Business is not an exact science, yet time and success (and failure) have confirmed that there are specific skills, techniques, and disciplines that are common to all thriving companies. At the core will always be found competent people following well-defined and documented processes. MLM Companies and Party Plan Companies must follow the disciplines of “real companies” so that they can sustain the growth when it comes. And when the growth comes, it often comes quickly. So, be prepared.
This checklist will help you to examine and organize the processes that will support successful operations.
Policies and Procedures Checklist & Key Considerations
- Have we put in place performance standards and processes for the following:
- Enrollment Processing
- Order Processing
- Payment Processing
- Returns & Exchanges
- Commission Processing
- Customer Service Administration
- Office Administration
- Have we allowed sufficient lead time for acquiring a merchant account?
- Will we maintain operations manual with documented processes and checklists?
- Do we have our plan for facilities and equipment:
- Phone System
- Computer Network
- Office Space and Configuration
- Are business controls and administrative systems in place?
- Accounting System
- Inventory Software
- Business Controls & Processes
- Banking Relationships & Accounts
- Business Insurance / Risk Management
- Network Marketing Software
How Do You Know Which Systems to Design?
As you develop the business to be less people dependent and more systems dependent, which systems do you need to design?
That’s easy. All of them.
And that’s actually the right answer. But it’s not an answer that helps you approach the challenge of systems design. So look at this question a bit more systematically.
Determining which systems we need to design relies on your listing of business systems needed; then prioritize those systems; and finally, assign accountabilities and establish target dates for their completion.
One approach, then, is to simply work on your systems in the priority order you determine in your plan.
But there’s a little more to it than that. Remember to look at issues that arise in the daily course of events and identify the system solutions that will eliminate particular frustrations. This is a way to determine which systems to design, especially in a growing, dynamic company. A frustration surfaces; determine the system that will solve the frustration, add it to the list of systems to be built or upgraded. You must be orderly in your prioritization of systems to be built; and with network marketing software, that way you’ll always be working on the most important systems, and your systems development effort won’t be constantly interrupted by the “frustration of the day.”
Finally, when you make a strategic decision to do something new in your business-sell a new product, initiate a new marketing campaign, create a new organizational unit, change a step in our production cycle . . . whatever-again, think through the systems needed, prioritize them, and add them to your business systems development plan.
Your business systems development plan is one of your key management tools. Use it as the focal point of our systems development. It will keep you from creating your systems randomly or in reaction to the pressures of the day. It will keep you on track toward your strategic objective.
Start With the End in Mind and Pay Attention to the Details
The starting point for designing a new system or improving an existing one is to determine exactly what result you want the system to produce. Exactly. Remember, output from one system is input for other systems. A sloppy system early in a production cycle, for instance, creates inconsistent, unreliable output. Every system downstream from the poorly functioning system then starts with inconsistent input, and can be expected to produce high quality results. It’s the business systems version of the old computer software truism, “garbage in, garbage out.”
There’s a multiplier effect in a careless approach to business systems. It’s a negative multiplier that works to your disadvantage. A small flaw in a system early in the process is multiplied by other small flaws in downstream systems. Minor, sometimes almost undetectable, flaws in our systems can and will create major problems and poor product and service quality in the end results. They show up in the form of work stoppages, excess scrap or rework, poor customer service, excessive product returns, late deliveries, high levels of frustration among employees, skinny profit margins (or worse, losses) and any number of other unwanted outcomes.
So, attention to detail in designing and improving our business systems pays off, and pays off big.
What if You’re Uncertain about the Result You Want?
Sometimes, especially in the formation stages or in the heat of battle, you may not be able to be as precise as you would like to be. You’re dealing with new ideas, unknowns, and you may not know exactly what is possible or what the process should look like. Trial and error works. Practice makes perfect.
The LaunchSmart™ team embraces the bi-polar cycle of discovery and improvement. This leaves room for creating new and improved ways of doing the things that must get done, and improving on the processes as new discoveries are made. When you staff your service team with the right people (hint: we refer to them as “analysts with people skills”), they will feed a constant stream of ideas for improvement. It’s the proverbial “journey” that they must learn to relax and enjoy, improving as they go. When they follow a logical method of analyzing the process, keeping in mind the result that the company wants and keying in on the elements of the system, what results is truly magnificent in every way.
Here’s how it’s done.
The Nine Steps of Business Systems Design
Here’s an overview of the nine steps in the business systems design process for MLM companies and Party Plan Businesses. These steps have served clients well throughout the years, and they should help you on your journey to excellence in your service operations.
- Specify the result and name the system or process
- Diagram the system
- Describe the system steps in clearly-stated benchmarks
- Assign accountabilities
- Determine the timing
- Identify required resources
- Determine how you will quantify the system
- Establish standards
- Document the system
It’s Real World, Not Academic
Don’t treat systems design as an academic exercise. It’s real world. Do your system design work on the spot-on the shop floor, in the kitchen, at your workstation, on the trucks, at the pick line, in the technology room, at the telephone. Be where the work gets done and see what’s happening and what needs to happen. Test alternate ways of doing what needs to be done. Involve the people who do the work. And always look for a better way.