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408: The Intricacies of Business Operations with Alicia Butler Pierre

podcast January 5, 2024

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Elzie Flenard is joined by Alicia Butler-Pierre, Founder & CEO of Equilibria, in this enriching episode. They delve deep into the intricacies of business operations and tackle the often-neglected aspects of operations and revenue, using relatable analogies like a “leaking bathtub” to illustrate the consequences of poor oversight. They discuss various aspects of customer satisfaction, team managing, and even tease a potential limited series on operations.

Discover the importance of documentation in business, with Alicia offering practical tips on how to document business processes effectively. She also suggests ways to do it even when pressed for time, from using audio recordings to simple visualization tools. Find out how established businesses can leverage frameworks to reorganize for growth and the significant impact of a sturdy business infrastructure on the bottom line.

This episode is packed with actionable insights and a wealth of knowledge from Alicia’s extensive experience in operations. If you’re looking for advice on process improvement, business infrastructure, operational excellence, HR at home, and digital technology pieces, this episode is a must-listen. Alicia also shares her plans for international expansion in the next year. So tune in now!

Episode Highlights:

05:23 – For businesses that will fail after that 10-year mark, there’s a number of reasons why they can fail. But one reason, as you so again brilliantly pointed out, Elzie, is because they go from not having enough customers to having too many. And because they are not focusing on those things that you call as being in the middle, they’re so focused on bringing the business in that they’re not looking at the customers that are angry and not returning and leaving bad reviews and then bad word of mouth spreads way faster than positive word of mouth, all of these things start to rear their ugly head and it creates this recipe for disaster via failure.

11:58 – Document what you do and how you do it. Those two things alone will carry you far. And when you document it, document it in a way that if you were to hand it to someone else, that person could, within reason, not only follow it and understand it, but produce the same result as if you were to do whatever it is that you’ve written down. Think of this. This is what we call processes in operations speak. Get your processes and your procedures out of your head and onto paper, into some digital format. Whatever you can get it into that can easily be shared with someone else.

25:40 – How are stick figures and index cards foundational to your business infrastructure? Here’s what comes out of those exercises that I just described. Number one, job descriptions. Now you have succinct, transparent, well-thought out job descriptions, so that there isn’t any room for interpretation. You know exactly what you want that specific role to do, and now you’re in a better position to go and recruit, interview, and hopefully even offer some type of offer to have someone join your team. It also serves as a foundation for creating an organizational chart for your business. You asked, “What does it look like when you have three to five employees or five to ten, then ten plus?” We always have at least two versions of an organizational chart that we create for our clients. The current state, meaning this is what it looks like now, and maybe for the next twelve months. And then there’s a version, this is what it’s probably going to look like in three years or five years, just so that everyone has a visual picture of how much the company can grow if they continue on their trajectory.

28:05 – The number one benefit truthfully goes back to your customer experience. Think about yourself as a customer. Even though you may not know exactly how the sauce gets made, you know whether or not you have a great experience as a customer. And a great experience means a consistent experience also. So, this matters because it ensures that your customers get what they want, that they have a great experience. And when they have a great experience, that means you are truly a customer-centric organization.

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