One of the reasons franchising is so successful is because the whole process is streamlined to be as efficient as possible.
When a franchisee buys their own unit, all these systems and processes are given to them in the form of an operations manual and training, and they’re able to get up to speed in a very short space of time.
For the small business however, figuring out processes and operations can be a matter of trial and error and take substantially longer.
Standing out through efficiency
David Mashabela of Mashabela Creatives, describes how he went from ‘just-another-SME’, to being a highly efficient business.
“One of the great advantages of small businesses is that they’re more agile and flexible than large corporates. This can make them appealing and cost-effective but one of their downfalls is a lack of efficiency,” he says.
“As a result I knew that in order to stand out from the crowd, our differentiator would have to be about efficiency – getting things to client as quickly as possible, to the best possible standards.”
Everyone has a job, and knows it. “At Mashabela Creatives, every single person has a very defined job description and they know exactly what they’re expected to do.
Because we’re a multimedia ad agency, we have a sound guy, a video guy, a copy guy and so on.
When they’re free, they pitch in with helping others get their tasks done, but for the most part, they focus on their part of a project. Having a great manager or supervisor is also key.
While each person knows what they’re meant to do, having someone managing the team and project keeps things on track, on budget and on time.”
Everyone is passionate and highly skilled. “I make absolutely sure that every person in this company has both those qualities. You should never have to motivate someone to do their job. They should be self-motivated to do their job because it’s something they love.
And, of course, when someone is passionate about their job they do it to the highest standards, you don’t find yourself having to backtrack on a project because something wasn’t done right the first time.
Also, don’t be afraid to hire someone based on cost. If you want your business to grow, it’s not going to happen by hiring cheap.
I knew this from the beginning, so I took the risk and am now reaping the rewards in business growth to the point that I’ve recently hired an extremely talented person to head up our digital department, even though we don’t have a digital department just yet! When you find someone great, get them! Then expand your business so that your new hire generates value.”
Every project is planned and visible. “When projects come through, we actually plan backwards. We look at the deadline and then work backwards, planning what needs to be done by which point.
This project plan is then written up on a large board with tasks and people responsible and displayed in the office so that everyone can see how the project is progressing and where extra help may be needed to meet the goals. This creates accountability for the team and encourages self-management.
Everyone has a daily to-do list. “Part of our company culture is for everyone to have a daily ‘to-do’ list. This means each person knows exactly what needs to be done, what to prioritise, and it acts as a motivator: It’s a great feeling striking things off the list as ‘complete’ and gives a sense of progress when large projects are being put together.”