A functional business is not determined by the amount of turnover, number of staff, number of branches or even number of years in the business. A functional business is a business that runs effectively without the presence of its owner. In fact, it is a system that keeps even the owner in check. If as a business owner everybody on your team has to wait for you to do what needs to be done then your business is not functional. That is not the right way to manage a business except it is a trade!
However, you do not just let your staff do whatever they like just to make your business functional. This will amount to irresponsibility instead of functionality.
In order to achieve functionality in your business, you have to document your processes and put some structure in place. Here are some tips to guide you:
1) Governance: The level of authority of every staff must be written in black and white and communicated effectively.
2) Finance: Funding, managing budgets, bookkeeping, Accounting system, financial controls and audits of business must be properly laid out.
3) Research and Development: The process of innovating including market research, business experimentation and product/service development must be established.
4) Customer Service: A standard way of managing relationships with customers and handling requests such as inquiries and returns must be in place.
5) Distribution: The process of reaching your customers with your products or services must be well defined.
Most importantly, every business should have a culture of continuous improvement. By that way, a business should never be overtaken by technological advancement. Its operation should be the international best practice. And as a result, functional business becomes a natural consequence not a mere impression in the heart of the business owner.