i am hungryHave you ever been to a restaurant that you just loved…and then went to the same restaurant in a different location and didn’t get that same vibe?  Maybe they didn’t seat you right away, the food wasn’t up to par, or the order time was slower.  Whatever the circumstance, it was apparent something was off and you were disappointed.  Chances are, the two locations weren’t following a standardized process.

Business process management is important in any organization, and crucial to the survival of your company’s different locations.  If there are no uniform guidelines in place (including a proven sales process), everyone starts doing things differently and this can get flat out messy.  Then comes the dreaded margin slippage.  It may not be noticeable at first – more like a gradual drip that eventually turns into a leak.  By the time you catch it, you may not have the right tools in place to patch it.  That’s the perfect time for your competition to come in and “eat your lunch.”

To avoid this catastrophic slip, you need the following ingredients:

  1. A Vision – Keeping in mind your company mission, come up with a clear vision of what is important to your company.  Through trial and error mixed with research and development, decide on a standard set of goals and guidelines that will work for your locations.
  2. Written Plan – Once created, your vision should be written out into a concrete plan to ensure there is never confusion.  If part of your vision is that every quote be sent out within the first 24 hours, stress the importance by including it in the plan.
  3. Strong Leadership – The person running the show at each location will need to be someone who shares your vision and understands the importance of the plan.  This should be someone who will not be pushed over by any reluctant salespeople and designers who insist on doing things their own way.
  4. Transparency/Visibility – Know what is happening at each location by keeping the lines of communication open.  Using an industry specific software such as Equilibrium (formerly Aurora) makes it simple to monitor performances at each location through management dashboards and integrated scheduling features.  Transparency ensures that any struggles will be visible early, and can’t be swept under the rug.  This will also allow you to see where areas of your plan may need adjustment.

By having a vision, a written plan, strong trustworthy leadership, and visibility, you won’t have to take as many trips to monitor each locations activity (cutting down on unnecessary costs).  When you do visit sites you will know what to expect and can strive to catch them doing things right, instead of entering blindly and looking like the villain who always finds areas that need improvement.

If your locations aren’t following the same process or striving for similar goals, now is the time to start.