If you really want to get things done and work efficiently, you need business processes in place.  But not just any business processes, the right ones.  That’s where you can really benefit from increased productivity.  Building a business is something that takes time and dedication… and sweat and tears.  Sometimes you need to go through all the pain before you can really build a process that works for your business.  Processes need to take into account everything you do in the business and the interactions that have an impact.

If you have that panicky feeling every time you think about your business and making sure your customers and your employees are happy, then that probably means your current business processes aren’t working for you.  Evaluate how you do business and the processes you have in place on a periodic basis to make sure they still make sense.  What worked for your business ten years ago, may no longer be relevant.  Don’t keep doing the same things over and over again if they aren’t bringing any value.

Oh.. you say you don’t have any business processes in place?  Oh my.. that is a much bigger problem.  Well, not really.  You do actually have processes in place, but you probably follow it differently each time or feel like you don’t have a process because you’ve never actually spelled it out.  It’s pretty much impossible to run a business with absolutely no processes in place.  If you look hard enough, you will see that there is a process there already.  Taking the time to evaluate how you are doing things will give you the opportunity to see it more clearly and improve on it.

5 Steps For Evaluating Your Business Processes:

  1. Document them.  Write them down, even if it is just with pen and paper. List all the different processes in your business.
  2. Define the process.  For each process, list all the steps it takes to go from beginning to end.  Use numbers to keep it simple… just like this list.
  3. Determine if you have more than one process that has the same set of steps at some point in the process.  These are the processes you can start looking at to see if you can bundle them together somehow.  For example, maybe you find that you have three different ways to complete a sale because the products are slightly different.
  4. Analyze and rework the processes to make them more efficient.  Maybe you can use one order form with slight modifications to handle all three different types of sales.  If you identify an area that takes up a lot of you or your employees’ time, maybe there is a way to make it more efficient.  Evaluate opportunities for training, technology, and resourcing.
  5. Put it into practice, and re-evaluate periodically.  Make sure you communicate the process with everyone and put it in place.  It may not be perfect, but after working through all the kinds and re-evaluating the process on a regular basis, it will get better.

While documenting your processes, see if you can convert any of them into ‘How To’ guides for your staff to follow.  Knowing what’s expected and having something to reference keeps everyone on task and helps employees be more productive.  When you have something to start from, it’s much easier to improve on how you get things done in the future.

And don’t forget… keep it simple and easy to follow!