Business management is the act of making sure that things get done – repeatedly and profitably. Many times, business leaders find themselves in a position where they have developed a team that seems to click well in a certain area of operations, only to have someone leave. Upon hiring someone new, that person will typically receive some sort of on-the-job training and is, trained by the other members of the team. Unfortunately, like the game “whispering down the lane” as the information is translated from one person to the next, some of it is lost, misinterpreted or just plain wrong.
Ultimately, this costs the company time, money and productivity. The solution is as simple as writing down how things are done.
The benefits of writing processes down include:
- Identify inefficiencies – Once you’ve written the process down and can see it in black and white, you may notice that the process is inefficient
- Accuracy – You have processes that are accurately passed down from one person to the next
- Process improvement – You can improve the process as new information and technologies become available or simply through observation once you’ve written it down
- Process adaptation – As the business changes, you can adapt the process to meet the new model
- Cost reduction – You can determine the cost of each step in the process and find ways to reduce costs
- Process re-engineering – If there are there are failures in the process, you can identify where the failure is and take the appropriate steps to fix them
- Business process management – by keeping track of the processes, measuring successes and planning according to the business processes, business managers can ensure that the business is running efficiently, can anticipate required resources as the business goes through transitions and establish standards of productivity by individual, team or business unit.
Essentially, organizing processes in your company makes your company run better while saving it money. Thinking strategically about the business process, how to achieve the results shown above, more has got to go into your business process than simply writing down a list of steps and who is responsible for them. Here are seven components to business process development:
- Set the goal – what is it that needs to be done. The goal should be specific and be able to answer the question “why?” For example, you might set the goal as “You want to prepare for a catering or networking event.” Why is this important? Because you find that there are always last-minute things that you are going back to check up on, something gets missed or overlooked or something gets done last minute and causes quality to suffer.
- Do your research – As with anything, there is more than one way of doing things. If you are wise, you will find that research is your friend and will help you to avoid the mistakes others have made. It will often help you to find new ways of doing things that you hadn’t considered. You don’t know what you don’t know.
- Determine what the outcomes should be – specifically. “As a result of developing this process, we should have everything necessary and in the right place in order to make the ideal presence at this event without missing anything needed for it, while anticipating the unsaid needs of our guests.” Other examples could include development of a report, a list, completion of an employment process, etc.
- Determine the impact of customer value – how will this process impact your customers? Will it increase or decrease the customer perception of value? Will you be able to charge more for your product or service because you have increase value? Alternatively, are you damaging your customer’s perception of value? For example, a high-touch company that switches to automate processes is going to change customer value. By evaluating your market, you can determine what the outcomes of that change might be.
- Determine what resources are available – This includes time, people, investments, space, transportation, brainpower, etc.. Surely, there will be things that you wish you had, but wishing is somewhat useless in process development. Save those for process improvement
- Create your process – write down what steps are required in order to get the job done. Attach each step to your resources. Keep in mind what you’ve learned from your research and keep in mind what the outcomes will be. A couple of different ways to do this include using a Bubble Chart or Sticky Notes.
- Evaluate – look at how the process will impact the company. If you’ve got a great process that interrupts other processes in the company, you need to revisit the process. Alternatively, you may find that there are resources that can be shared, making your organization more efficient.
One more benefit to creating processes in your company is that developing processes in your company will make your company more agile – able to navigate through rough economies, the business cycle, entry and exit of competitors and industry changes. While many of these benefits have been articulated in one way or another, business leaders must always be thinking strategically – in a competitive market, how can I make sure that I gain – and don’t lose – market share. In a marketplace were there are so many businesses offering similar services, yours has got be Extraordinary in order to survive.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is an Atlanta, Georgia based Operations Management and Business Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders. We help business leaders DESIGN| CREATE | BUILD extraordinary businesses. We support our clients with financial management, product and service production and delivery, outsourced services management, sales & marketing and business growth. We provide them with a number of flexible solutions to help them reach their goals.
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