When it comes to running a business, be it a blog or a brick and mortar shop, there are many considerations that are important: understanding your customer, managing the finances, planning for the years to come and more. There is, however, one thing that all successful businesses do well: consistency.
What does consistency mean in business?
There are three different ways in which consistency is key to a business.
The first is in terms of simplification. If you are consistent throughout your business processes, then your business is easier to run. If there’s a task you need to complete, then following the same steps for this task – steps that you know will produce optimal results – makes that task far easier than it would be if you were trying to determine the right process each time. Similarly, being able to revert to a template when sending an email is reassuring and helps to increase productivity; all you have to focus on is the new information in the email rather than formatting.
Secondly, consistency is important to your customers’ or clients’ perception of your business. If your business is not consistent, then this can reflect poorly on your company. However, if your business always does things in a specific way, then this helps to reinforce professionalism.
Lastly, consistency is key to recognition. Customers want to feel that they know what to expect from a company, and that the company is familiar and trustworthy. To achieve this, you can use consistent branding, such as always using the same colors in graphic design or using the same logo across different platforms.
As customers become more familiar with your designs, they will begin to associate your chosen color schemes, fonts and other styling with your business. Not only does this help to build the all-important sense of familiarity, but it also means that customers will be reminded of your business if they see these colors or fonts used elsewhere, which can help to encourage future visits.
How can you start developing consistency within a business?
The first step is to examine your business processes and the tasks you undertake regularly. This means spending time working through every regular process in your business, across all aspects. From preparing a client pitch to sending an email, if you perform an activity regularly, then it needs to be included.
There are various ways to do this; establishing business document templates that you can turn to every time you need to communicate with clients or conduct a presentation can be very useful, while creating step-by-step guides for other processes – such as what you do whenever you receive a new order – can be beneficial also.
Anything that helps you to complete a regular task in the same way each time is worth implementing, and doing so should simplify your working practices and ensure that your customers will view your business as highly professional and streamlined.
When you have your baseline guidance and templates set up, then all you need to do is continue to use these templates throughout your everyday operations.
What if you want to change something in the future?
Consistency does not mean that your business cannot change in the future. Businesses update their processes and templates all the time, often in an effort to appeal to a different demographic – and you can continue to do this. You do not need to be consistent to the point of rigidity.
What matters is that when you do decide to make a change – for example, you want to update your logo or change the process required to complete an order – that you do so consistently. This means that you change the baseline – the document templates, or the instruction guidelines – and then from that point forward, the change is implemented. This helps to avoid a scenario where you still have, for example, an old logo on some documents and not on others.
For anything that cannot be changed via a template or guideline change (for example, the logos you use on social media), you’ll need to perform manual updates. You can do this on the same day that you switch to the new template or guideline, so that you know consistency will be preserved throughout the update.
Location is also an important aspect of consistency; while a business might regularly change buildings, staying as close as possible to your first office will keep your customers happier. If your office runs out of a condo in King West and you need to upgrade to a larger space, see more condos in the King West area before deciding to move to a completely different spot.
Consistency is key in stabilizing all aspects of your business, with the benefits felt both in your own workday and in how your company is perceived by customers or clients. By being consistent across all aspects of your business, you can build a strong platform that offers great potential for growth in the future.