We often hear reports of businesses failing and even some parastatals under-performing. Any investigation of the causes of such negativity will always point at some failure to focus on the most important internal and external business drivers.
Though there are other factors that play upon these entities, the primary factors causing such performance, remains those that are within their control.
Business entails activity. For there to be activity, there should be components, systems and sub-systems that relate to each other in a harmonious and well orchestrated fashion.
We understand that entrepreneurship is a higher order form of doing business. As such there are mandatory business factors that entrepreneurs and business persons alike should understand. These form the pillars of any successful business endeavour.
There are a plethora of issues that affect business operations, key among them are the non-negotiable five that are pivotal to the survival and sustenance of any business or institution.
This piece will focus on the five essential Ps which are people, processes, products, performance and procedures as critical factors that any business needs to keep a constant eye on.
Business is primarily solving people’s problems. You can not do without this important factor. Those who say handina basa nevanhu (I don’t care about people) are yet to wake up from their deep slumber.
People matter in business. Be they customers, suppliers, financiers, competitors and regulators and even the government. They all have their unique contribution to your business.
Customers make your business tick. In fact they are the ones whose problems you’re up to solve. Disregard this factor anyhow at your own peril as a business.
You would rather be customer centric than self-centred for survival. Know what they want and give them just that.
Never take customers for granted. They are actually the reason for your existence as a business or institution.
People come in various forms including your suppliers. Suppliers, just like customers, are also an integral part of the business. You can’t do without them.
They can be suppliers of your equipment, raw materials and other products, relate to these well for they determine how far you will go.
Talk of the service industry, you still have your own suppliers in that field who matters in your day to day activities.
Your competitors on the other hand always pushes you to be a better entity while the government through its various enactments regulates your operations in a way that harmonises you with the environment and others.
It is sad to see how the upcoming, small and medium enterprises underestimate the significance of processes and systems within a business setup. These are worth investing in.
You need predetermined steps that should be followed to achieve your business objectives. These processes work within a system that you need to have, manual or otherwise that makes your business a coherent whole.
The process is more important than results. That’s the reason why you hear things like ill-gotten wealth and other terminologies describing failure to follow processes.
The results are there and visible but from flawed processes. A number of businesses end up paying heavy fines and penalties as a result of failure to stick to processes. Besides external repercussions, without internal processes, all the parts of a business will be hanging loose.
A number of upcoming businesses take this important factor lightly. Such ignorance has left many such businesses broke and on the verge of collapse. You can not do without systems and well defined processes.
Procedure entails an established and official way of doing something. These are business enablers. Though at times if they go unchecked and updated, certain procedures end up hindering rather than helping archive the organisation’s objectives.
Organisation’s operations are simplified and harmonised if procedures are in place. Documenting procedures gives them meaning and implementation provides them with life. Organisational procedures needs to be documented.
From the various interviews I have had with most small and medium enterprises, procedures are rarely documented. It’s difficult to account for operational activities by employees when procedures come as a word of mouth.
The solutions the world looks forward to, come from no other than your business and they are always in two fold, products and services. Depending on the nature of your business, you just need to give out the best to the market to remain relevant.
As tastes and preferences continuously change, you also need to keep pace to remain in the game. Modernise your services and upgrade your products in line with market demand. The major thrust is to improve on your customer base and retain as much of them as possible.
The driving force behind any business is making a profit. What is to be known is that profit is a derivative.
It is in the execution of the various tasks, the configuration of processes, procedures, systems in the form of action that makes a business a viable entity. Without proper performance, there are no results to talk about.
What differentiates businesses especially the successful ones from those that are not is performance. This is where expertise, dexterity and prowess comes out. Products and services can be the same but the way you execute your tasks defines your business.
How is your sales, marketing, procurement, human resources, finance performing? The quality and level of your performance ultimately determines your level of success as a business. Others might have their own list of factors at the heart of business but according to my assessment from experience and literature, people, processes, procedures, products and performance are key to any business regardless of industry and size.
The writer, Dr Kudzanai Vere is an international voice in the areas of entrepreneurship and personal development. Has coached a number of organisations and individuals in his two areas of passion. Dr Vere can be contacted on +263 719 592 232 or email@example.com