How to Create an Ultimate Business System
More than a decade ago, when I was hard at work creating my first successful business, my partner at the time and I decided to build our company so that it could be independent of both of us. We wanted to set up a business system that would run smoothly without a lot of hands on work while also servicing all of our clients needs.
We laid out our dream on an oversized sheet of white poster paper, calling it our “Business System.” When we started to abbreviate that two-word phrase we ran into a little trouble, so we quickly added the word “Ultimate,” forming the acronym “UBS.”
Our UBS was the collection of processes, procedures, checklists, key information spreadsheets, and more that drove our company. In fact, UBS became both a noun and a verb at our company. It was a noun when we used it to say things like, “Great idea to lower costs. Can you please add that to the UBS so that other team members can use it?” It became a verb when we used it to say things like, “Beth, can you please UBS that process so we don’t have the same problems next time?”
Having a comprehensive business system is one policy I urge you to adopt for your company. It’s a philosophy of capturing winning processes and best practices and using them to form:
- How-to procedures
- “Common Question and Answer” pages
- Software workflow solutions
How will you organize, store, update, and access your UBS? Your UBS needs to be:
- Accessible: It needs to be easily accessible. Usually this means it’s accessible online, but you could have a paper-based system too.
- Searchable: People have to be able to quickly find what they’re looking for. Otherwise they’ll start keeping a cheat sheet on their desk or computer, and this will eventually mean your UBS won’t have the best practices, but will instead merely be a procedural manual that no one uses.
- Adaptable, Version Control: It must be collaborative. All users need to be able to edit and improve it. This requires some means of version control. This also means that it continually needs to be pruned of outdated information and systems. In many ways the eraser is more important than the pen when it comes to your UBS.
- Secure: It needs to have secure features that allow you to protect your intellectual property. Your UBS will become one of your business’s most valuable assets in time.
In essence, your business system defines how you create, store, refine, and access all (or most) of your processes.
Large companies invest millions of dollars in their networking and technology solutions to manage their companies’ unique knowledge. They also spend megadollars on proprietary software to manage their business processes. But for lots of business owners, that just isn’t an option. Think of your UBS as a cost-effective alternative.
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