Functional business systems are a must for any business whether small, medium or large. Do you have a plan that incorporates the five main functional business systems? Is that plan up to date? Do you conduct a regular review? The plan you start out with has to grow and transform in line with your business in order to keep up the level of support your growing business will need.
When starting out in business there are so many things you have to think about, and do:
How will you finance the business?
How will you market the business?
How will you manage the accounting?
Will you need employees?
What about business process controls?
Each of these elements are vital to your business from the very beginning, so how do you pull all of this together?
You may already have help from family, friends, investors or mentors. You may need to consider outsourcing to free up your time - allowing you to concentrate on creating the revenue. Whichever method you choose to put your business systems in place it will help to begin with a simple 5 point plan to create a functional, integrated business system.
Look at the diagram - imagine losing control of just one of these functions, consider the knock-on effect it will have on the rest. Running a business can be likened to juggling with eggs - if one drops you can end up in a terrible mess but taking the time to keep control will pay dividends.
Once you have started your plan a picture of how your business will operate - what is in place and what still needs to be done - begins to emerge. Planning effectively from the start and scheduling regular reviews of your business support systems will help you to keep on top of things.
Functional business systems planning is an ongoing process. There will be times when you need to add to the systems plan but it is essential to the health of your business to use the plan effectively. Ensure there is a logical linkage for each of the headings to provide an end to end flow of your business systems management.
Business systems can be seen as an organisational structure, containing processes that will run either in parallel or one after the other, for the purpose of achieving your business objectives. Each element interfaces with the others. Simplicity is key - we have a tendency to overcomplicate. Keep it simple. A five point plan is all you need.
Under each of the headings will be the business activity related to that function, for example:
Cash flow management
So, do you have everything you need, in place, to support your business? Are you a one-man-band or will you need to employ staff at some point? To enable this you would budget within your financial forecast then add HR management and policies to your admin section; payroll to your accounting; additional process control to your operations. Managed correctly, your plan will continue to evolve in this way to support your business and help you achieve success.
This is the first article in my Functional Business Systems series. Future posts will delve further into each of the five points of a business systems plan - so keep watching!
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