Why processes are critical to any business
Every entrepreneur’s vision is to get to a point where their business venture can function effectively with or without their input. It is only that way the business can truly grow and expand. Failure to set processes will lead to low revenue, few happy customers, stressed employees and slow growth. One way for business structuring to work effectively is to have and implement processes in every part or department in the business.
Most entrepreneurs with prior sound professional work experience in larger organizations will easily implement and work with processes in their business. Working effectively with processes is the practice of most large organizations globally. It sets the quality of structure, expansion and general goals to achieve in the business.
Business processes is simply laying down multiple linked tasks/steps/activities that will result in delivery of a product, service or business goal. These tasks/steps/activities will guide anyone within an organization that is in line with the vision and mission to achieve an organization’s overall goal.
Processes can range from production, to customer complaints resolution, to client’s management system and to some other simple working practices. You know how it’s important to write down the business vision and goals? It is also important to write down processes with concise steps towards achieving them.
Customers love consistency and the only way to be consistent is to have smart written-out processes and to ensure that every team member works according to these processes. Any customer will be won with repeated excellent service/product over time. That is why KFC’s chicken tastes relatively the same in their over 20,000 branches, all over the world.
Standardizing processes and measuring the performance is a blessing. Leave no single task without a process from start to completion. Something as simple greetings or how to dispatch a delivery order. Businesses in the manufacturing sector must take extra measures in standardizing their processes to achieve the desired products every time and minimize waste.
Receiving orders, invoicing, shipping products, updating customer information, or setting a marketing budget etc. can all be put into perspective. A simple break down of the process of receiving orders for delivery via phone call can be: Greet the customer, ask and record what they would like to order, record the delivery details (address, phone number etc.), inform them about the expected time of delivery and finally, express gratitude to them for ordering. This is a simple order-receiving process template and it can vary from one business to the other.
All employees from the directors to the janitors must be in line with the vision, goals, structure and processes of the business. Everyone must be ready to work hand in hand and work with the processes of the business to achieve these goals. Introduce everyone to these processes through trainings, continuous engagement and ensure that all processes are documented for continuous referrals.
Imagine a standard salon with about ten employees, for every item or service price, someone has to run somewhere to get the price from business owner. A simple pricing process should be thought out, that would enable employees tell the pricing without having to find the business owner.
Calling a Lingerie business to get the store address and the business owner says she will call back because she is at her child’s PTA meeting. Whereas, she has an English-speaking store attendant that she doesn’t trust to handle the phone lines. The store attendant can be enabled with a simple customer service process to handle the phone lines.
There are mostly upsides to having well thought out structured processes in a business. When properly practiced, processes can check waste with the use of raw materials in a manufacturing business. It can make room for effective management of human resources and machinery. It can effectively control time management.
It is not enough to have processes, you have to set up checks and balances along every step. For example, if the steps aren’t followed, what would give? Who checks that it was followed and who balances who? The use of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can be used to measure the performance of team members. By setting these KPIs, you can enable the team to make smart decisions and follow the processes laid down. Do not cut corners in any step as it would give room for team members to drift away from the processes outlined.
Building processes takes the most diligent approach, research and time. The goal is to have realistic workable processes for your business and update with any internal or external changes from time to time. With this and other things put in place, you are set to build a rock-solid business.