Policy, defined by Business Dictionary: a set of policies are principles, rules, and guidelines formulated or adopted by an organization to reach its long-term goals and typically published in a booklet or other form that is widely accessible.
You might also hear business advisors and coaches saying that “systems” will be the key to success in business. Really what it all comes down to is working in collaboration with your staff, customers, and the city, to communicate your business vision clearly and be sure that you can build a successful business.
In his book Adversaries to Allies, Bob Burg writes that he had an early business mentor advise him of the importance of effective communication in business: “When the shooter misses the target, it ain’t the target’s fault.”
The underlying truth in life that the ease at which we experience success in business, is often directly related to the amount of responsibility we personally take for communicating clearly, and being understood, in every situation. This is especially important when managing a business, because every day your success & income outcome is based on how well your staff can understand and implement your unique vision.
Dr. Steven Covey cites Habit #5 “Seek first to understand, then to be understood,” in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. If you have regular turnover, it’s nearly impossible to get to know your staff and their belief systems (how they interpret the world and your instructions), before your immediate need to have them understand their responsibilities.
A great way to be sure that you’re communicating with your team is by implementing clear business policies. Whether you run a small operation or have dozens of staff, everyone should be able to refer to these guides at any moment, and understand your exact expectations for their employment.
Policies & Procedures
Usually published and distributed as a staff guide or “playbook”, be sure that when you write your business policies that you have them reviewed by another manager or peer who can help ensure your message is clear and you’re not giving mixed messages.
Consider ALL the areas that could be open to interpretation and write your “rules” in clear language.
Clearly define your:
- Dress Code
- Refund Policy
- Emergency Policies
- Social Media Policy
- Buying / Procurement Policies
- Human Resources / Employment Policies
Be sure to reference local laws and regulations about staff policies. Regardless of what you’d like to create, the law will “Trump” you and disgruntled past employees won’t hesitate to blow the whistle on you.
Profit First Accounting
You may be handling all your finances yourself, or working with a bookkeeper, but either way having a policy in place for how your organization brings in & handles money will set you up for likely success. Or if you find yourself struggling and want to bring in a professional bookkeeper, having your financial policies written down will help communicate your exact intention to the experts you bring in to help.
MSNBC small business fixer and author of the upcoming book, Profit First, Mike Michalowicz outlines policies and procedures for your finances that allow you to communicate clearly to everyone what you can afford and where you should be redirecting your business revenue. I know the Profit First system well, since Mike is my own business coach and we’ve worked together for years.
Duct Tape Marketing (systems)
John Janstch creator of the Duct Tape series of business systems, says that the “key” to your success is in creating effective systems for every repeating element of your business. Check out this video around time 4:48 for John’s insights into where to focus on starting your marketing systems and policies.
- Business Dictionary
- Bob Burg, Adversaries to Allies
- Dr. Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- Mike Michalowicz, Profit First
- John Jantsch, Duct Tape Marketing
About the author: Debbie Horovitch is a 20-year advertising media veteran and SEO content producer currently working on her 1st book and training program for marketers using YouTube and Google+ Hangouts on Air, Celebrity Hangouts on Air. Debbie has been working with automotive and aftermarket marketing professionals and media, since 1996.