Management: a key indicator for business success

Does your business do the things it has to do, leaving you free to generate income, run the business or do the things you want to do? If so, your business is being effectively managed and you may have mastered one of the seven key indicators that drive business success.

The key indicators, namely leadership, money, management, marketing, lead generation, lead conversion and client fulfillment, are based on local and international best practice principles. They were identified following Masthead’s research in 2011 and 2012 on the challenges that financial service providers (FSPs) face. Feedback was obtained from more than 1 600 business owners to determine guidelines on how to deal with specific business challenges and thereby move a business toward increased profitability, sustainability and asset value.

Management is one of three business-based functions known as essential business systems. It differs from leadership in that leadership is about the business owner, while management is about the business.

Management is not about doing things, but rather about getting things done. It is about knowing what has to be done and utilising systems, client-based processes, resources and people to get it done, so you don’t have to do it yourself. The fundamental objective of management is thus to create robust systems and processes that run every aspect of the business, then develop positions that people can fill to effectively run the systems.

By delegating non-income generating activities to support staff, you are better positioned to utilise your resources, including the internal levels of expertise, more cost effectively. You further allow your business to design and dispense services more appropriately and profitably.

Keep in mind that by minimising dependency on people, business continuity improves. When staff members leave, parts of the business inevitably go with them. If an organogram, which reflects the business structure, is position based, the staff members who leave should be easy to replace with other qualified people. They can be trained in line with the position requirements and the business can continue to function effectively.

To ensure the smooth running of your business when staff members leave, a function of management is to have the right documents in place. Well-written operations manuals should be the authoritative guide for every function and position in a business, telling your staff how to operate in their jobs to achieve maximum results. These manuals, which should also include operational and compliance requirements, will serve as a valuable resource for training and developing new staff.

A job profile or job description also provides information that staff members need to perform their functions within your business. This forms the basis on which your business and staff achieve the strategic objective.

Furthermore, a performance contract clarifies an employee’s accountability, as well as the work and standards necessary to produce that result. Finally, a code of ethics provides the information required for your staff to act with integrity in the workplace.

All these documents should form the basis on which your business and employees comply with industry regulations and company policies. With these documents in place, you will be able to spend less time and effort correcting employee performance and have more time to focus on income-earning activities.

When you reach the point where your business gets things done the way you want them done consistently, predictably and without your intervention, then you have achieved a ‘systemic’ business.  This type of business is more transferrable and therefore more valuable. 


Mimi Pienaar

Mimi Pienaar

Head of Practice Management, Masthead (Pty) Ltd