Getting the Structure Right!

People: Some people want to change, others resist it. Its sometimes necessary to admit that some team members have become a liability. If such people form the major part of a team, the team is doomed for failure. For this process to work the teams must be formed by the people who want change. In a family owned or small business selecting the right people can often be very difficult.

Products: The Pareto Rule is relevant here. “Twenty” percent of your products provide “eighty” percent of your sales. Twenty percent of our products provide eighty percent of your profit. Removing non performing products is essential if you want the right structure. Flexibility in production systems and an ability to diversify are critical to success in agriculture.

Customers: Again the Pareto Rule applies. Which twenty percent of your customers provide your sales, profit and repeat business? Which twenty percent provide eighty percent of your problems? Why invest time in these? Why not remove them? How many managers actually think about who they sell their products to?

Experience indicates that many businesses sell to customers who are tardy with payment (or even worse are “known” non-payers) or people that change the terms after delivery. Why do we sell to these people ? Select your customers wisely and build strong relationships with good customers that will stick with you in good times and bad. Do you have a customer care program to build relationships with your key customers? If not, then Why not?

Processes: The processes used in most businesses are rarely reviewed. Inefficiencies and waste creep in. To have the right structure, your processes need to be effective. Do you know what the key processes are in your business? How do they interact? Where are the inefficiencies? Where is the waste? Where are you under-utilising labour and resources? Where are you wasting inputs?

Processes also refer to the management processes in your business (not just the sales or production functions). Do you have an effective business planning process? How do you develop your marketing strategies? What are you Human Resource Management policies and strategies? These background or support processes are often more important than your production processes.

Price: A key structural element is pricing. Many businesses know how to cost, most dont price correctly. The wrong price can mean lost sales or lost profit. Correct pricing is a key success factor. How do you determine the correct selling price for your product? What is your selling strategy? How can you maximise the market price for your commodity? These are important questions that need to be answered.

But where to start?

This is a common question from managers and owners. – Where do I start? How do prioritise working on my people, products, prices, processes, etc? Where do I put the most effort?

There is no unique answer to this question although many “consultants” will tell you exactly where you need to apply your focus. In reality, depending on your individual situation, you may need to address all of these issues.

Our recommendation is that you develop a one page strategic plan for your business. YES – ONE PAGE!!

This simple, innovative planning process will help you to take stock of your current situation, work out where you want to be and help you prioritise the actions and strategies that will get you there.

The key to success is in this last step – PRIORITISE THE ACTIONS. The MindShop process that drives the development of the one page plan is unique and so simple to implement.

The one page plan will focus you on the actions you need to take to get your business or organisation moving. It will help determine whether you need to focus on people, prices, products or processes issues. It will also help you easily develop solutions to complex problems by providing you with a logical problem solving process.

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