I have once again had the pleasure of being involved in a prestigous business awards competition as a judge. The process involves working with a co-judge to read written submissions and select some short listed businesses. There are different categories of businesses based on size and the entire awards program is focused on small to medium businesses. After the short listed businesses are identified we do the really fun part; visiting these businesses in person. This is an education experience that is difficult to match. The businesses are diverse and involved in all sorts of products and services. When I tell a friend or colleague about the experience of being a judge I am almost always asked the question that goes something like this, “what is the one thing that makes these businesses so good?” Well, after a few years of doing this judging I could write a book. If I really distil the primary factor from all the others it comes down to these; systems and processes. I know it is not the most sexy thing. Many expect me to reply with things like ‘social media strategy,’ websites, employee remuneration, brand design, mobile content, and a whole bunch of other stuff that is hip and current. However none of these compare to a foundation of solid systems and processes. All of the best businesses have them and that is why they are competitive, successful, productive and capable of generating predictable results. Systems and processes are not every person’s favourite area in which to work but there are few areas of business that have more of an impact on how long a business thrives. Systems and processes are pervasive so even you really enjoy doing your marketing activities, without systems and processes you are wasting time and probably not able to measure return on your investment. Do not get in the trap of having to invent or re-invent your business for every eventuality. If you have good systems and processes you will be agile and better able to respond to changes in the micro and macro business environment. Contact me if you would like to discuss systems and processes in your business or have ideas about how small to medium businesses can create and activate systems and processes more effectively.