A system is a set of principles or procedures that specify how particular tasks are done, and that trained team members can replicate without you.
As your company grows it’s not possible to keep your finger in every pie. In order to build a successful business, you need to introduce systems and processes that can be automated as much as possible.
Good system’s implemented properly, should not only guarantee that your customers are receiving a consistent level of service, they will also enable your business to operate more smoothly and profitably. As we say at ActionCOACH – People run your systems, systems run your business!
Some key systems you will need to build as your company becomes more sophisticated include everything from the simple daily office operation systems (e.g. how the phone is answered), to your sales process, customer support systems, inventory systems, invoicing and accountancy processes, recruitment, training and appraisal systems, among others.
In order to help you get started, there are 4 basic steps to systemisation:
1. Flowchart your processes
The basic rule for systemising is ‘Systemise the routine – humanise the exception’. Make a list of all the things that are done in your business that are repetitive, or perhaps that a lower paid team member could be doing if it were systemised. Then flowchart each process. This will show you how it all fits together.
2. Document how it gets done
Ask the team member who is currently doing the job to write down every step in performing a task. This person then gets a different team member to complete the task following the process. If the person currently doing the task has to step in and explain anything to the new person then that information is added to the step, etc.
3. Manage & measure using Key Performance Indicators
There’s no point having a system in place if it’s not effective. Once you’ve set up a system, make sure you’re measuring the results as you go along. If people are still dropping the ball and you’ve got a system, it means there’s something wrong with the system, not with the person. Typically, your KPI’s will be the top five measures to show system performance. Get these from the person doing the job (i.e. in sales you could use number of leads, conversion rate, average euro sale etc.)
4. Allow the system to change/grow as your business changes and grows.
Ensure that each system is reliable, self-correcting and scaleable so as to allow it to evolve at the same pace that your business evolves.
Some final tips:
Don’t over complicate systems or people won’t follow them.
Use lots of photos, videos etc. This may be as simple as printing a computer screen or videoing someone doing the task at hand. This will make the systems much easier to follow.
Document your system in a policies and procedures or operations manual in an easy to access format. And make sure everyone has a copy or knows where it is! Require all of your team members to periodically review the manual with the goal of identifying needed changes on a timely and qualitative basis.
Communicate who is responsible for making any changes to policies and procedures.
If you would like more information on how to introduce systems into your business, or if you would like to avail of a complimentary Business Review with one of our top Coaches. This consultation will uncover ways to grow and improve your business.
Please fill in your details below and we will be in touch to arrange your appointment:
2017 has been a great year for Irish Businesses. Growth and success were very much the themes amongst the businesses who gathered to celebrate their achievements at the annual ActionCOACH Business Excellence Awards, on December 1st at The Gibson Hotel. Sectors including retail, property, manufacturing, service, hospitality and tourism were represented by companies in attendance.
The Irish economy is on the verge of a boom with growth of 7% in the last quarter and double digit growth predicted for 2018. If that is the measure of success then ActionCOACH clients are well ahead of the wider economy with an average of 66% increase in profitability, 19% increase in sales and a total of 56 new jobs created in 2017 alone.
With such a high performing group of companies, the winners of each award category reflected exceptional results.
Best Retail Business Award Winner:
Kevin Egan Car Sales, Sligo
In receiving the award Kevin dedicated it to his team that has undergone rapid growth in the last three years. In 2017 the Sligo based car sales company has been awarded a Peugeot dealership, and developed a best in class online showroom with 100% of their inventory available to view in a 360 degree preview.
Best B2B Service Business Winner:
DHKN Financial Services
DHKN Director Padraig Kelly described their phenomenal growth as being the result of working with their ActionCOACH Business Coach, John O’Sullivan to put systems in place that allow them to service their clients to the highest standards, whilst also achieving efficiencies to increase profitability.
Best B2C Service Business Winner:
Little Learners Montessori & Pre School
Nessa McNamara, owner of Little Learners Montessori & Pre-School paid tribute to her team who she described as being the best in the business and credited them for the huge year-on-year growth.
Best Property Service Business Winner:
DNG Michael Boland
Michael Boland thanked his business coach, Eddie Walsh for helping to give him the confidence to take his business in the direction he wants it to go in, and for helping him to systemise the business which amongst other benefits has allowed him more time to spend with his family.
Best Tourism / Hospitality Award Winner:
Vagabond Tours of Ireland
Vagabond owners Rob and Amy Rankin thanked their business coach, Jeanette Naughton who they described as an external advisor who has become part of their family in the five years they have been working with ActionCOACH. In an emotional acceptance speech they described her as always capable of posing a question to help them reach that next level in business, and as having impacted every element of their hugely successful business.
Best Wholesale Distribution Award Winner:
MK Plant & Machinery Sales
MK Plant & Machinery Sales have grown their business exponentially. In receiving their award Ian Munnelly and Ronan Kielty described how their business turned around as a result of their hard work and commitment under the guidance of their ActionCOACH Business Coach, Eddie Walsh. They credit this growth to applying a more strategic approach to their business planning and improving the actual structure of the business itself.
Best Community Impact – Job Creation Award Winner:
Kevin Egan Car Sales, Sligo
On presenting the award to Kevin Egan, ActionCOACH’s Jeannette Naughton described how Kevin is not only hiring staff but he has built a community who work hard together whilst having fun in pursuit of a common goal. Kevin accepted his second award of the night sharing how proud he is to be creating jobs for his local community, and that even though his team has been growing rapidly nobody has left the organisation, which he believes is a reflection of the engaged culture and positive working environment within the company.
Best Company Culture Team & Leadership Award Winner:
Thornton’s Chartered Surveyors
Darren Brennan director of Thornton’s Chartered Surveyors said that this award meant a lot to the business, describing how a growing team and management have worked together to growing the business to a point where they are creating jobs and operating at maximum capacity.
Best New Client Award Winner:
Baggot Street Wines
Accepting the award on behalf of Baggot Street Wines who couldn’t attend due to being at peak season, their business coach Rory Smyth described how they have grown both their sales and margins by maintaining a committed focus on their numbers.
ActionCOACH Ireland MD Paul Fagan closed the event by congratulating all businesses in attendance on their huge achievements throughout 2017. With lots of talk in the media of challenges in 2018 due to Brexit, skills shortages and the new General Data Protection Regulation’s (GDPR), Paul reminded everyone to focus on the opportunities that are ahead of us in 2018.
If you want to share in the success of these winning businesses and see what business coaching can do for your business, register below for a complimentary coaching session:
Research shows companies that seek external expert advice achieve a stepped change in their growth and performance. Yet many SMEs can still be reluctant to take the leap.
Paul Clarke, Financial Director and General Manager of TC Matthews Carpets, the largest independent carpeting and flooring retailer in Ireland shares his experience on how engaging an external Business Coach has helped galvanise their team, increase sales, and achieve real growth. Listen to Paul’s story below:
We hope you enjoyed listening to Paul’s experience. If you feel that your business could benefit from a fresh perspective, and you would like more information on how you could achieve similar results to TC Matthews, we would be delighted to speak with you.
Please take a moment to fill in your details below and we will be in touch:
Last week when listening to a feature on the cost of childcare in Ireland on Today FM’s Last Word with Matt Cooper, I was struck by the rather alarming findings from Early Childcare Ireland on the cost of doing business in the sector.
Their report states that the average childcare service in Ireland, whether private or community run, urban or rural, is operating on a break-even basis.
For those that do make a small profit, it’s usually too little to re-invest or provide good career opportunities for staff, making recruitment and retention of good team members a huge challenge.
Consider the additional external factors coming down the tracks such as an increase in minimum wage, increases in refuse costs, rents, rates and insurance, the task of building a sustainable, profitable childcare business may seem unachievable!
Making a Profit In Childcare
Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case. Just like any other type of business, you can build a very successful and profitable childcare business by implementing some small but significant changes to your business model, and introducing systems to measure the numbers.
Hear Nessa from Little Learners Success Story…
Case in point is one of our clients Nessa McNamara who established the award winning Little Learners Montessori & Pre-School in Drumcondra in September 2011.
Back then Little Learners was a preschool running for 3 hours a day, catering for children aged 3 – 5 years, with a maximum of 33 children.
Nessa’s business concept was an instant success. Parents loved her unique combination of a creative curriculum delivered through the Montessori method. The business strived to be a friend and support the family first. The business end of things came second as a result it struggled to keep it’s door open at the end of its first year.
Nessa sought help and funding from her local bank, and her AIB bank manager suggested she consider a Business Training and Coaching programme run by ActionCOACH. This course informed and opened Nessa’s eyes on how to structure a business without losing its essential charm.
Today Little Learners is starting into its seventh year, employs over 30 team members, has 3 locations and caters for over 380 families. Nessa has turned what she originally described as a ‘hobby’ business that was just covering the costs into a highly profitable enterprise that has won multiple awards, has a firm plan for the future and most importantly of all has not lost its heart.
Please take a moment to listen to Nessa’s success story in her own word’s in this short 1 minute video:
If you would like more information on how you could achieve similar results to Nessa, we would love to speak with you, so please take a moment to fill in your details below and we will be in touch:
On Friday, May 19th at the Radisson St Helen’s Hotel in Dublin the winners of the Irish Franchise Awards 2017 in association with AIB were announced.
The awards recognise excellence in franchising and reward the outstanding achievements of businesses and individuals in the franchise industry. 230 guests attended the black-tie gala event hosted by Newstalk’s Jonathan Healy.
The judging panel for the 2017 Irish Franchise Awards included Newstalk Business Presenter and former Irish Dragon Bobby Kerr; Greg Swift, head of enterprise at Dublin Local Enterprise Office; Michael Bradley, former CEO of the Irish Franchise Association and Elaine O Regan of the Sunday Business Post.
On the night, Paul Fagan, Director of ActionCOACH Business Coaching, was awarded Franchisee of the Year (Service) in recognition of the phenomenal results he and his team achieve with Irish businesses across the country through their professional Business & Executive Coaching, and Training services. Client results show year on year business improvements, 2015 to 2016, as follows: Profits up 227%; Sales up 19%; Employment up 27%.
Tom Shanahan (RIGHT)presenting the award for Franchisee of the year Service to Paul Fagan of ActionCOACH (LEFT) (Photographer: Karen Morgan/Lensmen)
Commenting on the win, Director Paul Fagan said:
“It’s a great honour to accept this award on behalf of my team and our clients. Irish businesses are operating in an increasingly competitive and demanding market. Our services help both new and well established businesses to stay on top of their game and remain competitive and profitable. We are passionate about what we do, and look forward to helping many more Irish companies achieve phenomenal success”.
Pictured at the Irish Franchise Awards in association with AIB at the Radisson St Helen’s Hotel was all the winners on stage (Photographer Karen Morgan/Lensmen)
Earlier this year, Paul and his team’s achievements were also recognised when they retained ‘Best Firm in Europe’ for the 3rd year in a row at the EMEA Business Excellence Forum & Awards 2017. Business Coach Rory Smyth also picked up the highly coveted ‘EMEA Business Coach Of The Year’, for a second year in a row.
Coaching, while often associated with sports, is just the right toolkit for competing at the highest level. The undisputed effectiveness of having a coach in sports is proven the world over, and ActionCOACH is matching the results in coaching Irish Businesses. Clients in Ireland experience a €5-10 (500-1000%) return for every €1 invested in coaching with ActionCOACH, some doubling their sales and employees in as little as 3 years. With award-winning results like this, the future is bright for ActionCOACH and the Irish businesses they work with.