What don't you know?
What do you need to run a business?
What do your customers need to tell you?
What do you tell your suppliers? What do you need from them?
What about your staff? What do they need to do their job properly and what do they need to send back to you?
We’ve all had those situations where the email arrived after we committed to the order, or wasted hours phoning an incorrect phone number, or any number of other situations where a little bit more detail would have made life so much easier. So whatever the answer to these questions, you can definitely run your business better when you do have the information you need.
Information is the lifeblood of your business, and the way it flows through your business says a lot about the health of your business. In fact, analysing the information flow is often an easier way to pinpoint inefficient processes. For example, a long lead time in invoicing may have its origins in an overly flexible sales process.
A Forgotten Fundamental
Having the right information at the right place, at the right time, is so important in business that it has become an assumption, particularly in our digital age where we have an overwhelming number of options ranging from email to video to get the information out. However just having these options doesn’t necessarily mean the right information is at the right place at the right time.
With so many options available to send information, we have forgotten just how fundamental it is to deliver it in ways that are actually useful. How much time is lost searching for that one paragraph in that one email that you need right now?
We understand the importance of our products and ensure they are the best they can be. We understand the importance of our customers and look after them carefully. Underpinning those understandings, and in fact all our business activities is having the right information, at the right place, at the right time – so shouldn’t we put in at least as much effort into understanding our information flows as we put into our products and customers?
It’s time to take stock and see if we are really doing what we need to do with the information that flows into, around, and out of our businesses.