Just because you don’t want to be like McDonald’s – or any other national fast-food chain – doesn’t mean you can’t learn from their practices. [level-members]
Perhaps the most valuable thing you can take away from enterprise-level businesses is their insistence on systematization. From how particular menu items are prepared to how frequently bathrooms are cleaned, these chains ensure consistency in their customer experiences.
You can do the same without having to count the number of onions that go on each burger.
Before you start sending out text or emails willy-nilly with all of your brilliant new policies, consider taking some time to jot down notes as you observe your interactions with staff, vendors, and of course, customers.
Over time you should see themes emerge that guide all of these interactions. You’ll also find that you gather notes from the beginning to the end of each kind of interaction. These become the basis for your guidelines and policies. Chances are, they will be a mix of best practices and prohibited actions.
Before you thrust these ideas onto your team, you should consider getting their feedback and input. You’ll be surprised at the great ideas they have that you’ve overlooked. You’ll also get a lot less attitude if people have had the opportunity to influence the policies that will guide their work day.
Remember also that there’s a line to be walked between demanding exacting adherence to policies and guidelines and empowering employees to exercise judgement in doing the right thing on a case-by-case basis. You never want to hear an employee saying, “Sorry, sir. That’s store policy.” It’s infuriating coming from big bureaucratic organizations. It’s worse – and completely unnecessary – coming from small businesses. (If you feel you need to put rigid policies in place I suggest you may either be hiring or training incorrectly.)