I find it very difficult to put our vision into a single paragraph, strapline or mission statement, so I have introduced a different way of showcasing what the vision of the company looks like. Let me introduce you to the Green Umbrella Wheel of Excellence which is a new productivity tool and a very visual way of making sure that all aspects of my business are running smoothly.
So how does it work?
The wheel of Excellence is split into the four main areas of my business. Each sector has numerous segments to which we manage the vision and goals of the company.
We have various KPI's (key performance indicators) for each segment of the wheel and at the end of each month / quarter we ask all those customers, staff, freelancers and staff to place a simple traffic light vote of either red, amber or green for each KPI that is relevant to them.
A red vote will symbolise that we are not meeting targets and this particular KPI will need urgent attention.
A yellow vote will symbolise that we are meeting targets, but not exceeding expectations.
A green vote symbolises that we are exceeding expectations in all areas.
Obviously our main objective is to have every section of the wheel completed with a “green” sticker, but we are also realistic!
To explain the sections in a bit more detail.
- Helpfulness – Are my team, and me, helpful towards clients? Do we provide enough information to help them resolve any queries they may have. To make this section green I would expect my clients and staff to feel that they can call, email or use the website alive chat service at ay time without hesitation. We perhaps would be receiving regular testimonials and reviews on our Facebook page and Linkedin account to say how helpful we have been.
- Value for money – do my clients feel that they are getting value for money? Do my staff and freelancers feel that they are being paid enough for the services that they provide?
- Innovation – I am very keen on making sure that I have my clients in mind at all times and that their business is being introduced to knew technologies. Perhaps we have built a website for a customer and during the month we have seen a plugin that would work brilliantly on their site. Or there is a new social networking tactic or update that has been introduced so we will implement this on behalf of our clients. I want to be creative, not just “run of the mill” for our clients.
- Response Times – This area is really about managing clients expectations of delivery time and keeping them informed along the way. Did they receive a production schedule date? Were they updated each week about the progress of their design, printed matter, website build etc? In addition to this I want to make sure that we are responding to staff quickly to resolve any issues they may have. Are we producing quotes quickly enough as per our KPI's set out? There are a lot of areas to make this section green.
- Loyalty – I want my staff and suppliers to work with Green Umbrella because they want to work with us, not because we are the best price. For my staff, I want them to feel part of something special, so it is not “just a job”. Likewise for clients. It is important to me that my clients are working with Green Umbrella because they feel looked after, have a fabulous service, they feel that they can pick up the phone to get an instant response, and that we are always thinking about how we can improve their business with innovative ideas – this combination symbolises loyalty.
Every single business will not function smoothly without its processes and procedures in place. We are forever tweaking our systems to enhance them in various ways. Whether it is managing the diary, introducing new systems to “proof” things to clients or even improving the way in which we communicate to our customers. If we are not measuring the different sectors of our business for the smooth running of our process and procedures, how will we know what needs improving?
The most valuable asset of any business is the people behind it. I invest my time and money into both staff, social mediators and freelancers to make sure that they are happy.
- Management Support – do my staff, social mediators and suppliers feel supported? Have problems been resolved quickly and efficiently? Are we having regular 121's or meetings?
- Trust and Respect – do my staff, social mediators and suppliers feel that they are trusted and respected? If not, why not?
- My job is interesting – we have lost a couple of people due to the job becoming a little tedious. Sometimes social mediators get very little feedback from their clients and therefore complacency sets in. If the clients does not care about their social media activities it is very difficult to feel motivated about the contract and you soon lose interest. It is important to make sure that we are recognising these signs so that we can implement an injection of “oomph” to benefit both clients and social mediators.
- Feel part of a team – Some of my social mediators & freelancers work from home, which can sometimes be a lonely place. Making sure that all my people are meeting face to face on a monthly basis, that they are writing crossovers in a private Facebook group daily, that we are having regular “team building days” and the weekly education slots will hopefully keep this section green throughout the year.
- My ideas are recognised – It is important that all of my team feel as if they can put ideas forward if they have a creative moment. I want to make sure that new ideas are recognised and acknowledged. If we decide that an idea will not be implemented into the business, then we will explain our reasons why. We encourage the sharing of great content, articles, new software or tools etc.
- Working here is fun – what is the point of going to work if you dislike the environment that you are working in? We have a reputation of a quirky, fun environment and we wish to continue this throughout the year. If this section ever turns to yellow or red then I will be bitterly disappointed.
The financial side of the business is probably my weakest area as I am not a very materialistic person. Saying that, there is no point in running a business if it is not profitable and you are seeing the financial rewards. If I want to build a company that I am proud of, then the financial side of the business is key to it's success.
- Maximise Profit – we have set KPI's for measuring what is red, amber and green for profit. We know our break even level to cover expenditure and we know what figures and targets we would like to adhere to.
- Debt Management – it's ok getting sales, but if clients do not pay the bills then there is very little point in doing the work in the first place. If our aged accounts are all above 30 days then this area will be green, 60 days will be yellow, and if we have any debt in 90 days+ then this area will be red.
- Hitting sales targets – we have a turnover target which sees an increase by 30% each year. We have set KPI's for last years sales figures, so if we do not exceed last years figures = red, if we increase figures from last year = yellow. If we hit 30% increase on the previous year = green.
- Manage Expenditure – Are we keeping track of our expenditure? Where is the money going? If I am conducting free health checks, are the clients coming to me, or am I travelling to them? Are we keeping track of software prices, utility bills, suppliers fees etc are there alternatives that could be better for the business? We have set budgets for different areas of the business such as marketing, advertising, IT etc. If we are under these budgets in all areas then we give ourselves a green sticker, if we are slightly over then we have a yellow sticker and if the budget has been abused or spent in a ridiculous way then a red sticker will be allocated.
I have always been very transparent within my business, therefore I have decided to publicise an updated version of my wheel at least quarterly, with an explanation of what is working, what is not working and what we intend to do to improve.