Who doesn’t like coffee? Well not everyone so let’s say your business needs to ‘take 10 for a cuppa’.
Here’s how a little break helped one of our clients in a big way.
A business approached us because they were so busy they couldn’t breathe. Don’t get us wrong, they were thrilled with business flying through the door but were always on the run trying to keep up. There was no time to stop and think. No time, it seemed, to implement efficiencies to calm things down.
We worked with the business to make efficiency changes that streamlined operations, saved the business money, reduced stress levels, freed up time for additional strategic planning, reduced admin time and improved staffing arrangements. It was like a dream come true for the business.
But then what?
The business owner had learned through our efficiency expertise that this was just the start of endless possibilities. He had learned that he had to build in regular time to ensure continual improvement and to avoid things from slipping backwards.
The solution was to ‘take 10 for a cuppa’. We scheduled regular ‘mini breaks’ with the business owner so we, as efficiency experts, could talk through ongoing challenges, expected and unexpected.
We made a list of hot topics and—while enjoying coffee or tea with the business owner—discussed them in consecutive order, so nothing was missed.
- Performance issues
- Was the team still having trouble with deadlines?
- How was recruitment and performance management travelling?
- How was excess stock being sold?
- Were projects being delivered on time and on budget and, if not, why not?
- Team successes
- What great things had the team got up to?
- What did the business do to celebrate these successes?
- How was social media travelling and was there growth in followers?
- What new ways were being explored to leverage social media for business success?
- What steps were being taken to keep up with social media without impacting negatively on the team working at capacity?
- Was the team social media savvy or was external support needed?
- Processes and procedures
- Are they understood and being followed or is training needed?
- How is inventory management?
- Are aged debtors putting pressure on cashflow (if so, what are the solutions)?
- Personal and business
- Is owning and running the business putting unacceptable pressures on family life and personal time?
- Are personal priorities in place and if not, why not?
- What is needed to balance work and life?
These regular ‘take 10 for a cuppa’ sessions were highly effective and the business owner now so looks forward to our catch ups.
Sure, we don’t solve all the problems over one cuppa, but we do focus on big-ticket items that need to be factored into business planning. We highlight items that if left to their own devices will become major and challenging problems. We allow the business owner to be open and frank including, importantly, about the stresses of running their own business, a topic they can’t vent to staff about.
- Remember that you can achieve big things in small bits of time.
- Don’t feel you need to solve all problems at once—proceed in a systematic way, with one item at a time.
- Always celebrate wins.
- Remember that when running a business there’s always going to be new efficiencies to think about, which is a great thing. Look forward to implementing them.
- Last but not, least, take a break and enjoy a cuppa.