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DIY: What Works For Your Home Won’t Work For Your Business

March 2, 2023
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Few things are quite as satisfying as building a piece of furniture from scratch, fitting a new kitchen on your own, or some other DIY project that you managed without needing to involve the experts. Many entrepreneurs take this same level of pride in creating and running a business, believing they can “go with the flow” instead of creating formal processes or involving third parties to help them finetune operations.

While this approach can have its merits over the short term, it rarely works in a company’s favor over the long run. Here’s why — and a better alternative.

You’re not a startup anymore
Agile methodology and the lean startup model have encouraged the idea that a DIY approach can be a practical way to do business. They can be a great way to test out ideas and get feedback as quickly as possible without worrying about the small details, which is useful when a business is first getting off the ground. But this doesn’t work once you move to a bigger scale — eventually, neglecting the small details can lead to grave problems, such as micromanaging or overworked employees.

One of the most important parts of a business is the transition from a small startup to an established organization with established processes. As more people are hired, more products or services emerge, and a customer base grows, an organization’s complexity increases. Its processes should cater to that.

A different skillset is required to lead a bigger company. Leadership studies show that founders don’t always make the best CEOs; partly because they’re unwilling to abandon the DIY approach they used to start their business initially.

Think about the long-term
The problems associated with a DIY approach largely come down to a company’s transition from what works in the short run to what makes sense over the long run.

A simple example would be that a DIY sales process means you have to reinvent the wheel every time you’re on the phone with a customer. This might work well for a startup that only has one salesperson, who is learning about which methods are most effective at generating customers. However, as the team expands, the original salesperson needs to create a more formal process to help future employees be successful without them having to go through the same learning curve or reinvent the wheel. This may mean preparing scripts to boost efficiency and streamline the sales process.

Another example is investing in training or technology instead of trying to do everything manually. This may seem like too big a demand on resources in the short run, when revenue is low and the team is small. But as a company grows, failing to make the investment will make the company inefficient and hold it back.

However, organizations shouldn’t make the mistake of trying to carry out these transformations the DIY way either. It’s tough to find blind spots and inefficiencies when the processes you’re examining are part of your daily reality.

The alternative to DIY For a company to maintain its success over the long run, it needs to continually examine its operations to ensure they’re efficient and yielding the desired results.

There are four main elements to pay attention to:

  1. Processes: Includes infrastructure and systems you use in daily tasks.

  2. People: Includes your leadership style and corporate culture.

  3. Technology: Includes the software you use and whether there’s room to automate tasks.

  4. Customer experience: Includes the processes you follow to nurture relationships with customers and give them a positive experience.

When you bring a third-party consultant, they can examine these elements through fresh eyes and optimize them. This generally includes methods like process mapping, which involves modeling the exact processes followed to perform daily tasks to find ways they could be more efficient or bring better results.

Say goodbye to DIY

Even if a DIY approach has served your company well in the past, that doesn’t mean you can rely on it to work forever. Companies go through different phases as they evolve, and larger organizations almost always need more complex and formal processes. To implement them correctly, working with a third-party consultancy is a must.

At Cornerstone Paradigm Consulting, we’ve worked with countless organizations of different sizes belonging to various sectors to help them identify blind spots and solidify their operations. To find out more about how we can help you, contact us to book a free consultation.