What kind of title is that: A small business must compartmentalize its duties? I started to think about the compartmentalization of duties after working for 10 days in an account management role with a local small business.
What I noticed is that this business owner had a REAL business. Real invoices, real checks, a real bank account, real receivables, real payables, real everything. The one thing it was missing was real people to run the various departments. Bring in the sales consultant – that’s me (I love it when that happens – from account management straight to sales consultant!)
This operation on the backend was a one man show. The owner did everything from sales to collections. From ordering product to delivering it to the job site. He did have a couple of supervisors who were awesome workers but they only worked the crew they didn’t actually participate in anything that wasn’t classified as skilled labor. Nor did they volunteer to!
Once the owner returned to work I took off my account management hat and put on my sales consulting hat. This owner was accidentally running his own business into the ground by not dividing his day into compartments. These compartments should include sales, customer service, vendor interaction, accounts receivable, and accounts payable.
As a sales consultant when you see something that is wrong you have to bring it to the attention of the business owner. This particular problem is easy to fix if you can get the owner to have some discipline regarding his/her time. The object here is to have the business owner place his/her duties into buckets or compartments that must be strictly adhered to on a daily basis.
As an example since this was a small contractor then ordering, receiving inventory and picking up that inventory should be done in the morning. Selling needs to be done when your prospect are typically available but it needs to be within a set time. Accounts payable and receivables should be done at night or on the weekends when it is quite in the house. Emergency customer service should be done immediately but normal service should also have its set time.
In a big business everyone knows their role, their job description, and what is expected. In a small business the owner also knows what has to be done. As a sales consultant my role is to make sure that they live up to those commitments by placing each duty into its own compartment. Those compartments have to be dealt with in a timely but orderly manner. If you don’t compartmentalize the duties you will start running around like a chicken with your head cut off. No business can survive without its head.
David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting