Organize Your Business By Looking Forward, Not Backwards

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    Nov 22, 2012
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Business organization sounds like such an easy thing. After all, we can all organize things so that they work pretty well. But in fact, careful business organization can mean the difference between just getting by and making a real success of things.

Small business often grow rather haphazardly. You will often find in medium size businesses that things are done in rather odd ways, as a hangover from the days when the company was growing and it was all hands to the pumps. For example, the fleet manager may also be in charge of ordering print, because in times past, old Harry used to do both of those things and no-one has every thought to change it.  People stick to the way things were always done, instead of structuring the business to be responsive and fit.

I recall dealing with a fairly substantial business during the late 1990's, and being rather perplexed that we always received typewritten invoices from them, clearly produced on a manual typewriter. This was at a time when computer generated, or at least word processed, invoices were the norm. It transpired that the elderly owner of the business insisted on writing up and sending out every invoice himself, and he couldn't manage new fangled equipment. That's rather an extreme example of poor organization, but imagine the waste of valuable business experience which should have been devoted to managing the company.  All because because one guy was doing a job which should have been done by someone many levels below him.

Most businesses, if you examine them closely, will be organized in a way which handicaps their performance to some extent.

Very flat reporting structures are a common organizational mistake. This means that lots of people all on a similar level report to just one person. This is a highly inefficient and demotivating way to organize personnel. Research indicates that we should have no more than seven or eight people directly reporting to one person, and fewer is better. More, and you effectively lose control – human beings just aren't made to deal with large numbers of direct reports.

A better structure is more pyramid shaped, this allows decision making and responsibility to be taken at the lowest possible level, which is a recipe for success in most businesses. Bert the car valeting supervisor shouldn't have to go to the CEO when he needs to order more car wax – he should be able to do that himself as part of his responsibilities.

Get your organizational structure right, and your staff will be happier and your business will be more efficient.

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Virginia Montgomery is a stay at home mom who enjoys writing articles for Interesting Articles.

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