For many of us who own a business, one of our biggest fears is organisational chaos.
We have nightmares of budgets going to waste, lack of control, poor productivity and general confusion about processes and the people we work with. Chaos is a harbinger of bankruptcy, failure and destruction.
If we are to look at it from this perspective alone.
However, chaos or unpredictable period in a project is actually a natural stage. Chaos occurs at the beginning of the growth cycle, and helps us to reach a much higher level of complexity.
Because, in the beginning, too much control and too much rigidity closes off potential paths to success and covers our eyes with the proverbial blinders.
As we grow, with the right attitude and planning, we can turn organizational anarchy into clarity, on all the levels necessary for the healthy development of of our business.
So, make yourself a cup of coffee, tea or whatever you like, and sit back, because you’re about to read things that will put you back in control of the project you’re working on and help you set your compass in the direction of success.
Contents Structure your business, from chaos to controlled planning
- Identify your business goals and needs
- Choose the right structure
- Make a business plan
- Start building your team
- Develop a viable financial plan
- Invest in accounting
- Accept the help of technology
- Targets consistency and scalability
1. Identify your business goals and needs
The first step in structuring your small business for success is to set your goals as clearly and as SMARTLY as possible.
What do you want to achieve in the long run?
What about the short term?
What are your financial, capital and ownership goals? What are your growth targets?
My advice is to use mind mapping technique, whether you do it online or on a sheet of paper, to discover your true goals and needs.
It also helps here to make a SWOT analysis, to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and risks of your business idea or the business you already own.
Basically, you get to summarize problems and find potential solutions to implement.
Don’t forget that in these exercises and analyses to consider all the factors that may affect your business: target market, competition, available resources, market trends, customer avatar characteristics, current store data (if any), etc.
Like most plans that concern a business, it starts with the business goals and needs. This is how you form the basis for structuring your business.
Read also: SMART goals: how to set them to achieve a successful business
2. Choose the right structure
When starting a business there are so many things to do and consider that it simply buries you in a pile of information.
Fortunately, there are a few key decisions to prioritize in order to regain some control over this chaos.
You can devise, relatively simply, a structure that leads to growth.
First, think about the legal structure of your business.
You have various legal forms you can go on and each comes with its advantages/disadvantages.
The most common forms of organisation in Romania are PFA, SRL and II (plus some less used ones), so you’ll need to spend some time studying them to find the right form for you.
Second, choose a business model.
This model will determine how your business generates revenue and how you create and maintain customer relationships. Again, the most common business models are product-based, service-based, subscription-based and subscription-based.
Here you consider the goals and needs found in step 1, which you formulate in the form of a vision and mission. You choose the business model best aligned with your vision and mission.
Third, choose an organizational structure.
How will your company be structured? Who reports to whom?
Usually, when we think of organizational structure, the first thing that comes to mind is organization chart. Yes it’s ok. This is a form of visual representation of the structuring strategy the firm is approaching.
Typically and because we’re talking about eCommerce, most online stores start with a simple structure – the owner is the general manager of the company and everyone else is subordinate to him.
Then structures like functional (by department, according to activities), divisional etc. These become useful in small and medium-sized businesses, but also in some large ones.
Well, once you’ve established these 3 things, you incorporate them into your business plan – step 3 of the organizational chaos control plan, and then start creating systems and processes that will allow you to grow AND scale your business.
3. Make a business plan
Now you know what you want to do with your business, but also where you want to go to achieve those goals.
It’s time to detail everything in a business plan.
I’ve said it before, it doesn’t necessarily have to be 20 pages long, but it should include:
- An executive summary – A brief overview of the business, stated mission, target market, key metrics and financial projections.
- A description of the company – here you write down the specific details of your chosen business model and what you sell.
- A market analysis – You detail what you know about your business area, your competition and the market needs you can meet.
- Information about your products / services – Describe in detail what products or services you sell, including pricing structure and unique benefits/features.
- Marketing plan – how do you propose to reach your target audience? With what messages? When? What budgets do you have for marketing?
- Sales plan – What channels will you use: online shop, social media, email, marketplace, etc.? How do you sell? What actions do you take to build customer loyalty?
Management team and responsibilities
- Financial projections – Income statement, cash flow, cost structure, profit and loss projections for the next 3-5 years. Even if you don’t have your own data yet, go by existing trends and data in your market / niche.
- Operational plan – how you will manage the day-to-day activities in the business: production, logistics, inventory, employee policies and customer support, etc.
- Risk management plan – Think upfront about the potential risks and challenges your business might face and plan ahead how to manage them so that if they do happen, you have the fastest reaction time. This can include, for example, image crises, changes in legislation, delays in the supply chain, unusual natural phenomena, etc.
Imagine that your business plan is a living organism, so it is natural that it will evolve over time. So you will need to update and modify it as new elements in the macro-environment or in your business emerge.
If you are just starting out, while you are in the process of creating your business plan, it does not hurt to start the process of registering your company with the Trade Register and obtaining the necessary additional approvals (if necessary, such as for your own food business).
Read also: Business plan, from A to Z. How to start a business without making mistakes
4. Start building your team
This phase happens, most of the time, after you pass the startup stage. It’s always a challenge to bring new people into a business.
There is a reluctance, especially among start-up entrepreneurs, to delegate or fall into the sin of micro-management.
From there comes chaos again and the tendency to run out of time to handle everything that needs to be done in a day.
Your role, as a manager or CEO of the company, is to learn how to delegate tasks and responsibilities to your colleagues and to take responsibility as a leader. To motivate and guide them on the path to growth of the business and yourself as professionals.
You can take care of the employees yourself or outsource to a specialized firm. But no matter who passes the interviews, it still ends up in your hands.
As I said above, you should implement procedures and policies for your employees and new people on your team.
These ensure a smooth onboarding process, because your employees will know clearly what they have to do, when, how, from whom to ask for help and what results you expect from them.
If you don’t tell them, don’t expect them to guess your thoughts 🙂
I’ll leave you below with a discussion on this topic, together with my business partner, Aurelian Motica: How to grow your team – hiring and retention process [Podcast].
5. Develop a viable financial plan
Why are entrepreneurs so afraid of organizational anarchy? Because chaos leads to lost money. And without money, you can’t make or maintain a business and help it grow.
So to take control, you need a clear and realistic picture of the financial situation and projections for your business. Also, keep in mind that besides money, you will also be investing other resources, such as time and energy.
What do you want to achieve with your business, in the short and long term? Do you want to grow fast, cash out and get out of the business? Or do you want to grow it slowly but steadily? What kind of resources are you willing to invest? How much money are you willing to invest?
It’s always realistic to lower your expectations, because miracles rarely happen overnight – success doesn’t fall into your lap just because you want it to.
In addition to your investment plan, make sure you identify all your potential sources of revenue, cost structure, track cashflow and pay constant attention to money-losing cracks, financial forecasts, profit rate and ROI, etc.
6. Invest in accounting
Your bookkeeper or accountant plays a major role in creating clarity for your business. It will help you monitor your progress, keep track of your expenses and make informed decisions about where and in which channels to invest your resources.
We recommend that you always turn to professionals. Of course, you may have the knowledge or want to handle this task yourself. But you have so many things to do in a day, you’ll find it hard to take your time and look at your figures objectively.
That’s how you make mistakes you wouldn’t normally make. That’s how you miss things. And it’s an aspect of business where you can’t afford not to be focused.
Use apps, systems and professionals to delegate accounting tasks.
7. Accept the help of technology
We have evolved enough that we can delegate some of the repetitive, operational activities to technology.
For example, with the unosoft platform, you can build your online store – your sales channel to your customers – while going through all the steps we’ve talked about so far.
Or, if your thought-out business model dictates on-demand custom product production or subscription sales, it provides you with modules built into the platform for a seamless order flow.
Then you’ve got GoBots, which give you advanced options for automating orders, products, customers and customer communication. Technology helps you save time, so you can do what’s really important.
Third-party integrations also allow you to keep accounting, invoicing, inventory, logistics, employee management – tightly linked to the platform.
Allows technology to help you control the chaos that is an online business, for more control.
8. Aim for consistency and scalability
The structure of your business, once set up and tested (and seen to work) will need to retain its consistency, even as it evaluates over time.
Of course, as you grow, new needs, new departments, new types of offerings, customers and channels will emerge. So this structure must incorporate them, remain relevant and useful.
But the core of the structure – the way you do things – should ideally be consistent, because it’s about your style and brand.
Initial processes, systems and procedures, updated regularly, will help you scale, along with automation efforts and financial self-control.
Read also: What does scaling a business actually entail?
Business structure is for many a boring subject.
You have to work with numbers, analysis and data. So you can’t let your imagination run wild.
But at the same time, it’s a vital element in taking control and ordering organizational chaos. Who knows, you may end up liking this aspect of business more than the creative one. 🙂
I hope today’s article will help you, whether you’re about to start a business or already have one.
PS. Take advantage of all the benefits we offer at unosoft. You still don’t know exactly what they are?
See for yourself – you have 15 days free trialwhere you have access to all the features and modules you are interested in.