Review your Business Processes and Scale Up
Consider this scenario, you have a great product/service, a great marketing strategy for that product and a fantastic team working behind the scenes to bring the magic to life. Yet there seems to be an unidentified chasm that is not allowing you to meet those high targets, causing inconsistencies in service delivery, inefficient operations and overall lack of stability. Does this sound familiar to you? If yes, then what can be done to fix it?
Well, the answer to that question lies in your Business Processes. They are the key element and major asset of any organisation, irrespective of its size. To help shed some light on this we have gone ahead and broken down the steps so you can identify and create or improve your business process:
1. What are business processes?
A business process is defined as a set of actions required to deliver a product or service to your customer. Business processes are pieces of work across functions of a business to deliver on the strategy of a company.
Digging a bit deeper into this, we can pinpoint those processes are what identify who does the work, handovers and has the responsibilities. They help to identify value adding and non-value adding parts while highlighting waste within the process.
In order to have a coordinated way of working within the business, each step of your process should operate like a heartbeat, rhythmic and even, ensuring it maintains a smooth and constant flow of outputs to meet your customer demands.
2. Why spend time on business processes?
Every business wants to provide consistent professional and quality service to their clients. These processes form the basis for consistent service delivery to all clients, thus resulting in happy satisfied clients.
Creating robust processes allows for complete clarity on the roles and responsibilities for your team within each of their business functions. Additionally, it gives you the benefit of reduced knowledge drain when employees leave and ensuring you are not always working in a 'firefighting mode' within your business.
Have processes in place that are repeatable, easy to follow and bring sharp focus on responsibilities for each of your employees. All this will allow you, the entrepreneur to get back two of your most valuable assets, your brain space to work on the business and the time to do so.
3. How do you go about building or mapping your business processes?
Invest time to review your business processes: This is base camp zero in your climb to the top of the mountain and should not be taken lightly. Roll up your sleeves and gather input across the organisation. Include your team in the process and make sure this project is driven by accountability and an open feedback structure.
Keep it Simple: An often-forgotten part of any work procedure is to keep things simple. Elaborate charts and bar graphs while informative and very delightful to look at can be tedious and time consuming to prepare at this stage of process development. Instead keep it simple by using a flip chart, post it notes and markers to map out and bring onto paper those efficient processes for your business.
Start at the end: This may sound like counterproductive advice yet it would divulge the best results if you work backwards listing each step of the process. Doing this will enable you to see the vision of the entire process as it stands and also to identify those gaps that you may not even know existed.
Include all relevant information: Consider using photos, collection of documentation and asking questions of employees to add credible value to the exercise of mapping processes. Ask the 5 Why's to assist during the information gathering stage. Also remember to allot a time duration to each part of the process to better understand the amount to time allotted to the entire process.
Identify waste efforts in the process: Waste efforts or pain points can be easily identified while building strong and well-defined processes. Being able to pinpoint these roadblocks can increase the efficiency of your process. We have listed a few examples of waste to help you in your process:
• Overproduction (doing too much work, producing too much inventory)
• Defects in the product (causes rework)
• Transportation (movement between steps)
• Waiting (unproductive resources)
• Extra processing (duplication of work)
• Stress (high demand or unclear roles on team members)
Use the above tips to map out a desired process that can be implemented easily and allows you to see results quickly.
In this age of digital advancement, there are many digital tools available that can help in collaboration and process mapping, quickly and cost-effectively. Here are our top picks of these tools:
• Miro (www.miro.com)
• Stormboard (www.stormboard.com)
• Asana (www.asana.com)
• Mural (www.mural.co)
Keep in mind creating a business process is an evolutionary path that will keep changing and improving. It is not a document you create once and forget about, it is an evolving and live document, that should be constantly updated to better fine tune your process.