Four Functions Every Business Needs for Long-Term Growth

Four Functions Every Business Needs for Long-Term Growth

A customer walks into your pizzeria carrying a lunch menu flyer. The cashier greets the customer and gets the order. A ticket is printed out and sent back to the kitchen. The ticket is reviewed and its details are relayed to the pizza maker who I just learnt is called a pizzaiolo (male) or pizzaola (female). If all goes well, in less than fifteen minutes, a fresh hot pizza is taken out of the oven, boxed and given to the customer. This exchange repeats until closing time, at which the bookkeeper, quite possibly you, records the sales for the day and also knows if a profit was made. Over several days, enough cash is put in the bank to print new specials and menu items on flyers to be handed out to potential customers.

No matter whether it’s a pizza shop, accounting firm, shoe shop, or manufacturing company, there are four functions every business must strengthen: Marketing, Sales, Operations, and Finance. In our earlier example, marketing hands out the flyers to customers; sales, the cashier, takes the order; operations which is the kitchen, makes the pizza; and finance is the bookkeeper who keeps track of the money.

Marketing

In most cases Marketing generates leads through outbound communication, either digitally or physically. Potential customers are attracted and inquire more information about the company or their product. Over time, if effective, marketing should be able to collect data so that it is able to build and refine the customer profile. Effective marketing systems nurture prospects into qualified leads to hand over to sales.

Sales

If marketing is successful, the sales team should have a sufficient quantity of leads to convert into paying orders.  This can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few months, depending on the complexity of the product or service. For example, in online sales, the sale team doesn’t interact directly with the customer most of the time and instead offers the customer sales tools such as a website with a shopping cart. On the other hand if the company were bidding on a construction contract, the sales cycle would be long requiring many face to face meetings and exchange of information. In either case, when the customer places the order, the work is handed off to operations.

Operations

A good order is like a blueprint for the operations team to properly execute the product or service. As the product or service is built or delivered, there may be more communication between the customer and operations. Once the service or product is rendered, the satisfied customer provides payment which is collected by finance.

Finance

Finance manages money. This means managing the short- and long-term requirements including payroll, and inventory, and new equipment, tools, and facilities, respectively. If the business is run successfully, more capital flows in and is retained in the organization, than flows out.  This allows the leadership team evaluate and act on greater opportunities to grow the business. As a result, marketing is provided a larger budget to attract more customers, and the cycle repeats.

While the functions appear discrete, they are all inter-dependent.  For example, the product or service experience delivered in operations will impact marketing through word of mouth.  Similarly, finance needs to allocate capital for the needs of all functions, not just marketing.  A leadership team that is able to consistently manage and improve the throughput and flow in each of these functions will eventually succeed in creating a sustainable company built to last.

Do you want to improve flow and throughput in your company? Give us a call and we’ll help configure your organization with consistent long-term growth.

4 Steps to Ensure Business Meeting Success

4 Steps to Ensure Business Meeting Success

There are few words more irritating to entrepreneurs than, “Let’s have a meeting about it!”. If you’re like most business owners, you’re driven to get things done and can’t stand pointless meetings. What got you here wasn’t managing by committee; it was execution and action.

However, as your business has grown you might have observed that the complexity in running the business has also grown. Decisions that took minutes or seconds to make now take hours, days, or even longer. You see yourself needing the input of other members of the company. The dreaded meeting is often the only way to get everyone on the same page.

What used to be fun and exciting is at risk of being dull and boring. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are four simple things you can implement in all your meetings starting right now to improve the quality and effectiveness of meetings in your business.

Essential Stages of Business Meetings

In all the research and work we have done with teams large and small, all successful meetings have 4 essential steps:

  1. Status: During which all meeting participants have clarity and alignment on the purpose of the meeting, the goals, the agenda, their participation, the meeting leader, and any other meeting details such as duration, location, and logistics.
  2. Accountability: During which all meeting participants report on any commitments they had made to the group prior to the meeting.
  3. Discuss and Solve: During which the group discusses topics, resolves issues, and solves problems.
  4. Action Items: During which all participants have clarity on next steps and their own responsibilities relative to follow-up work that needs to be done.

To accomplish this, follow these simple steps before and during your next meeting:

Step 1: Create and distribute a meeting notice to all participants with the following information:

  • Goals and objectives of the meeting
  • Agenda of the meeting
  • Individual participation expected identified by participant’s name
  • Preparation required by each participant clearly stated and identified by name – provide enough time before the meeting so that the participant has an opportunity to request clarity and complete the task
  • Location, time, and duration of the meeting

Step 2: During the meeting, review the agenda and request each participant to report on their tasks. Refrain from actually discussing the task. Instead, note the task status along with the specific topic to be discussed. Ensure that Steps 1 and 2 do not take more than a few minutes, preferably less than a third of the duration of the meeting

Step 3: Follow steps 1 and 2 with a prioritized discussion of topics and issues. Each topic should be reviewed, discussed, analyzed, and if appropriate, followed up with one or more action items assigned to individual participants for follow-up. Continue this process till a few minutes before the end of the meeting time EVEN IF THERE ARE TOPICS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN DISCUSSED.*

Step 4: Review all the action items that were created and assigned in step 3 and ask each owner if they are clear on what is required and a completion date for each task. If the meeting is held weekly, then the due date is automatically a week out.

* In some situations a team may have to continue the meeting until the matter at hand is resolved and may not be able to conclude at a preset time. This is “fire-fighting” mode and should happen very rarely. If it’s happening frequently, something else is wrong and the team needs to get to the bottom of it.

Enjoy More Productive Business Meetings

By implementing the following steps, you’ll drastically change the complexion of your business meetings. Not only will meetings become less painful but you and your team will reap the rewards from the newly revitalized structure. Visit our Backstory to learn more about how PCS Insight can help your business meetings become more productive and enjoyable.