Simple but effective

Creative thinking isn’t the only thing that can boost a company’s success. Plain old structural changes and clear guidelines can help to improve quality and the customers satisfaction. Corporations and larger companies in Finance and Business have clearly defined areas of responsibility. Each of these areas have their own important and specific tasks that contribute to the company’s overall success. 

One of my former clients, the Labstelle in Vienna, is already quite large for a restaurant: two CEOs who are responsible for the business’ vision and success. The office manager is responsible for administrative tasks and and for event management. The marketing agency handles PR. The head chef is responsible for logistics, purchasing, and planning in the kitchen, and the restaurant manager is responsible for HR and scheduling employee shifts. And let’s not forget the servers and the employees working in the kitchen, who are also responsible for taking care of guests on-site and their experience in the restaurant.

Most small restaurants outside of major cities might have two owners who share tasks and responsibilities. That means that just two people are responsible for logistics, purchasing, the kitchen, event management, communications, and marketing. This sounds impossible, and in most cases it is, especially when small business owners are not aware of all the tasks they need to take care of. This is why I often advise my clients with small businesses to have a look at what larger companies are doing in areas like Marketing, for example, so that all of the tasks involved are on their radar. Then, they can decide to focus on the most important ones, or they can look for external support.

Another easy way to increase quality is to create guidelines and workflows. For example,  for the viennacontemporary are fair, which takes place for one week each year in Vienna, we created an employee guide for the people we hired, many of whom would only be working with us for the week of the event. Our goal was to ensure that all of the employees would be on the same page and would have the same essential information. We wanted to get to know our standard of service orientation and to know what we think is an outstanding guest experience. The 50-page guide covers the entire week of the event in detail and addresses FAQs. It also includes important information such as opening times, lists of all of the individual events taking place throughout the week, dress code guidelines, and a guide for how to interact with guests. This helps our employees with their tasks because they know what is important and how we would like certain things and services to be done. Of course, a small event with 100-200 employees doesn’t need a 50-page guide. But even a mini manual can be helpful for small events and can improve quality. For a pop-up event that we did for the Viennese art dealer Anton Hofstätter, we had a 2-page guide that covered: how to greet guests, how to explain the auction system, how the barista at the event could help the guests feel more welcome. Although steps like these may not be particularly exciting or revolutionary, they are easy to implement and have a significant impact. Once you’ve defined the guidelines once, you may just have to tweak a few things for different events.

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