I recently caught up with a lovely lady that a number of years ago assisted me in revamping the Quality Management System for the company I was working for. Jane is a Quality Management consultant and we spent quite a deal of our catch up discussing the age old problem of why people seem to think that quality is such a BIG DEAL!
Implementing a quality management system like ISO 9001 can be daunting, yes, but often it's more about the perception than the reality. The reality is that a quality system should reflect what you do every day, but also show that you've considered all aspects of the service or products that you provide. For example, that you have clear objectives and goals for your organisation, that you understand, listen to, and act on customer feedback, that you document and keep important records like personnel files, invoices, customer records - oh - and that you keep your data secure!
The reason I chose Jane all those years ago was because she reflected my views on quality; that it could be practical, it should be part of business practice - not just something that's done on the side to satisfy an auditor, and it could be developed in ways that suit your own business (not a series of folders sitting on a shelf collecting dust in the back room).
Since that first introduction to practical quality management, I've helped two other organisations implement great quality systems. One has since been certified (with no non-conformances!), and the other simply uses those principles to ensure that they provide great services to their clients. You don't necessarily need to obtain certification to get value out of ISO 9001!
If you are looking for guidance on ensuring quality outcomes for customers, then you should consider ISO 9001. It helps you to see any gaps or flaws in your processes, ensures you keep the right documentation and focuses you on customer feedback. Give me a buzz if you'd like to know more about ISO 9001 - or if you're already looking at it, take a look at Jane's website: www.mapwright.com.au. She has a DIY 9001 Kit that can help too!
Last week I did 'handover' of my Quality Assurance Officer role to the 2014 kinder committee. Yep, I was on the kinder committee this year - and for most of it, really enjoyed the experience. Yet what really surprised me, on the night where the new committee members were appointed, was how many people (and by people you can insert the word 'women' in this instance) lacked the confidence and belief in themselves to take up a voluntary position in the kindergarten! The number of times I heard "how hard is it?", "do you think I can do it?" and "I'm not sure I have the skills to do it" was really surprising to me. (I was also surprised at the lack of men putting their hand up for positions, but that's another story!)
How often do we lack belief in ourselves to the point where we don't even make the effort to try?
It never ceases to amaze me how many women, particularly once they've had kids and potentially been out of the workforce for a little while, lack the confidence to give things a go. I was there too - and even when I started up Pufferfish Marketing I was terrified and wondered whether I could actually do it or not! But what's the point of living if you don't try new stuff?
I realised that I really did know something about marketing, and I was able to provide help and support to others, that perhaps knew all the same stuff as me, but didn't want to (or were simply unable to) devote the time to it. What I learned was that I didn't have to know more or be better than others in a lot of cases, I just had to be willing and able to get my hands dirty and get the job done. And that is something that has been valued more than anything else I offer!
So the moral of this story is not really about kindergarten committees (you do learn a lot from them!) or Pufferfish Marketing . It's about positivity, confidence and support. I encourage every person out there to give something new a go! Perhaps don't try Rocket Science if you haven't studied it, but try something new! It can be as simple as cooking a new recipe, but the point is - give it a go!
And perhaps even more importantly, if you see someone out there giving it a go - support them! Remember that whilst they might not be showing it on the outside, they are probably just as nervous as you would be if you were in their shoes.
So many people in small businesses are time poor or don't understand the rapidly changing landscape of marketing, particularly how they can best use online marketing to their advantage. Here's a collection of ramblings designed to help those little fish out there!