Quality Management Systems for Small Businesses
If you’re running a Small Business you might not have thoroughly thought out the internal structure of your company yet. When you’re just starting out you might not think it important to consider processes such as tracking website enquiries or using a CRM system to store customer data but if you’re serious about growing, focussing on your businesses core processes right from the very start is essential.
So what are core processes? They are procedures within your company that should be following in order for your Small Business to run as smoothly as possible.
Examples of core process could include:
• Tracking of sales
• Complaints procedure
• HR processes
• Storing customer information
• Plus many more
All of these processes support your business in its day to day activities. Once set, your Small Business can run and change around them while they provide a concrete core.
If everyone working in your company is using different processes or if there aren’t any processes in place you will find that a large amount time can be wasted and information can be lost leaving both customers and employees disgruntled. By ensuring that all of your internal procedures are of high quality and are standardised your company will not only run more efficiently but will not be at risk of damaging its reputation.
Getting your internal processes up to scratch now can save time, stress and money in the long-term. When you are your only employee or you have just a small team, it is far easier to change any processes that aren’t working or that could do to be streamlined. Once you are running a larger company with multiple offices or more than 10 employees, changing habits and implementing new procedures can be complicated and can also cause inconvenience. Too many companies leave putting these processes in place until later down the line. While it will take up some of your time now, it will be nothing compared to the amount of time needed to implement them later.
It can seem like a mammoth task to begin with – where do you start? If you do have some employees already, you could try dividing up the responsibilities to each member. For example one employee could be in charge of HR procedures and another anything related to tracking quotes, potential clients and sales. It is a good idea to write down the processes and store them safely so that should you forget what you agreed or you hire a new member of staff, they can always be referred to later. This can then become a company handbook which can be edited as your company grows – but you will always have something to work from.
You might like to consider getting a certification to prove that your company’s internal processes have reached a certain standard. The internationally recognised standard for internal quality management is called ISO 9001. This has been issued by the International Organization for Standards – an organisation that publishes a variety of business standards. Many Small Businesses like to have an assessment for ISO 9001 as it helps them to stand out among their competitors and compete with their larger rivals. Potential customers, partners and even employees will be able to see that your company is one of quality that invests time into its operations.
A certification such as ISO 9001 can also help to secure deals in abroad and in the public sector as it speaks volumes both internationally and at home. Many organisations in the public sector actually look for partners and suppliers to have ISO certifications in order to streamline their selection process and ensure that the chosen company will be reliable. In general, ISO certifications for Small Businesses are cheaper as the costs are often based on turnover so now is the time to invest should you should choose to go down this route.
Getting on top of your internal quality management now is essential for any Small Business looking to expand. Running your small business more efficiently is key to growth, not to mention creating a better working environment for everyone.
Bio: This article has been written by Laura Jennings on behalf of QMS International, a UK based company assessing companies worldwide for ISO certifications.