January 19, 2021

Lean Management for small businesses: 4 actionable methods

Yesterday I had an amazing idea: Can you implement lean management for small businesses? Did you know that I attended engineering school? One of my favorite subject when I was in engineering school was lean management. In fact, I even wanted to become a lean management consultant! Now, that I'm a small business owner, I realized that you can apply lean management on small businesses to get great business results. And today, I'll share some tips with you on how you can do the same!

What is lean management?

Lean Management is an approach to reduce waste and to improve constantly for more efficiency and a higher quality of products. Yes, products because lean management is usually used in factories. Now, I realized that service providers can take some principles of lean management and apply it to their businesses! How awesome is that?

Four methods to implement lean management for small businesses

Here are some easy methods for you to implement lean management in your business right away:

Method #1: Standardize processes

By standardizing processes, you'll be able to perform tasks correctly every time. If you have a SOP in place, you'll also be able to outsource quickly (give your contractor the SOP and they should be able to start right away!). Here are some simple questions that your SOP should answer:

  • What is the goal?
  • Who is the SOP for? (Roles and Responsibilities)
  • What is needed to start the process? Any requirements?
  • All the steps in the process (take into consideration scenarios that might happen!)
  • Troubleshooting guide
Method #2: Identify waste

In lean management, we have the goal to eliminate all the waste. This is done by looking through all processes and identifying waste. Here are the types of waste:

T - Transport

I - Inventory

M - Motion

W - Waiting

O - Overproduction

O - Overprocessing

D - Defects

Of course, not all types of waste are applicable on small businesses. When I work with clients, I usually note the amount of manual work to get something done. The main question is: "How can you automate a process?" On-Boarding Processes can be automated easily by creating workflows using tools like Dubsado. A lack of systems in the background will also lead to waste of time. This is why systems set-ups are so important for small businesses that are ready to grow.

Lean Management for small businesses: Identify Waste
Method #3: Level workload

Most entrepreneurs work in cycles. This means that they will launch a high ticket offer, then a medium ticket offer, then a small ticket offer before starting the cycle again. When I work with clients, I make sure that their workload stays the same all the time. This can be done by planning out at least one quarter in advance. This way, you can plan the workload and shift time intensive tasks to when the estimated workload is on the lower end. By leveling workload, you avoid a burnout and have more energy to deliver quality work.

Method #4: Time block for continuous improvement

The last method is to time block one hour each month to look over your processes. How can you improve processes? Is there a better way to do it? Is there anything that is necessary? Is there anything that is using up all your energy? Is outsourcing a method to save up on energy and time? Or is investing in a tool the way to go? Can you automate anything? By investing in continuous improvement all the time, you'll be able to grow your business faster - without burning out.

What do you think? Will you implement anything? If you are looking to get your systems built, look no further. Send me a message and we can talk about what you need and how I can streamline your processes and take your business to the next level.

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