And let’s talk about control…

I recently read somewhere that the unhappiest people are those who constantly feel the need to control. However, we will deal with business aspects here, not with psychology.

Every business needs control. With small businesses the control function is more blurred and often even conflict of interests occurs (the same person performs and supervises the implementation). Large businesses usually dedicate resources and form separate control units. The lack of control is detrimental to any business. The controlling systems provide continuous or periodic evaluation of how healthy the business system is (starting with the quality of services or products produced and going to eventual potential corruption patterns and conflicts of interests).

Can we control a business that lacks a system? The answer is: no, we cannot. Or what we do and call control is really a subjective evaluation of the situation without a possibility to determine objectively the cause of the problem.

A working business system, which is clear to all participants, must be in place so we can establish control. Such a system should actually be documented (e.g. via procedures, instructions, check lists, software adaptations, etc.). When I always start a new business, I spend as much time as needed in the beginning so that I “translate” the business model in procedures and instructions, and subsequently every month I spare further time to improve these documents, thereby improving the business model itself. Hence, the controlling model is easily formed – I define the important elements as of the current stage of business development elements which should be periodically checked and I review and evaluate them.

Often, when the business is small or start-up, these needs are ignored until the moment, when things do get out of control and managers start asking themselves “where is the problem?”.

So before one talks about control one should define the business processes. Once we do this, the establishment of control will be a matter of systematic technical steps. In some of the following topics I will examine the business processes, how such are created, described/documented, delegated, initiated and, in general, how they actually relate to practical and software applications.

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