It seems I have had a lot of discussions lately on businesses struggling in todays market. When I refer to struggling Im not referring to a low demand aspect but from doing very well dealing with high demand for the respective products or services. So the question is; why is that bad? It seems many small businesses are doing well and while not necessarily growing and expanding, able to gain enough demand to put them at near to full capacity. While this is good from sales perspectives, not keeping up with necessary tracking and other administrative requirements such as invoicing and accounts payable, is extremely detrimental to the future of the organization as a whole. When businesses gain momentum within the production or service output due to increased sales, it is easy for what may seem like lower priority details to fall by the wayside. Prioritization becomes more about simply providing the required end product or service to the customer in lieu of maintaining internal processes. It is easy to understand this prioritization due to the experience in a recent decline in economic factors causing business leaders to make hard decisions regarding the future of the organization. It is also more pronounced if solid and sound business processes are not in place and adhered to.
Organizations gaining momentum and reaching a level of high output can have a tendency to leave key administrative functions behind
such as timely invoicing, paying bills, maintaining supplies etc. If there exists good Business processes, they will not only keep the organization functioning in slow times, but also high demand times. If you have mounds of paperwork building up on desks and tables around the office figuring youll get to it when things slow down, you could be losing out on a large amount of potential revenue. This is especially true if youre behind on invoicing. If invoices dont get sent out in a timely manner, not only is the incoming revenue greatly lagging behind but so is the potential to interact with your customers on an up to date perspective. It is harder on the customer to invoice for work performed and completed a month or so ago. In some cases, your aged invoice may be a shock to their financial system if their tracking is lacking the same as yours. Another important aspect such as data entry to monitor defined activities is highly important during those times what the organization is running close to or at full capacity. This is when product flow or service activity transitions are challenged and tested against quality, consistency, and performance. This is also when the data can uncover inefficiencies and ineffectiveness within operations which can potentially save time and money.
It is easy to understand how a small business can quickly get behind on administrative tasks and requirements. Considering many small businesses which only have a few leadership positions, and most of them are hands on positions as well, it becomes hard to keep up when the work load dictates customer service or product output is more important. Hiring new staff for what could be a relatively short burst of capacity requirements is not necessarily good business either. It is also tough for some business owners to trust an outsider to step in even if only for a short duration, to assist. The important question to consider however, is what happens if the increased requirements continue, and the hole gets deeper? Keeping data collection and invoicing up to date is important in maintaining a successful business. If it has been several months of high capacity or volume, the backlog becomes exponentially increased making it even harder to catch back up down the road. The cost of leaving important aspects of the organization unfocused is quite simply lost potential and an increase in total bottom line costs. Knowing when to pull in help can be difficult and trust can be hard to give up, but if diligence is given to the organization or person you are seeking for help, the payoff can be very quick and good for the organization as a whole.
If youre in this situation where your business is picking up, and you are starting to feel overwhelmed at the mounds of administrative work piling up, it is imperative to consider getting help. Short term help can come from any different areas. Many companies can provide short term assistance to help with data entry or information logging as well as invoicing. While bringing a temporary staff member up to speed with your process or system, may require some of your time in the short term, in the long term it can potentially keep the rest of the organizational structure on track. In other cases, it may pay to bring in someone who knows how a business should or can be managed and let them asses where you are at and to gain basic knowledge. They then, can even bring the temporary resource up to speed for you while the leadership continues to manage day to day operations. Remember, if you cannot keep your data up to date and invoicing to your customers timely, youre are quite simply losing money as well as putting the overall business at a higher constraint for future investment and growth. It is imperative to keep the organization structurally sound and up to date no matter how busy things get. If youre a hands on type person running an organization that requires your hands to be on, it is important to initiate help before the situation gets completely out of hand. It will quite simply pay off in the long run
and that is good business.
O.M.E.M., LLC – Helping Businesses Improve