Six Sigma for Small Business: Is It a Good Fit?
Sizing Up Six Sigma
Studies show that 2/3 of European employees and roughly 1/2 of American employees work for small and medium businesses. Small and medium businesses create 65% of all new jobs in the US. These facts fuel the debate on whether Six Sigma is a good fit for small business. Typically Six Sigma programs are deployed in large business, which have the resources of people, time and money to dedicated to the deployment. Small and medium businesses typically are significantly limited in these resources, which can create resistance from the beginning when considering a Six Sigma program. When you consider that over half of all small businesses survive their five years and a quarter of small businesses survive 15 years or more, a solid argument can be made for Six Sigma.
Measuring the Fit of Six Sigma
Implementing Six Sigma in a large business is mainly to make change last in large and complex beauracracies. One can argue that small business does not suffer from that bureaucratic malady. However, when you consider the long term trajectory, implementation of Six Sigma in the infancy of a business makes sense. Implementing the methodology at an early stage of business growth ensures that the culture is cemented in a focused manner. As the business grows, the culture of quality grows along with it. When the small business development into a large business, the foundation and culture of quality is well established. This enables the business to surpass competitors and perform against all measures at a significantly higher rate.
Changing the Culture with Six Sigma
A large business is typically one of old, deeply entrenched practices and changes resistant cultures. One of the biggest challenges Six Sigma practitioners face in large business is effecting change with the energetically resistant. Breaking down the silos can be a painful and costly process. However, the small business climate is typically just the opposite. The culture of a small business is typically open to change, as the small business must remain nimble when meeting the day to day challenges. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce the methodology. The small entrepreneurs cannot afford to be siloed and unresponsive to a changing business climate, lest they fall into failure quickly.
Tailoring the Perfect Six Sigma Fit
Once a small business embraces the Six Sigma methodology, it is important to get it tailor fitted to that business. The most important factor is to understand how existing resources will be allocated to the Six Sigma program and how the training of a Six Sigma practitioner will be accomplished using those resources. The key to success is to partner with an established Six Sigma provider who can both consult with the small business and provide training for the practitioner. Again, the small business has the advantage over the large business. A small business can control the costs with incremental training and implementation, lowering the drain on resources, while a large business must outlay significant resources to achieve the proper implementation of a program.
Finding the Right Partner for Six Sigma
When considering a Six Sigma program for small and medium business, the logical choice for a partner is 6Sigma.us. We provide the consulting and training services that will help launch and sustain your program. Go to www.6sigma.us for more information or contact us here.
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