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I haven’t got the time for management systems and ISO certification … or do I?

Editors Note: Expert content needs an expert content writer and Yorkshire Powerhouse is pleased to publish this business advice article on being ISO Certified, kindly written by a real expert in his field – Roger Etchells from Episode Consultants Ltd.

Please Contact Roger for any aspect of ISO Certification, Quality Management, Environmental or Health & Safety systems – click on the advert links above or below – please mention Yorkshire Powerhouse when you make contact.

Planning more important than ever

All businesses, large and small, are finding ways to deal with the current situation and continue trading. As we adapt to the enforced new social order, ‘business as usual’ is going to look different when we emerge from the crisis we all face. Right now, it is all about survival, and planning for the future is an integral part of that.

We have spoken with a number of business owners that recognise that, because they simply can’t do the normal day job, now have the time to do things that have been put off due to time constraints. Of course, cash flow and long term viability of the business is paramount, and this is forcing businesses to think about the business strategy in the short and long term.

As a result, we thought we would put together some guidance on the subject, drawing from ISO.

ISO management system standards provide a structured way to arrive at your business strategy in a simple but powerful way. They then go on to provide a framework for putting things in place to deliver your strategic and operational objectives. Done right they really are a great way to plan.

Now’s not the time for management systems or to ‘talk strategy’, surely?

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An annoying adage, but nevertheless true, is “failing to plan is planning to fail”. We are all going to have to make changes; some small, some fundamental. To make the changes we need a way to approach the task.

Many business owners are put off by people talking about strategic planning. Consultants and MBA courses make it seem a black art that you need a degree to be able to do it.

It shouldn’t be that complicated.

The approach is very straightforward:

1. What environment does the business operate in?

A sensible starting point is ‘what’s happening that affects the business’? There are no rules on how this should be done, and the easiest approach is to carry out a SWOT analysis. Right now, threats are critical to think about, but so too are your strengths – what are they, how do you retain those strengths & make the most of them? What weaknesses are there & how can they be addressed or minimised?

2. Who is interested in the business?

Who are they? Why are they interested? What do they want from us? What do we want from them? Customers will top that list, but owners, staff, suppliers, the government, even your insurers, all have a stake-holding in your business. Some impose things you have to take into account such as complying with the law, paying wages, and so on. What are the important things the stakeholders expect, & how do you meet those expectations?

3. Opportunities & risks

Having done a SWOT and thought about your stakeholders, you can then think about the opportunities and risks you face.

That’s all very good, so what?

Put plans in place

Having identified the risks and opportunities the next step is setting objectives and putting plans in place to

  • Achieve the objectives
  • Minimise/remove the risks
  • Maximise the opportunities

A useful tip is when setting objectives, make sure they are SMART. It is important to think about

  • what will be done;
  • what resources will be required;
  • who will be responsible;
  • when it will be completed;
  • how the results will be evaluated.

Write them down, and keep going back to them. Are they the right ones, where are we against the objectives & what are the next steps?

Take action

The whole point of the activity described above is to make the right things happen. Your action plans will be much more useful if have put this level of thought into them.

If you have the time for management systems, we’ve got the tools to help!

Thanks to our sponsorship partner, we have access to some simple templates that guide you through this process. We’d be delighted to give them to you and chat things through on the phone or via video conferencing – just contact us for more help.

Taking time for management systems in adversity is the most positive step you can take to protecting your business – seek out professional support to help guide you and avoid the pitfalls.

Straight talking advice from Yorkshire Powerhouse

Now you’ve read our article on finding time for management systems – have you any more questions?

Here at Yorkshire Powerhouse, we’re happy to help as much as possible – is there anything else we can do to help you, do you have any further questions or can we help introduce you to an expert – please let us know:

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