March 18, 2019
KNOW HOW

Pulling back the curtain of your business

Ryan Kiitredge

Much like the theater, your business is comprised of both a front stage and a backstage. The front stage of your business is everything your clients or customers see and experience. The backstage, while not as obvious at first, is comprised of the people, systems and technologies keeping your business consistently delivering the front stage results for your customers. While the performance of a show occurs in full display on the front stage, the backstage is where much of the hard work and preparation is done, in support of the front-stage performers delivering the ultimate experience for the audience.

The front-stage performance is certainly critical, as presenting a compelling, unique and valuable experience is what sells tickets and fills the seats. While a tight front stage initially attracts the customers, having an exceptional backstage to ensure results are consistently delivered is what will keep them coming back and telling their friends. Are you taking the time to pull back the curtain periodically and evaluate the backstage of your business to make sure it's properly supporting your front stage operations?

To start this process, you should engage your team in an audit of your front stage by asking them to take on the role of a prospective customer or vendor. What impression does your company's website make? Does it navigate smoothly to convey the message and information intended? From there, assess the entrance and parking to your business with a fresh perspective, and imagine the experience of coming into your business for the first time. How are customers greeted when they call in or walk into your space? Does it create an impression that you are proud of? Every detail from how your team members dress and greet clients, to the cleanliness of your bathrooms and the quality of your marketing materials, make a statement about your attention to detail and how you conduct business. Make sure they reflect positively. Discuss with your team what is already working especially well, then brainstorm ideas on what aspects might be improved, or where there might be a disconnect between the experience you wish to create and the vibe that currently exists.

Next, evaluate your backstage operations by evaluating the people, systems and technologies in place to deliver your goods or service to your customers. It's crucial for a growing business to periodically reassess these items over time, as what is best will naturally evolve, and prior processes may no longer be useful. Is there an opportunity to utilize technology better to systematize and more effectively execute a particular task? Are the current people you have in the right roles best utilizing their unique talents and strengths? Could it be time to invest in more human capital? It is important backstage staff understand how their contributions are making an impact on the clients your business serves, even if they don't typically have direct customer interaction.

As the leader of your business, it is critical you carve out the necessary time to work on the business (as opposed to working in the business) so you may consistently identify process enhancements to keep your machine well-oiled. When the front stage and backstage of your business are in alignment and working together in a unified, mission-driven focus, incredible things are possible. Your business should not only become more profitable, but also a lot more fun!

Ryan Kiitredge is a partner and financial planner with Carr Financial Group in Worcester. He can be reached at ryan@carrfinancial.net.

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