"When running a business, there's always plenty of work to be done. But as the boss, you can't do it all yourself. You need to learn how to work on your business, not in your business."

What is Six Sigma?

Six Sigma is a quality control methodology that seeks to reduce defects in any process through the use of statistical analysis. The name "Six Sigma" comes from the fact that a defect rate of six SIGMA (standard deviations from the mean) would represent only 3.4 defects per million opportunities.

Motorola developed the Six Sigma methodology in the 1980s as a way to improve manufacturing quality, but businesses have since adopted it in a variety of industries. Six Sigma relies on a set of tools and techniques known as DMAIC: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. The goal of each stage is to help identify and eliminate sources of variation in a process, ultimately leading to improved quality and reduced costs.

While Six Sigma is most commonly associated with manufacturing, it can be applied to any process where there is a need to reduce defects. In fact, Six Sigma has been successfully used in a variety of industries, including healthcare, finance, and software development.

The Seven Core Six Sigma Principles

There are seven core Six Sigma principles that businesses should build their operations around:

1) Define your goals and objectives

2) Measure your performance

3) Analyze your data

4) Improve your process

5) Control your process

6) Engage your employees

7) Continuously improve

Let's take a closer look at each of these Six Sigma principles:

Define Your Goals and Objectives

When running a successful business, there are seven core principles you can build your operation around. One of those principles is defining your goals and objectives.

Knowing what you want to achieve, measuring success, and making decisions that move your business forward will be easy. But if you take the time to sit down and develop a clear understanding of your goals, you'll be in a much better position to make strategic decisions and invest in the right areas.

For example, let's say you're considering starting a new marketing campaign. If your goal is to increase brand awareness, then you'll want to focus on activities that will generate a lot of exposure for your business. But if your goal is to drive sales, then you'll need to focus on activities that will result in more conversions. By taking the time to define your goals upfront, you can ensure that every decision you make brings you one step closer to achieving your desired outcome.

Measure Your Performance

In order to achieve your goals and objectives, you need to have a clear understanding of how you're currently performing. This means regularly measuring your performance against a set of defined metrics. By doing this, you can identify areas where you're falling short and make the necessary changes to improve your results.

You can use various metrics to measure performance, but choosing ones relevant to your specific goals is essential.

For example, if your goal is to increase brand awareness, then you'll want to track metrics like website traffic, social media engagement, and media impressions. But if your goal is to drive sales, you'll want to track metrics like conversion rate, customer lifetime value, and gross margin.

The key is to choose metrics that will give you the most insights into your business. Once you have a good understanding of how you're performing, you can start to look for areas where you can make improvements.

Analyze Your Data

To improve your performance, you need to analyze your data. This means looking for patterns and trends to help you identify problems and find solutions.

For example, if you notice that your website traffic is consistently dropping off after the first few seconds, then this could be an indication that your site design is ineffective.

Or if you notice that your conversion rate is lower on mobile devices than on desktop, then this could indicate that your mobile site needs to be improved.

By analyzing your data, you can better understand what's working and what isn't. This information can then be used to make decisions that will improve your results.

Improve Your Process

The principle of "improve your process" is one of the core Six Sigma principles that can help guide your business.

This principle states that you should constantly strive to improve your processes in order to achieve better results. There are many ways to improve your processes, but one standard method is to use process mapping. This involves creating a visual representation of your strategy in order to identify areas where improvements can be made.

For example, if you are running a manufacturing plant, you might create a process map of your assembly line. This would allow you to see exactly where each component is supposed to go and how long each step takes.

By identifying bottlenecks and inefficient steps, you can make changes that will help improve your overall process. In this way, the "improve your process" principle can be a very powerful tool for businesses of all types.

Control Your Process

A business can only be as successful as the processes that underpin it. That's why one of the core Six Sigma principles is to control your process. In order to do this effectively, you need to have a clear understanding of what your strategy is, what inputs it requires, and what outputs it produces.

Once you have this understanding, you can start to put in place controls to ensure that your process runs smoothly and efficiently.

For example, if a manufacturing process produces too many defective items, the business might implement a control chart to track the number of defects.

By understanding and controlling the variables that affect their process, companies can improve the quality of their products and reduce waste.

Engage your employees

There are seven core Six Sigma principles that you can build your business around. One of these principles is to engage your employees.

When employees are engaged, they feel ownership of their work and are more likely to be invested in the company's success. There are several ways to engage employees, but a straightforward way is to give them a voice in decision-making.

For example, you could create a task force or committee made up of employees from various departments to brainstorm ideas for improving the company.

This allows employees to share their suggestions and ideas and shows them that their input is valued and appreciated. Employees who feel like they are part of a team working towards a common goal are more likely to be engaged and motivated.

Continuous Improvement

Continuously improving means always looking for ways to do things better. In the business world, this can mean anything from finding new and more efficient ways to manufacture products to streamlining customer service processes.

Implementing continuous improvement can be challenging, but the rewards can be significant. One way to approach continuous improvement is to encourage employees to suggest improvements. This can be done through regular meetings or by setting up an online suggestion box. Another key element of continuous improvement is measuring results.

This means tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and putting in place systems to track progress over time.

By constantly measuring and analyzing results, businesses can identify areas that need improvement and ensure that they are making progress toward their goals. When appropriately used, the principle of continuous improvement can be a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes.

Using Six Sigma To Improve Your Business

The Six Sigma methodology is a powerful tool that can be used to improve businesses of all types. By understanding and applying the seven core Six Sigma principles, you can build a strong foundation for your business to help you succeed.

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