Leveraging Fortune 500 Business Practices for your Start-Up Business: Reduce the Need for Fire Fighting

What if when you started your business you understood that you’d make mistakes but made the decision to make each mistake only once?

What if you also decided to do your best once to insure any employees you (eventually) hire could learn from the mistakes you’ve made?

Fortune 500 companies understand how this mindset and discipline can significantly reduce the amount of time, energy, rework, and money they spend dealing with unexpected problems and issues.

In large companies, the process – typically called Root Cause, Corrective Action (RCCA) – begins with whoever is accountable in the organization for leading these events working with the manager in that part of the organization where a problem occurred to write out a succinct description of the problem.

The next step is to convene a group who has knowledge of the problem area to identify the root cause, brainstorm corrective actions, develop a corrective action plan, and implement the change.

One of the most important attributes of successful RCCA processes is that the operating change is then documented in a way that whoever does this the next time has the benefit of the analysis AND the process change is communicated to all affected employees.

This is even more essential for the micro-entrepreneur who hopes to grow his business.

By completing a RCCA every time there is a procedural problem, an entrepreneur is developing a best practice for his business, one that he’ll follow and one that can be followed by his future employees.

Root Causes to Problems and their Corrective Actions are not often rocket science, even in organizations that produce rockets. They typically address some of the most common issues:

  1. I forgot to … (create a checklist for that process)
  2. I did THIS before THAT and … (create a process chart for that process)
  3. I couldn’t find or I spent an hour looking for … (a place for everything)
  4. I didn’t know who to call when … (point of contact list)
  5. I forgot to verify … (process checkpoint)

Remember YOU made this mistake and it’s a business you started and probably know more about than anyone you’ll hire. Is the impact of having every employee you every hire make the same mistake more or less costly to your business than the time it takes to document the learning and make it available at the right place, at the right time?

$1,000 Start-Ups has a host of ideas on how to get your business started and operating successfully.

Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant. Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.


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