“Replication: the act of copying or reproducing something”.
You’ve got the Consistent quality, and have worked out your “consistency task list“. You’ve developed your “Predictability process catalog“, and have figured out which series of tasks to perform to produce a predictable outcome. Now what?
Well… if you have actually done these things, take a breath, and take a bow. Many Small Businesses will never – NEVER – make it this far. They will get by on a wing and a prayer, riffing their entire business off the top of their head, by the seat of their pants. And in truth, that isn’t really all that bad.
They’ll make a profit… of sorts. They won’t end up broke, they’ll meet their payroll (with a few slip ups or delays here and there), and they’ll even manage to pay a mortgage, or put some kids through school. The problem is that, after five, fifteen or FIFTY years. they won’t be doing much better than staying slightly ahead of the break-even point, year after year.
Expand and Conquer
Yes, it does beat the alternative… but not by much. And let me be honest with you: even if you have mastered the C of Consistency and the P of Predictability, that will not guarantee that, after months, years or decades, you’ll be any better off with Your Small Business. Because CPR consists of three elements, each of which are equally important, and depend upon each other.
Replication comes last because, just as Predictable delivery requires Consistent quality to, well… deliver, without the catalog of processes which ensure Predictable delivery, there’s nothing to Replicate. In the CPR method Replication, like Consistency and Predictability, conveys multiple meanings.
When we discuss Replication, we mean the ability to copy, or to reproduce:
- the catalog of processes which guarantee both high quality and dependable delivery
- the manner in which you analyzed your business and created the Consistency Task List and Predictability Process Catalog
- the actions required to provide your customers and clients with the output of your Consistency and Predictability – every day, every time, every product, every service
- the understanding of how to apply these principles to your business, old tasks and new, as you acquire new customers/clients and develop new tasks/services
- the respect for the needs and desires of your customers and clients which inspire you to apply the principles of CPR to Your Small Business in the first place
The reason we chose the word Replication instead of other equally good choices – like Reliability or Repeatability – is to stress the importance of viewing Your Small Business as a living, breathing organism. Small Businesses stumble and fall when they think they’ve “made it “.
They become comfortable with a broad client list, large market share, strong brand recognition or consistent sales – and believe that they’ve mastered all the fundamentals, and have conquered the world.
But then… the market shifts. Or competition cuts into their market share, or starts to steal away their customer base. If all they know is what they’ve done, and not how they’ve done it, by the time they figure out what has changed and make adjustments, it may be too late.
Replication, therefore, is not simply figuring out how to do it again. It’s understanding how it was done, so that not only can the processes be repeated — either by other people as your staff expands, or at other locations as your BUSINESS expands — but they can be modified, adjusted or changed altogether, to help Your Small Business keep pace with the shifts in the economy, the market and the needs and desires of your customers.
Method to Your Madness Method
Replication comes from developing workflows from the processes in the Predictability Process Catalog. Just as you go from the individual tasks required to deliver a letter, for example, to the groups of tasks which make up the letter writing process, understand that the process itself is only one small part of your communication workflow.
The communication workflow might look something like this:
- Identify target market
- Develop message campaign
- Deliver message
- Evaluate results of campaign
In the first part of the workflow – “Identify target market” – you might involve your Financial Review process, which may consist of such tasks as “Open Quickbooks“, “Prepare Quarterly Report“, “Determine Most Profitable Client Quartile (top 25%)”, “Analyze Demographics of Top Quartile“, and so forth.
The “Identify target market” workflow may involve other processes, such as your Business Networking Review process, in which you review the business cards you’ve collected and the names of those contacts you have actually followed up with, either with a brief phone call or perhaps a face to face over coffee or lunch.
The advantage of creating workflows from your Predictability Process Catalog is to remind yourself that everything you do is in the context of the two fundamental objectives of every business, large or small: acquiring more customers, and making more money.
Steady As She Flows
The purpose of identifying all the essential tasks (Consistency), creating processes composed of sequences of related tasks (Predictability) and, finally, developing workflows from these processes is to remove the “abstract and arbitrary” from the effort of conducting business. All business may be work, but the work shouldn’t be any harder than it has to be.
Successful business don’t thrive and prosper by accident — they identify what they do well and do it better… and identify what they dont do well, and either improve or eliminate the inefficient processes.
Right now, it probably seems like either a mystery, or an insurmountable task. Well, so did walking, once upon a time. But don’t worry: you develop the CPR for Your Small Business the same way you mastered the fine art of walking — one step at a time.