In this short, unlock the secrets to effective business operations with Chris Edwards. Learn about goal setting, systems and processes, and more.
Whether you are setting up a new business or deep into your entrepreneurial journey, operations are key to your success. So what does good business operations look like? And what happens when they aren’t working? In this episode of The Good Business Podcast, Chris shares the three pillars of successful business operations: goals, systems and processes, and business rhythm. Discover the power of setting clear and helpful goals, breaking them down into actionable milestones, and aligning them with your vision of success.
In this, conversation we learnt…
– Defining your goals for your business (02:48 – 4:22)
– What are your systems and processes? (4:23 – 06:39)
– Creating a business rhythm (6:40-08:02)
– What to do when operations aren’t working (8:03- 09:29)
– Leading from the middle (09:29 – 11:33)
“The three key things are your goals, systems and processes and business rhythm.” (02:48)
Chris delves into the key elements of effective business operations. She discusses the importance of three crucial factors: clear and helpful goals, efficient systems and processes that enable the business to function independently, and establishing a business rhythm that fosters natural momentum and flow.
“What matters is setting the intention and knowing what success looks like and having something to aim for.” (4:22)
One key recommendation is to set clear goals for your business, specifically “B.H.A.G.”s (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). By envisioning where you want to be in the next 10 years or five years, you can establish a roadmap to success. Chris recommends breaking down your B.H.A.G. into smaller milestones, such as a five-year goal, a one-year goal, and a three-month goal, to provide actionable targets. While these goals may evolve over time, the key is to have a clear direction and understanding of what success looks like.
“You can tell when operations are not working smoothly because you might have unhappy clients, confusion amongst your team, and notice stress among your employees.” (8:10)
It’s also important to talk about when things are not going well with importance – because it always happens! You should recognise when operations are not going smoothly.Some of the indicators include unhappy clients, confused team members and overwhelmed employees. When faced with operational problems, you should troubleshoot and identify the root cause. By understanding the problem at hand, you can implement targeted solutions and improve your operations for greater efficiency and productivity.
“Take a leading from the middle approach.” (8:57)
Chris shares her unique approach of “leading from the middle,” where she involves her team in workshops to collectively brainstorm and lead the way in finding solutions. Recognising that your team members are experts in operations, you should empower them to contribute their own suggestions and ideas to develop efficient processes and systems. Then, you just need to take a supportive role and provide guidance, ensuring that the right conversations are happening by asking the right questions.
“A success triangle of people management is the result of a clear, capable, and motivated team.” (10:10)
Chris shares the concept of the Success Triangle of People Management, where clarity, capability, and motivation form the foundation for success in business operations. Aligning your goals, systems, processes, and business rhythms with the three sides of the Success Triangle unlocks the full potential of your team, fostering a culture of excellence and achievement.
Chris Edwards (01:30)
Hi, welcome back, I am here to do another really short little mini episode, which is going to be a “how to: set up your business operations”. So operations is a really big word. What does that really mean? For me, having good business operations, for me, and my business experience really is about three things. And I’m going to talk about each of these things today. These things are firstly, having really clear goals that are actually really helpful for your business. The second thing is having systems and processes so that your business can operate without you. And then the last thing I think business operations is all about is having a business rhythm, where everyone knows what’s happening, and the business has natural momentum and flow. And the last thing I want to share is what happens when you don’t have good business operations. So I’m going to talk you through and I’ve definitely had these in the past, what happens when it’s not really working. So let’s break this down.
Chris Edwards (02:48)
So the three things are goals, your systems and processes and your business rhythm. With goals, I want to start by saying I love the concept of a big, hairy, audacious goal. And this is a term that was coined by Jim Collins in his book Good to Great. So I really strongly recommend that you all have a big, hairy, audacious goal. He calls it a B. Hag. So where do you want to be in? Maybe it’s 10 years time or five years time? Or what is your business? What is your ultimate goal for your business. So that’s your B hag. And I always think it’s great to start there. Because if you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know how to set up a system to get you there. So it’s really important to have that clear goal. And then I like to break it down to have a five year goal, a one year goal and a three month goal. So that’s what I do in my business. And it really helps me I suppose, really know, what am I aiming for? What does success look like? And sometimes I write down the goals and I get them completely wrong. I can be wildly too ambitious, or I can be totally too conservative, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is setting the intention and knowing what success looks like and having something to aim for. So that’s what I think the first thing about business operations is setting those goals.
Once your goals are set, then you can think about setting up a system or a process to help you manage the production of whatever it is you’re producing. So it could be a product like a physical product or it could be a service, it doesn’t really matter. Each of those businesses is going to have a process that you’re gonna need to step through to be able to deliver your product or service for your customers. And the best way to do this is just really think through
Chris Edwards (04:59)
that workflow, that journey from that signing off or that purchase, once that triggers done, then how do you operationally bring that product or service to the market. And the best thing to do is just to write out a workflow, and to start really with a big sheet of paper and think through the steps in the process. And then think about documenting those steps into standard operating procedures. So for each step, there should be five to 10 Mini steps in that step, which really clearly outlines what needs to be done for that step to be completed for the next section or the next part of the process. So that’s what I mean by working out your systems and your processes. And your aim with all of this is to be able to really document it so that when you have someone coming on board for the first time, they don’t really have to ask you any questions. So that’s your goal. If you’ve got really well documented, then there should be really no questions not that that will happen, you will have questions. But what you’re trying to do is make it really easy for people when they join your team, or they support your business as a contractor to understand what is the process, what is the system, what am I required to do to fulfil my job to make sure that our customers get the product or the service in the right way, in the right style and the right tone, so that we are meeting our clients expectations.
Chris Edwards (06:39)
So that’s part two of business operations, that’s big. I’ve briefly covered it. But that’s a big piece of the puzzle. And that will take time to not app and you will constantly improve that system or that process throughout the journey of your business. The third part of setting up really great business operations is thinking about what kind of rhythms or habitual meetings or systems that you can bring into your business so that it kind of just flows every week. So in my business, we have a Monday meeting where we talk about our fulfilment, and I’m actually not involved in that meeting, I don’t need to be there. This is for the honeycombers business, it’s a mature business. And team leaders know what they need to talk about. But it’s like a check in to see how are all the different jobs going through the process. And then we have other business meetings that happen regularly, some of them happen weekly, some of them fortnightly, some of them monthly, and they’re all designed to help with this operational process, and a constant improvement on that operational process. We definitely have a business rhythm that supports the process, and helps improve that process as the business matures.
Chris Edwards (08:02)
So the last thing I want to talk about with operations is when it goes wrong, because it always does, right. So when it’s not working smoothly, usually you can tell because you might have unhappy clients, you might have confusion amongst your team, as to who’s doing watch, you might have a really stressed out team people just like overwhelmed with work. Or you might have people double handling. Again, this causes stress and confusion. So what do you do when the operations isn’t working? So I think for me, is you really need to troubleshoot what the problem is. And the way I like to think about doing this is really I suppose, for me, it’s really taking a leading from the middle approach. So what I mean by that is, I want to bring the team in and have them workshop and lead what the solution should be. And I’m guiding and I’m helping, but I’m not necessarily presenting the solutions, because I feel like my team are the experts in the operations. And they will have their own suggestions and ways of coming up with a process and a system that will be the solution for that. That operational plan.
Chris Edwards (09:29)
I love the expression leading from the middle. And I think that’s probably just a cultural thing that I want to make sure that my team feels empowered, and that we are letting everyone contribute to the solution so I don’t have to lead from the front. And I can just support the team and steer and make sure that we’re having the right conversations and asking the right questions, steer and guidance, I suppose. But really letting the team lead from the front.
Chris Edwards (09:59)
And the other thing I wanted to wrap up in all of this is thinking about business operations, it is helpful to think about the success triangle of people management, the triangle is if people are clear, if they’re capable, and if they’re motivated, they’re the three sides of the triangle, then you’re gonna have a high performance, team member or contractor working for you. So have a look at the downloadable guide I have on the launchpad website under freebies, which is all around the success triangle. And when you’re thinking about your business operations, think about the clarity, the capability and the motivation, and see how that fits also in with your goals, and your systems, or your processes, and your business rhythms. Because those three things definitely dovetail into that success triangle.
Chris Edwards (10:56)
So the goals really helped with clarity, especially if you’ve got 90 Day goals. So it really helps people understand what success looks like. The capability really is around the systems and the processes. And then the motivation really comes from that lovely rhythm that check in that sense of touching base and making sure that people are on the same page and getting acknowledgement for their contribution and their hard work, which really plays a big, big part into the motivation piece.
Chris Edwards (11:33)
Okay, I hope that was beneficial. I know it was super short. But my idea with these episodes is just to give you a really short little boost of inspiration of the how you should be thinking about your business. Because I think every good business definitely has a really solid operational backbone, but it’s something that you need to build over time as your business matures. So let me know what you think. Please reach out to me, hit me up at [email protected] or jump onto the launchpad website and join my weekly newsletter. I send a newsletter every Sunday, which is just my thoughts around how to create a good business. Thanks so much for listening. I’ll see you next week.
Chris Edwards (12:22)
Thank you for listening to good business. Okay, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. Selfishly, I created this podcast for my own personal growth. So I could go deep with entrepreneurs that truly inspire me. Of course, I also wanted a wider listenership to think about having impact, and our wonderful community at Launchpad, where we’re all aspiring to create better businesses together. If you have enjoyed this episode, I’d love you to leave a review, or perhaps share this podcast episode with a friend. That’s how podcast episodes get discovered. And I would love more entrepreneurs to think more deeply about their business and about creating a Heartland business with a bigger impact than just profit. And I’m sure you would too. So go ahead and post something on LinkedIn or Instagram or Facebook and spread the word I will be forever grateful. Thanks again for listening and I hope that you feel as inspired as I am to create your own good business.