Many businesses lose their personal touch as they grow. This is the classic struggle between “corporate bean counters”—profitable and impersonal, and “mom and pop”–small and happy but poor and hard working.
We know that growth and profitability spring from good systems and procedures. The things you used to make up as you go along, you must now do by the book. Everything you do must make the numbers. Alas, the personal touch that customers love seems threatened.
So how can you retain your personal touch while improving efficiency, productivity—and profitability?
It requires a shift in attitude.
The owner of a retail store said to me, “My employees—and me also—used to resist all these systems and procedures. We wanted to serve each customer in our individual way. But we found that systematizing the routine things allowed us to be more creative and personal with customers. And customers loved the consistency and predictability in our operations.”
Another owner said, “My business is an expression of my soul. So if I wasn’t there all the time, the business suffered. So I was chained to the business. To launch a second location, I had to find a way to ‘bottle my soul’ and train others to run things by my values and standards. And they still have to make their numbers!”
You must turn your viewpoint around, and view systems and procedures as a way to maintain your personal touch rather than overwhelming it.
This is a major theme in my “Top 3 Barriers to Small Business Growth—and how to overcome them” program.