It’s hard to believe, but Six Sigma is over a quarter-century old. The method has grown from its birth by Motorola in 1985 into a way of doing business today that is embraced by companies the world over. These days, you can learn how to be a Green Belt, Yellow Belt, or Black Belt in Six Sigma at numerous schools and training centers across the country – or even take all of your courses online.
Here are several reasons why it’s worth your time to learn what Six Sigma is all about:
- To help you find ways to do everything better. You know that old phrase “work smarter, not harder”? That’s the essence of Six Sigma: learning how to improve your work processes to eliminate time-wasting, defective, or duplicative tasks so you can be the most productive small business owner you can be.
- To establish a process for significant changes and/or major projects. If your business is going to grow, chances are there will come a time when you have to redesign your website, choose new products to offer, or beef up your networking efforts. Six Sigma is a perfect template for attacking the project step-by-step – instead of just taking a “shooting-from-the-hip” approach, which may yield inconsistent results.
- To help you set goals and targets. The first step in Six Sigma methodology is defining the goals you wish to achieve. These targets must be quantifiable and tangible, which prevents you from settling for a nebulous goal like “improving customer service.” And after all, if you can’t set a concrete goal, how will you know if your efforts did any good?
- To help determine what’s truly important. In Six Sigma’s DMADV methodology, the Measure step forces you to identify elements that are “critical to quality” (CTQ). Concentrating on the things that really matter – like helping people navigate your website’s checkout process or generating repeat business – are key to the success of your business.
- To learn how to work with data. The Measure and Analyze steps of Six Sigma compel you to seek out metrics and numbers that gauge whether you are making progress toward a particular goal. This assists you in falling back on your “gut feelings” when making important decisions.
- To give you a competitive edge. There are probably a host of other businesses that do what you do. Some may be bigger or more established than yours. But if you can learn and implement Six Sigma effectively, you can gain an edge on every one of your competitors.
- To boost your status. If you can put “Six Sigma certified” on your About page, your LinkedIn profile, and your marketing materials, people will notice. And that extra boost to your reputation will help you as you continue to build your business – or in whatever else you choose to do in your career.
- It won’t be easy, and it will require some time and effort. But learning Six Sigma could possibly be one of the single biggest measures you can take to maximize the efficiency of your business – and help it reach its full potential.
Chris Martin is a freelance writer about everything from car insurance quotes to entrepreneurial methods to home improvement projects.