I am a big fan of minimizing work whenever possible. I have seen many small businesses internally create all their processes from scratch. From experience, I know that it takes years to refine processes to where you would be achieving maximum productivity from all your employees. An easier way is to learn how your successful counterparts in the industry are achieving these. As I noted earlier, trade organizations have hundreds of members outside of your market area who are happy to talk to you about the ways they conduct business. In many cases, they will invite you to visit so you can see how they are achieved. Franchisors and licensors are other examples of pools of strong networks that can help you with your efficiencies. The great thing about this, the most successful are generally the most willing to help you. There may be a little ego involved in this fact, but truthfully, the ones who are “hitting it out of the ballpark” from an efficiency standpoint are the ones who have the most time available to meet with you.
I mentioned earlier my experience with trade organizations has been extremely positive. During my years in the office products industry, we visited several dealerships to pick up ideas on how they perform certain processes. Many times, we were able to come back and successfully implement procedures we had learned. We also obtained countless ideas from presentations at our yearly trade organization and software user group meetings. In fact, we completely overhauled our administration/accounting department based upon ideas we got from the most successful dealers. This resulted in an amazing increase in the efficiency of our department.