Do you ever find yourself completely overwhelmed with certain tasks?
Do you find yourself almost re-inventing the wheel every time a certain thing is due maybe getting your bookkeeping in order right before tax time or order office supplies for the company?
Have you gotten to the point in your business where you realize you need to start handing things off to other people, then realize that you’ve simply been operating on auto-pilot, making training much more complicated than it needs to be?
What’s missing in your business is process. Peggy Duncan, productivity expert, says that if you are going to do something more than once, you need to create a process. Additionally, if the process isn’t working, you need to adjust it!
When creating processes for your business, it’s often a case of working backwards from your goal. You look at what you want to have done, say, mailing an envelope to someone.
- Write the letter
- Fold it to fit into the envelope
- Get an envelope
- Put the letter in the envelope
- Get a stamp
- Get the address
- Put the stamp on the envelope
- Write the address and return address on the envelope
- Get the envelope to the post office
Rather obvious set of steps.
But what if there are no stamps, or no envelopes? Where is the letter? What post office should I use, or is there a local mailbox?
Many times, when processes are created, certain basic steps are skipped – simply because they are taken for granted.
So, reviewing the process, we might want to add some of the details
- Write the letter a letter about a specific topic to a certain person that contains the following information. They font we use is Arial, font size is 12 points, color is black. Ensure that the letter is properly formatted using the template we’ve created
- Have the letter edited by your supervisor. This is important since very communication we make in the company is part of our branding.
- Make any necessary corrections from the supervisor
- Print the letter out on a specific type of paper. If we are out of paper, please check the supply closet for extra paper. If you notice that the supply of paper is low, please let your supervisor know
- Go to the mail room, where you will find envelopes, a postage scale with postage rate information and stamps, among a number of other items.
- Get a standard letter envelope and the proper amount of postage out of the supply closet. If you are not sure what the amount is, you will find postage rates on the form next to the scale. If the scale is not in the post room, please alert your super.
- Fold it to fit into the envelope in a c-fold format so all ends fit together (see diagram)
- Put the letter in the envelope with the addressee’s information facing up, but still behind the fold (see diagram)
- Write the address at the center of the envelope, the return address on the upper left corner of the envelope and the stamp on the upper right corner of the envelope(see diagram)
- Place the letter in the mail bin on the table in the mail room.
or something to that effect. Videos might work even better, if you’ve got the resources.
Building your processes DOES take time. However it gives you some basis to make improvements in your business. Seeing how things are done, writing it out, often makes you ask the questions, “why do we do that?” or “There’s got to be a better way.”
Review your processes, periodically, to see what works and what makes sense. Maybe there is a way to reduce the cost of the process. Maybe certain parts of a process need to be handed off to other people who might be better or cost less. Maybe there are certain steps you need to add or omit, or maybe there is a way of redesigning your office to make it work better.
Processes are essential to efficiency in business. One precautionary thought – don’t get so tied up in process that your business comes to a standstill. You’ve always, always, always got to keep moving forward.
At Aepiphanni Business Solutions, we are a Small Business Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small business owners. We specialize in helping business leaders and executives organize, plan and develop strategies for their organizations. We are committed to our clients’ success.