Episode 42 – What are Best Practices & Why You Need Them
Best Practices Save You Time & Money
In today’s episode: We discuss Best Practices and why they are critical to your small business’s success. Best Practices streamline our businesses and add to the bottom line.
Here are the Show Notes from the Episode:
**keep in mind that show notes are raw and only highlight what is in the episode. Listen to the show for the full content**
Episode 42 – What are Best Practices & Why You Need Them
The Local Small Business Coach Podcast
Subtitle: Best Practices Save You Time & Money
Today we are going to discuss….. What are Best Practices & Why You Need Them
As we start to roll into the new year, I wanted to take an episode to discuss what are best practices and why you need them. Now, you might already be familiar with the term but just in case, just what is a best practice?
A best practice can be a few things. Most commonly it is any process or action that you take that has been determined to either streamline your business or is a habit that you should do to further your businesses sales or profits.
However, you also have best practices in your daily life. You just don’t think of them that way. For example, it is normally a best practice to shower prior to getting dress. Seems silly but it just wouldn’t make sense to do it the other way around. But let’s stay with this for a minute. If you are like me, you probably have a routine. There are somethings you do prior to getting in the shower. Do you brush your teeth before or after your shower? Do you brush them in the shower? Whichever you do, I bet you do it every day. You do it this way because you have discovered this is the best way to start your morning.
You have routines you do throughout your day. You do them because you find the save you either time or money. So, when you think about your business, you probably have some best practices you do currently.
So why am I doing a podcast on this topic?
I’m doing it because I think there are lot of best practices out there that you aren’t even aware of. When I think of best practices I want you to think of two avenues to best practice discovery.
- Those you create within your business
- Those you beg, borrow and steal from others
For those that you create within your business, normally these come out of streamlining your processes. The trial by error if you will. Toss everything at the wall and see what sticks. You constantly are tweaking processes until you get them just right. What comes to mind is like a recipe if you will. A chef will tweak the spices until it is just right.
However, there are times when you can save a lot of time, money and energy and just learn from the best. You might recall we’ve talked about in previous episodes about learning from others who have been successful. That is ok to walk in their footprints. If you see another business or company that has found the right process, use it!
When we talked about our ego getting in the way, this is an area that comes to mind. We hate admitting someone else has found a better way to do something than we have. So we act like their process isn’t all that great. The reality is, we need to check our ego and jump on these best practices.
A Best Practice from My Past
Back in my Home Depot days before everything became so “corporate” we were always competing with our fellow stores on who could come up with the best merchandising. You wanted to be the store that the District Manager loved because you knew he would use yours as the best practice for the other stores in the district. It was all about creating the better mouse trap.
While they might not have always been pretty, there were some great ideas that came out of this. We had this one guy in San Diego who would create the coolest working displays. His name was Don so the store nicknamed them Depot Dons. Soon, these became a standard best practice in all of our stores.
Eventually, the displays and the product merchandising left the stores hands and went to the vendors but for many years, they were all created at the store level. It was an exciting time and I got to cut my teeth on merchandising.
The reason I tell this story is to share how we had a blend of internal store creation of best practices and using borrowed district wide best practices. No matter where it came from, it propelled us forward.
Areas for Best Practices
So let’s think about your business. What areas should you be creating and looking for best practices?
- Merchandising Best Practices – We just discussed some merchandising best practices so we might as well knock this one out. You want to look at how you place your product, how you sell it, for example in quantities or not. You might recall when we discussed grocery stores. Their stores have a best practice of putting the bread, butter, milk and meat in the back and they make you go through the soda, candy, and other non essentials hoping you will toss them in your cart. That is their best practice. What can you do in your business to accomplish the same thing? While your brick and mortar might be smaller, you can usually find ways to adapt this. Other merchandising best practices are what we discussed a few weeks ago with add on items.
- Operational Best Practices – Operations can cover a slew of areas. The majority will be the process that deal with the day to day operating of the business. For example, let’s take one that can be argued merchandising or operational. Ordering of your supplies or products. Do you order when you get a whim or do you order on a consistent day? Do you order weekly or monthly? Even better question, do you keep 3 weeks of supply, 8 weeks or find you have 16 weeks. You will find those most success business keep this at the best minimum they can without risking stunting sales growth or running out of product. This can vary by products and category.
Think of the various operational areas that you can fine tune or you know need to so you can investigate how to find some best practices you can adopt. One key area that I want you to look at is your bookkeeping and payment process. Way to many of you are not getting paid on time. If you are having trouble in this area, then you need to make sure this is one of your top 3. You work hard, get paid!
- People Practices Best Practices – This category can be huge. When you think of your team you have so many areas that you will want to create some best practices. In the past we have discussed some hiring best practices as well as how you need a good on boarding process. You will want to look at the entire hiring and training process.
But it doesn’t stop there. You will want to put solid practices in place for their development as well. Don’t forget accountability and a host of other human resource items.
- Processes Best Practices – This one is critical if you have employees. You want to have process that streamline your process so each employee does the same as the next. This was a key to McDonald’s success. Every single fast food place have down toe science how to make a hamburger or taco. Heck, they even have little decals over the sinks to tell them how to wash dishes.
By the way, even those of you without employees still need to look at each of your processes and what you can create. Maybe it is your quoting process, or your scheduling process or even your communication process we discussed a few episodes ago.
However, don’t forget that even the process you use to do your job. If you even pick up poop in people’s yard, I bet you have best practices on how you do this. There is a certain order to every job that you like to follow. An order the ensures you are done quickly yet efficiently.
Next Steps for Best Practices
So as you can tell, odds are, you are currently using best practices already in your business. The purpose of this episode is to really get your gears going on areas of your business that you can streamline and put more sales and profits to your bottom line.
Don’t try and do a list of 25 things. Pick 2 or 3 to put in place. This might require you thinking through the ideal process and writing it down or it might require you reaching out to other small business owners or doing some research online.
Hopefully a few ideas have been sparked. Areas you know will make a big impact on your businesses bottom line.
And as we wrap up this episode I want you to know, that I realize being a local small business owner can be a lonely gig at times. But you don’t have to do it alone. Just know, I’m always here for you.
By the way, If you like what we are taking about, then make sure to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode, if you love the podcast and what we are talking about, then please leave a 5 star review so other local small business owners know this is a podcast that they can’t miss.
And don’t forget to visit the website at LocalSmallBusinessCoach.com to leave your question for me to possibly answer on the podcast in the future. You can leave it via the Speakpipe button or just shoot me an email.
Meanwhile, I wish you the best in your business and remember: Great Customer Service, coupled with Great business practices will set you on the path to Great Profits!
Bye for now…..
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My Recommended Bookkeeping Program for Local Small Business Owners: Freshbooks Link
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See you on the next episode!
Two Great Books to Help You With Your Small Business:
Highly Recommend all Local Small Business Owners Read the eMyth by Micheal Gerber. You will learn some critical things about running your business.
The second book is one I wrote based off a popular example I always use when folks are trying to understand their role as a leader with their people. Check it out.