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We present to you a visual representation of last week's blog post on raising the bar with your practical processes at your small business. If you
have any questions, email email@example.com
Operations Management, Sales & Marketing, Financial Management and Talent Management are the four practical processes your business needs to establish
from the beginning. See above for how these apply to your company and email firstname.lastname@example.org if we can help you in any way.
In any Small Business, there is a prevalent set of business processes that must exist for a strong foundation. These practical processes provide more than a set of rules for you and your employees, but help create and solidify the consistency, efficiency and innovation of your company.
Here are four essential examples.
1) Of course the goal of a business is to make money; therefore, you need a strong process for your Financial Management. The size of your small business/solo venture will determine how extensive this will need to be. Take the initial steps of setting up a company
bank account, ordering a company credit card, choosing your bookkeeping software, creating a budget and documenting your financial procedures.
Using the right technology combined with the right professionals allows you to automate this process for the most accurate results, and knowing
the amount of assets, liabilities and equity your company has equips you to make smarter financial decisions.
2) In order to keep the cash flowing, every business needs to utilize a Sales & Marketing process
to keep their name in front of potential clients/customers and service then in good standing. Develop your brand through a mix of traditional approaches
and digital practices with a decidedly personal touch; your customers and clients want to know that they matter and that the information you provide
benefits them beyond the product or service. For sales, create and maintain a schedule of measurable objectives, goals, benchmarks and checkpoints
along with specific procedures for documenting new and current clients. However, give yourself and your sales staff the flexibility to adjust the
process if something isn’t working.
3) At some point even the solopreneur will find the need for outside help, and for those small businesses that rely on employees, a proficient
process for dealing with Talent Management will help ensure
less problems. If you haven’t already, create an employee handbook and//or specific orientation process for every new hire. Provide opportunities
for professional development and training as often as you can, so that all team members feel invested in the company, no matter how small or large
their role actually is. Have weekly, monthly or quarterly “all-staff” meetings as well as an open door policy for feedback and evaluations. Many
employees desire to know how they are performing in their position, but often feel too afraid to ask.
4) Finally, your company must have an exhaustive Operations Management process that makes everything flow together, bringing all of the above into your products, the who, what, when and even why to your business. Establish essential daily operation policies for employee benefits and sick leave/vacation time, create company objectives and select and cultivate healthy relationships with your vendors. If need be, hire a reliable, coachable and client-oriented operations manager.
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Financial Management is an important Practical Process that should not be treated as an afterthought. You should never be haphazard in your planning and strategies because one major error in accounting or sales can deeply impact your company’s past, present or future.
Here are some important facts you should consider for keeping your company financial healthy.
1) Have a specific bank account for your business only
2) Have a one specific credit card for the business only
3) Have a designated software for financial record keeping, i.e., Quickbooks, Freshbooks, etc.
4) Have a designated financial point person. If this is not your avenue of expertise, hire a reliable trustworthy person to assist in this arena.
5) Have a documented financial process in place
6) Have a system for filing financial paperwork
7) Have a budget – this is a crucial step in the planning
Look out for part two of this series later this month.
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As a business owner, you want to be thoroughly involved with shaping the mission of your company as well as the team members who have joined you. However, you may eventually reach a point where you begin stretching yourself too thin and need someone else to handle daily operations. Here are a few qualities to look for when seeking out a manager that will help drive your vision and team forward.
The manager communicates effectively with the team, and in turn, the team trusts the manager - Communication and trust represent two of the most important aspects of any relationship and are incredibly crucial in a business setting. Your manager should be able to articulate expectations, objectives, and measurable goals in a way that motivates your team to perform beyond their potential. If the communication is open and effective, the team will be able to put their trust in that manager and work alongside them to create the best results possible.
The manager stays organized and calm in any situation - Sure, we all lose our cool sometimes, but the manager of your business should have a high enough emotional intelligence to where they do not explode or break down in a stressful environment. Your team looks to the manager for leadership and guidance; they do not want to see their leader crumble. Also, the manager must plan ahead for any and projects and meetings. Nothing strikes fear in the heart of a client or customer like a team who is not prepared to address their needs.
The manager cares about the customers and/or clients they are assisting - The last thing you want in a manager is disinterest or apathy towards the people who ultimately hold your livelihood in their hands. You want a manager who inspires to team members to go beyond what is expected in customer relationships. The manager should be a superb example of service and hospitality. Accepting anything less is detrimental to your team and your business.
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Before focusing on elements such as sales & marketing, financial management and talent management and then delegating tasks to those specific departments, a small business owner must understand why an operations manager is so crucial. Operations management sets the tone for the day-to-day tasks necessary for a successful company.
Here are three ways describing how an operations manager is the heartbeat of your small business:
1) Selecting and cultivating relationships with your vendors - No matter how small or large your operation, you will need to contract vendors for office supplies or product distribution. An operations manager will provide you the template for seeking out and using certain vendors, whether that is the schedule for deliveries, certain contact persons or price points for different products.
2. Establishing daily procedures for employees - Your policies and procedure manuals are essential to providing structure within your team. Click HERE for a list of items you should include. The procedures developed by your operations manager can help solidify the practical processes for new hire training, team member absences and more.
3. Creating company objectives - Before releasing your sales and marketing teams out into the world, you must first provide them a series of company-related goals to meet. These team members look to your guidance to provide them with a mission that permeates all their efforts. Your operations manager can help clarify what is needed for the next month, six month or 1-year period.
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If you’re the owner of a small business, chances are you manage a team of talented, but sometimes very different, people. You want everyone to succeed, but you also want to establish the way in which you encourage this success.
Here are a few management styles that you can use for your team.
1) Authoritative - Depending on the industry in which you and your team work, sometimes you need to be more strict as a leader to make sure your company's tasks are accomplished. You provide clear instructions to make sure every team member understands their part and the best way to succeed in their role. Your assignments have firm deadlines that allow the business to run efficiently.
2) Coaching - You focus on measurable goals for each team member and personally meet with them to discuss how to accomplish work-related tasks and to grow in their role at the company. When discussing mistakes and concerns, you try to acknowledge the consequences of the team member's actions, but also find a way to implement constructive criticism and positive reinforcement.
3) Collaborative - You enjoy hearing feedback and ideas from the people on your team. Your internal meetings focus heavily on brainstorming strategic endeavors to best reach your customers or clients. You try to offer as many opportunities as possible for innovation while still keeping all parties on task and moving the business forward.
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As job satisfaction and career/life balance becomes increasingly important to the modern workforce, today's business owners must be aware of their team members' needs and objectives. The onboarding process represents a significant step for new hires that helps determine their view of their tenure with the company.
Here are five reasons why the onboarding process is so crucial:
1) Expedited Paperwork Processing - It's a part of every job. Forms for taxes, insurance, company policies and other miscellaneous documents are stacked in front of every new hire, taking up valuable time away from that first few hours on the job. With all of the technological advances, software and apps, you can find a way to take care of these forms well before the new team member walks through the door.
2) Early Rapport Building with Team - No matter how jobs we have throughout our career, meeting people can be difficult. If possible, surround your new hire with team members in their department as early as you can. Allow an open environment for any kind of questions and give plenty of shadowing opportunities to make sure that the new hires learn how to do things the proper way. You can also create a FAQ document with questions and answers submitted by current team members. Making these new hires comfortable with their team in the onboarding process will help them succeed when they start the actual work.
3) An Initial Sense of Ownership - Speaking of the actual work, your company's onboarding process allows you to communicate tangible goals, objectives and responsibilities to the new hire. Explaining the mission of your business and how their role impacts the overall picture can help new hires experience a sense of ownership before they even begin their tasks.
4) Reinforcement of Business Mission for Other Team Members - By encouraging this sense of rapport between new hires and current team members in the onboarding process, you can help reemphasize your values and mission throughout the company. This new energy can even lead to innovation in current and future projects.
5) Higher Retention Rate - Most businesses have a probationary period of three to six months to determine if the company and new hire are the right fit. Using a structured onboarding process to engage the new hire from the very beginning can help ensure a higher chance of retention those first few months and beyond.
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Whether your team numbers two or twenty, developing practical processes for your business ensures the ability to maintain productivity in the different components of your company. Here are a few areas that need these practical processes:
1) Operations - Your day-to-day management makes up the foundation for both the spontaneous and routine aspects of your business. You can establish stability in your operations through a policies and procedures manual for all team members, the selection of your suppliers and vendors, and important checklists for your administrative and executive assistants.
2) Marketing and Sales - These areas of your business bring new life to your company as well as maintain the brand and voice of your objectives. Be sure to assign goals to your sales team, so they can hit measurable results of acquiring new customers and clients. Provide a branding guide for your marketing team that keeps the delivery of your products professional and consistent.
3) Finances - As worrisome as money can make people, you cannot ignore its significance in the maintenance and growth of your business. Find consistent, practical processes to document and manage your revenue and cash flow. You do not want to mix up or lose important financial records, especially when tax season comes along.
4) Talent - Unless you're a solopreneur, you rely on your team to accomplish the totality of your company goals. If you want your team members and leaders to reach their full potential for your business, invest heavily in initial training and professional development.
After creating these practical processes, remember to evaluate them from time to time. You want your company to grow, so be willing to innovate when necessary.