Small business owners talk to me weekly about why their business is “stuck.” They ask me for advice about why it’s not growing.
Of course there are several possible causes for this, but one common cause is what I call “System Bottlenecks.” These “bottlenecks” will keep your business from growing, preventing you from taking it to the next level.
You’re probably familiar with bottlenecks in traffic. When you are driving along a highway or road, and there’s a traffic jam, it can be the result of a bottleneck. Whether there’s an accident, construction, or some other problem on the road, the lanes will typically narrow down to a couple, maybe even one lane. At this point, traffic is creeping along and no one is getting where they want to go because of the bottleneck.
Think of your business, your customers, your processes, sales, etc. as going down a freeway. If everything is working as it should, traffic is flowing, you’re doing business, making profits, and delivering your services or products. Things are great! But if there are bottlenecks, things could be moving slower, and even come to a halt, if they don’t get solved.
A System of Systems
It is helpful to view your business as a large system. This large system has many “sub-systems.” The 5 core sub-systems of every business are:
- Customer Fulfillment (or Delivery of your Products or Services)
- Admin/Back Office
Every business has to address these 5 issues and develop systems for each. Any one of these systems may contain multiple bottlenecks that prevent your business from growing. Sometimes the business owner is not even aware of how each of these systems is working in their business. But it is important to realize that your system is perfectly designed to get what you are getting!
Think about it. If you don’t want anything to change, keep doing what you’re doing. Your business and your systems are designed perfectly for the results you are currently getting. If you want different results, fix the bottlenecks! Get the tow truck down the freeway to get the stalled car out of the right lane so traffic can start flowing again!
If you want to get something different from your business, you must change the business systems.
Enlist employees or team members to help you assess how these critical systems are actually working in your business. Have someone write it down, maybe creating a flow chart with the steps that are being followed.
Take a critical look at your systems and ask yourself these kinds of questions:
- Are there bottlenecks?
- Are there processes, procedures, or other tasks that are preventing this system from working effectively?
- Are there things we can do to make them work more efficiently?
- What gaps, barriers, etc. are holding them back?
You may even want to engage an outsider like a business coach to help you look objectively at your core systems. They will be able to help you see where could there be potential bottlenecks and how could to improve in each of these core areas.
It is not uncommon for one relatively small adjustment to open the gate for dramatic growth! One small change could be a huge point of leverage. This is one reason system bottlenecks often go unnoticed until there is an intentional and objective assessment. A little tweak could make all the difference!
If you’re looking for some help in seeing what bottlenecks exist in your business systems, contact us for a no-obligation strategy session so we can work together in clearing them up!