This article is part of our Process 101 guide.
Fellow entrepreneurs, whether or not you think in terms of process, we all have them in our businesses.
Good processes provide a way to communicate and apply consistent standards and practices within the business. It’s a system for internal controls to ensure that things are done the same way, by everyone, every time.
When you follow a process you create a product, service or experience that is consistent and predictable. It means that as your business scales, you can strengthen your reputation by replicating the original way you did something.
Take McDonalds; whether you buy a Big Mac in London, Los Angeles, Lagos or Lahore, it’s always going to taste the same…
Starbucks will ask for your name to personalise and humanise your coffee-buying experience wherever you are…
Amazon runs a tight ship with a bonus ‘A-Z guarantee’ to ensure it builds and maintains its customers’ trust…
We can’t run our businesses without process, because process tells us when and why something went wrong.
Where you store your processes makes the difference
The trouble is that most businesses store their processes and associated documentation in a file share.
You might think that’s good practice, because it ensures that your valuable business processes stay with you and aren’t lost if/when members of staff leave.
File shares are where processes go to die. When you store your processes in a file share, you’ve sentenced them to never see the light of day ever again.
Ok, that last bit isn’t quite true.
When someone new joins your organisation, they’ll probably look at your processes, either to learn how you do things (or are supposed to do things) or so you can tick a box to maintain your ISO compliance. But then most people will work from memory, because it’s easier than trying to find the process again.
You’ll probably perform an annual exercise to ensure your processes are up-to-date. This will probably involve an external consultant. And it will probably cost you a lot of money…
Then your files go back into storage in your file share.
Where’s the value in that?
Investors like process
True. If you’re looking to sell your business, investors are reassured by process because it shows that your business can continue operating once you’ve exited the organisation…
But in reality, it’s not adding value to your business, because the processes are never followed. Think about your new employee onboarding process…
It works pretty well. New employees join. They probably have a similar onboarding experience.
“When someone new joins, let’s put their favourite biscuits on their desk so they feel really welcomed,” says Emily.
“Great idea! Do it,” you say.
So for the next couple of hires, Emily remembers to buy the biscuits.
But then Emily leaves…
And now you’re wondering why your new hires aren’t enjoying a Chocolate Hobnob with their mid-morning cuppa.
It’s impossible to run a business without process
Process tells us when and why something went wrong.
Process only works if it’s embedded in your organisation.
That’s really important, so let’s repeat it:
PROCESS ONLY WORKS IF IT’S EMBEDDED IN YOUR ORGANISATION.
In a survey undertaken by TLF Research, 43% of people say their company has actually lost customers because of failed processes. That’s a fact.
Process benefits your organisation and adds value to it when it’s part of your daily operations. Process isn’t an annual tick-box exercise. It’s about delivering ‘business-as-usual’ as efficiently and effectively as possible, while engaging employees and making your life easier.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Embed process in your daily operations and you’re:
- Reassured the process is followed so your business runs efficiently and there is less stress between managers and employees.
- Enabling people to follow process more easily and giving them the resources and guidance to get it right every time, so people feel more supported and things get done well every time.
- Enabling your team to feedback collaboratively on where process could be improved and where it isn’t working, so efficiency is improving and employees are more engaged.
- Allowing you to reliably implement business change knowing it will stick so you are more adaptable and flexible and can beat the competition more effectively.
Put measures in place to address ‘the little things’
Let’s be honest, chocolate biscuits are important.
It’s why putting measures in place to address ‘the little things’ tops the list of priorities for SME bosses in 2019.
And addressing ‘the little things’ is simple…
beSlick ensures your processes are embedded as part of your business-as-usual activities. It ensures processes are actually followed because your team finds them useful.