There are many competing demands on the attention and resources of a growing business, but investing in the right Company Management System (CMS) should be high up on your list of priorities.
For small businesses that are scaling up, there is intense pressure to make the right hires, hit sales or production targets, while delivering against your business plan on an almost daily basis.
Align your business to hit your KPIs
But hitting KPIs consistently is only possible when there is agreement across an organisation about how your business works; from the processes and procedures that comprise your operations to the structures that define the ownership of tasks.
In a small business where teams work in close proximity, it’s easier to acknowledge and share these ways of working and your collective business goals. What’s more, these teams work so intimately together, they can always adapt and improvise to meet new challenges.
But as a business grows it becomes more difficult, if not impossible, to work like this.
Don’t let knowledge slip away
As teams expand, change and disperse, so valuable knowledge and experience can ebb away. At the same time, old mistakes can be replicated and inefficiencies amplified.
There is a tipping point, where it isn’t enough anymore to just ‘know’ best practice, you need to start formally documenting and sharing it, or you risk losing these insights altogether and having to start from scratch all over again.
A Company Management System (otherwise known as a Business Management System) is designed to maintain the coherence of your business processes and structures even in the face of rapid and disorienting growth.
One of the central functions of a Company Management System (CMS), then, is to document and manage the tasks, business processes and procedures that make up all your operations, so they are available across the business to help standardise the delivery of your end products.
Some systems do this in the form of lengthy user manuals or heavyweight software applications, others take a more lightweight approach making business process maps available via an intranet.
Five reasons to invest in a Company Management System
However you choose to do it, a CMS should operate as a repository of best practice for everyone in your organisation to refer to when they are carrying out tasks that are central to your business.
Rendered in graphical form a CMS can be powerful way of visualising the requirements, dependencies and expected outputs of every business process within your company.
Fig 1: Document your business process with a light weight Company Management System
Published on an intranet, it should be a quick way of seeing, literally, how all your processes fit together and feed into each other.
This kind of oversight helps to eliminate siloed thinking. It can demonstrate where tasks are orphaned within a business, where they are superfluous, or being replicated.
A CMS encourages a holistic view of solutions and operations that will soon part paying dividends.
A CMS that allows you to follow every step of a process within a flow diagram on an intranet, with deep links to more detailed information (such as instruction manuals or regulatory materials) can be an invaluable training resource. For existing employees, this resource can be a useful guide to clarifying how processes are supposed to work and keeping that knowledge ‘topped up’. For new employees it can become the operational bible that ‘shows’ them the way your company does business.
A Company Management System can, therefore, become a key part of the way your company secures and replicates consistent quality in the products you are producing. Where a business is growing rapidly, it ensures the right knowledge and experience can be passed on and secured in the consciousness of your organisation.,
A Company Management System can also be central to continuous improvement within a business. Visualising processes using graphical tools can lead to deep insights that will streamline operations, eliminate waste and increase productivity.
Business process maps can starkly illustrate the omissions and opportunities in the way you work, that a written description simply cannot. By literally visualising each step in a procedure or every link in a production chain, it will quickly become obvious where there is risk of failure or an opportunity to optimise.
The process of building a Company Mangement System to support your operations, should involve everyone in your business. Each team should work together to map out the tasks they are responsible for, setting down best practice and refining existing processes as they do so.
These definitive process maps can then form the crux of your Company Management System, the ‘way you do business’ described and defined by the people who are actually delivering your end products.
Published on the intranet and used as a resource by the entire business, it should encourage a sense of ownership around these tasks. A CMS created by its users will encourage and facilitate better curation, troubleshooting and optimisation of the processes themselves.
5. A More Successful Exit
A company that is better managed, that has transparent and mutually understood working practices should be a much more attractive option for an acquiring company than those with Byzantine and impenetrable procedures.
If systems can be easily audited by certificating authorities, if training materials and business flows can be sourced at the touch of a button, then you will be able to inspire the confidence of investors and acquirers as you look to execute the next stage of your business plan.
And if you manage this, then your investment in a CMS will all have been worthwhile.