Consistency is Key for Rapidly Increasing Growth

On a road trip, sometimes you look for the comforts of home. So you’re craving your favorite brisket taco from that restaurant with locations all over, and you stop by the store near your hotel. And when you start to dig in, something's not right. The taste is off - or this location serves it on the inferior corn tortilla instead of flour. (Don’t even get me started on why corn is not optimal - and don’t be a hater either - we can disagree and still get along right?)

You expect to get the same taco served the same way. The reason so many restaurants succeed across this great land of ours is because they care about the customer experience and work hard to ensure that it is the same in Dallas, Oregon as in Dallas, Texas.

The consistency is key.

Disappointment multiplies if it is not the same.

This holds true for your brand and everything you create. From how you talk and treat your prospects and customers to how you write a brochure.

Consistency is key. It matters. It makes a difference in growing your business.

Your customers and prospects expect a superior experience that helps their business.

To meet those expectations and grow, you have to have a process that can be picked up and repeated by others. Scaling requires consistent execution. To scale rapidly it becomes even more important.

Here’s how to make sure you have the basics in place that ensures a repeatable winning formula.

Set the direction

The direction and big picture have to come from the top of the company. Without a set of clear objectives, your team will be chasing their tails in different directions. If there is no direction - they set their own course based on their goals. People running all over trying to herd cats.

The first and most important step to creating consistency is to outline for your team the goals or business objectives of the organization. This will ensure that everyone knows what they are doing every day contributes in some way to a goal. It can be a high level outline that has no more than five goals that everyone can remember. The simpler the better. For example - "Our revenue goal this year is to reach seven figures for the first time." This is clear, simple and all strategies and tasks develop from this goal.

Another useful thing to do is to create a guide or a pocket sized reference that focuses your thinking that team members can refer to. Consistent direction leads the company to success.

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Document the process - writing it down is key

When you walked into that restaurant hoping to get the same great tasting brisket taco you get at home, the way the restaurant makes sure it is the same great taste is to follow a recipe. A corporate chef wrote everything down so that people in far flung locations could follow it. And make sure it tasted the same every time.

Your team needs to have the same discipline.

Make sure that your team members capture the steps they take to complete a project. Have them write down all the tricks they use to shorten the process as well. These steps should be captured in a Google document that can be referenced and referred to by other team members.

Another useful piece is to add an approximate time it takes to complete the task. This gives you an idea of the resources needed to get things done. It can be used to set pricing and margins as well as planning for future work.

Have a process that people follow every time

Having a written recipe to follow creates a step by step method to ensure consistency. By having a written living breathing document that covers most every process your team undertakes it creates a process that can be followed by others.

You can then use these outlines to train the next group that will take over their jobs as they move up through the organization. It also ensures that nothing falls through the cracks if someone is out unexpectedly. It ensures that customers can rely on your team for the same excellent service and product, every time.

Use the power of the Cloud to share

Once you have done the hard work of capturing the major processes it is important to keep these in a place where everyone can find them. It should have a reference so that anyone can find what they are looking for. Keep all the documents in a Google document or on a Dropbox account for easy access.

Make sure that all documents are reviewed and kept up to date. At least once a year, have a review and make sure nothing has changed significantly. Without a consistent review process, you run the risk of having to redo all the work that only needs to be done once.

Make sure that everyone knows where to find it and create a table of contents with a search function so that people can easily find what they are after. When new team members are added, they should be trained on the system as part of a new employee on-boarding process.

Create a swipe file that allows others can follow

Another way to create and maintain a consistent brand presence to the world is to keep a database of images and documents that your team has assembled that ensure the same look and feel for your company. A visual scorecard. Things fit together. It makes certain that people aren’t off using corn tortillas when they should be using 

This cloud enabled resource can also have sales scripts, customer service emails, product information sheets, technical documents and anything that can benefit multiple teams across the organization.

These elements can be re-used and should match your brand guidelines. 

Create brand guidelines

One of the key documents that should be a part of your plan is a set of brand guidelines that drive the outward look and feel of your company. This document has all the information that your team would need to set up sales materials, emails, trade show signage and even promotional giveaways.

The brand guidelines should have the following elements:

Logo sets - both in color and black and white along with the color palette to be used

Graphic elements - other icons and elements that can be used in documents

Images - a set of images that have been approved for use in creating communication elements

Typography - the correct fonts to be used in all communication

Copy tone and style - a guide that sets the voice to be used in communications i.e. friendly, casual

Positioning and personality - gives team members the on brand language to use

There can also be a set of templates for everything from presentations to emails that can shorten the time it takes to create anything and streamline the process - freeing up the team for more important tasks.

This step also ensures that you don’t have to worry if someone is going to say the wrong thing or put an image of the devil on the sales brochure.

Use technology to plan and monitor your work

Another step that can help to ensure consistency is to use a project management program to set timelines and deadlines for getting work done. Tools like Asana, Trello and Basecamp become a source of record and easily connect teams that can be all over the world. The power of technology can create efficiency and consistency for any daily task. The can also keep track of how long it takes to complete tasks and projects. This can be useful in resource planning and cost estimation.

With all of the tools and technology available today, the ability to maintain consistency is easier than ever. Sure it takes some time, but the payoff is when your customers rave about how your service is superior to others. Then you can sit back and truly enjoy that brisket taco in foreign lands.

Til next time.

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