Rules Mean Something: Apply them to your SME

Without rules in society, there’d be chaos on the streets. Crime rates wouldn’t rise, but only because even murder wouldn’t be considered a crime. Looting would become commonplace, the equivalent of carrying out your weekly shop. Economies would be in tatters, former politicians would be hiding in bombproof sheds, and there’d more burnt-out buildings than in an aerial photo of Basra circa 2004.

Rules are, despite what your mate with dreadlocks and a Bob Marley tattoo likes to tell you, a good thing. And if you’re just starting out in the business world, a few tried and tested restrictions could be what saves your entrepreneurial venture from failure.

Startup operational management

According to figures from Forbes, around 80 per cent of businesses will fail within the first 18 months of opening their doors. And one of their biggest missteps is a refusal to establish a systematic framework of rules and regulations, a safety net that can save them when they fall.

With that in mind, we’ve concocted a few strategies to help you implement tried and tested organisational strategies in your fledgling business.

On the payroll

Despite never being on the frontline of your operation, the HR department keeps the day-to-day operations in your business ticking over – and it requires proper funding if it’s to be run efficiently.

Back in the bad old days, when an open plan office meant having a slightly roomier cubicle, HR departments were notoriously laborious. The average administrative assistant would spend their day manually writing out paycheques, bothering workers for their personal details and stringently keeping the company purse strings intact via a dusty old ledger.

With the advancement of technology, however, the landscape has shifted for HR. Payroll software exists which can minimise the rigmarole of manual admin. This software will track all employees’ coming and goings, from KPIs to absences, so give it a look to keep your HR department at the peak of its organisational powers.

Plenty of paperwork
photo credit: Ashley Fisher / Flickr

Avoid serial managerialism

Political activist and writer David Graeber has written against the process of serial managerialism several times, giving plenty of examples of workplaces that were toppled thanks to the choking point of middle managers.

Hire too many bureaucrats and your core group of workers will feel constricted by too many rules, leading to a business structure that slowly stultifies over the years.

Many middle managers feel the need to justify their employment, and will create new systems that give them more to do. This could even include putting themselves in charge of a department they’ve got little knowledge of.

Don’t allow this to happen. In the long run it’ll decrease your profit margins and see the more useful members of your organisation walk from your company. After all, with good organisation comes great responsibility.