Process Does Not Just Happen
Process Does Not Just Happen. Well, yes it does but…
If you don’t have a handle on the processes within your business, you have some serious issues. Your long term success depends on proper process development and implementation.
Process is important, we hear that every day. But why is it important? What are the right processes for you and your business? How do you create effective processes? What in the world is a process to begin with? The complete answers to all of these questions can get quite complex. In some cases, they are unique to you and your business. In other cases, they are unique to your industry or market. But read on and I can provide you with some insight to how those answers apply to you and how you can answer them for yourself.
Processes already exist within your company, whether you know it or not, whether you created them or not, and whether you like it or not. When someone “enters” your business and some type of product or service is provided, everything that happens from the time they enter to the time you collect the money they owe you is part of a process. In reality it is many processes.
There is the process that provides the initial interaction with that customer. There is a process on what happens depending on what specific product or service they are interested in. There is a process in fulfilling their request, whether it is cooking a burger or sending out a lawnscaping crew. There is a process to invoice them. There is a process to collect the money they owe. There is an accounting process, a banking process, etc. Those are the more obvious processes that already exist within your business.
So why is process important? Mostly because processes exist whether you like it or not. If you don’t get a handle on them, all of them, any one of them can cause you problems. Those problems could be the end of your business if you are not prepared. How do you prepare to ensure that does not happen? The answer is why process is so important to the success of any business. If my daughter does not understand what “too much” sugar means, she isn’t going to sell much lemonade. She needs training and a process to make sure she does not over-sweeten her product.
Determining the right processes that are effective to achieving your goals (and long-term success) first requires understanding what all the processes are within your business. The list can be mind boggling, but the best way to start is by literally making a list. Start at the high level: Accounting, Sales, Operations, etc., and then break each down further. As you do this you will get a good feel for the processes that are more critical than others to generating internal and external customer loyalty. Both are the true keys to long term success.
For example, if you use a payroll and accounting service, you don’t have much to document regarding those processes, other than how you interact with them. Those processes certainly are critical, but they will be mostly defined by those services, so they are not going to be your top priority. They have done that, been there, so following their lead initially is the appropriate path to take.