits in a fairly short period of time. All because of a couple of very important things.

1. I have secure backups of all websites.

2. I have all customer names, both email and postal addresses, stored in a secure place, both electronic copies and manual copies.

The fact is if the customer names are intact, I can be up and running and in business tomorrow, and run it from a space as confined as a phone box. And I mean that quite literally. All I need is a laptop and a small amount of space to work from. The key is having access to all customer files. So, the first thing I would do to create a little momentum and activity by creating a simple direct mail promotion to send to my customers.

Now in addition to having access to your important customer files, the other essential thing is in ensuring you have a back-up storage of all your customers’ details, which must be kept in an external, remote place (not merely stored electronically). Doing this is the most valuable thing you can do because your customers are, quite literally, your entire business. Lose them and you’ll have to start all over again. But you can avoid that pain, frustration and heartache by simply ensuring you have your customer files, their records, their complete details backed up and stored in a safe, remote, external place.

When the World Trade Centre Towers were destroyed, the businesses that were able to pick up the pieces from the obvious devastation were those business who kept their customer data files intact. And that was the key because when the time was right, they were able to communicate to their customers and clients in order to start the business wheels churning again. And that’s despite the fact that their buildings and offices were sent crashing to the ground.

If it wasn’t clear before, it should be very evident to you now that the majority of a business’ wealth, value and future income is stored in their customers and clients. They are the biggest assets a business has.

In fact, because I started my business activities via direct mail, well before the Internet really took off, I have to say that I probably have an unfair advantage in knowing the true value of my customer/client names and of the absolute necessity of keeping my customer records safe, in order, and secure.

Now if you haven’t yet done so, please ensure you do the following two things, today.

1. Back up all your website files, images, directories.

2. Transfer your entire customer’s details, records, etc. onto a spread sheet – maybe using something like Microsoft Excel – and then print everything out and store it in a physical folder. Then lock this safely inside a filing cabinet or drawer.

If you do these two things and treat them as a matter of high importance, and whether you continue to carry them out every week or every 10 days (or sooner if you have a high level of activity in your business) then you’ll find that even if your online business was to go into meltdown today, you will be up and running and ‘in business’ again tomorrow.

Having a successful online business is like no other business on the planet. I wouldn’t swap it for any other kind of business, ever. However, I am fully aware that the most precious asset I have are my customers. If I neglect them, I’d be a serious candidate for the bankruptcy courts!

So whatever you do, keep your customer records safe and secure.

3 Tips for Great Business Writing

Business writing has evolved tremendously over the last couple of decades. Many factors have contributed to this slow but steady metamorphosis – language has changed as more ‘slang’ enters mainstream vocabulary; the business landscape has become faster and more efficient, requiring communication to be just as fast and efficient; with the advent of digital technology and personal devices, people’s attention span has been in a steady decline requiring writing to be more concise and to the point, etc. Those are just a few of many changes that have influenced modern day business writing. In this article we will look at three particular steps that helps to make business writing efficient but also help it meet the demands of the modern day executive or company:

  1. Less is More: This old adage, previously applicable mostly to the cuisine or hospitality industry, is now becoming more relevant to the business world in general and technology world in particular. A study conducted by news magazines and online watch groups revealed that people spend far less time reading today than the average person did even 20 years ago. And it is not because there isn’t adequate information out there but the average person’s attention span has diminished radically since then. Experts attribute this to the ‘information at a click’ syndrome, largely perpetuated by the Internet that has served to instantly ‘gratify’ people without the hard work of research or browsing. As such modern print and electronic media have taken efforts to cut the average article down from couple of thousand words to a few hundred, to accommodate the declining attention span of modern society.
  2. Action Plan: Business writing must not merely give a set of information and expect the reader to make up his or her own opinion. Especially in the business world it is important to state clearly what the plans and expectations are and emphasize a call for action. Tons of information laid out awkwardly with a lingering silence of expectation causes readers to feel uncomfortable with the ambiguity or vagueness of the situation. Clear distinct plans and procedures are more helpful and foster better confidence and efficiency in the execution of the plan. This can also manifest differently by offering too many choices. Numerous alternatives or options can only cultivate more uncertainty and delay in decision-making. This is the exact opposite result of what is required.
  3. Reader-Centric: At the heart of business writing is understanding, not only what needs to be conveyed to the reader, but also what is really relevant or applicable to the reader. Readers are not satisfied with mere data but are looking for the practical effects it can foster for them. Often there is the temptation to ‘hose’ someone down with tons of data and information but what the reader really cares about is exactly how all that data affects him or her. A non-computer savvy person could care less about the fact that a laptop may run a 64 bit processor or have 1080p high definition resolution. But they are really interested in the fact that the laptop will run much faster than their previous one or that it’s display will look absolutely gorgeous compared to standard laptops on the market.

Business Writing Training is an important tool that helps equip employees to maintain certain specific standards or benchmarks of professional writing that is considered standard fare in the business world. Companies spend large amounts of money to help their employees improve in this area.