Friction free. The idea is not new. In 1995, Bill Gates, published a book called The Road Ahead. In the book, there is a chapter dedicated to the “friction free economy.” The idea, cut out anything that makes it hard to do business.
Middle men are not the only sources of friction in today’s business. Friction is present the moment anyone decides they want to start a business. Typical start-up challenges include costs, labor, information and regulation. These factors are referred to as economic friction. When economic friction is low, these challenges are easier to overcome. In turn, there are more start up businesses, which adds an additional challenge, competition.
After overcoming the initial start-up costs, business will always have “friction costs.” These costs include commission and fees, interest rates, fees associated with loans, tax, and the costs associated to time.
As the staff grows, you may find organizational friction. This type of friction usually revolves around a misalignment of internal goals and/or gap in leadership. These problems then manifest themselves in company policy and procedure.
Unfortunately, organizational friction causes a lot of friction in customer service. I can’t be the only one who has been put on hold only to be transferred a few times. Honestly, if I wasn’t frustrated before the call, I am afterword. The same applies to being stuck in checkout lines or waiting all day for the repair guy.
Truthfully, business friction is not limited to the areas I mentioned. For a business owner, employee and customer, friction is draining. Each company must make strategic decisions on how, where and when to eliminate friction. Hopefully by finding and reducing friction your employees will have less fires to put out.