What do we mean by business processes?
The processes in business are simply the “how” of how things get done. What allows your business to do things in ways that are maintainable, repeatable, and yield high-quality results?
Why do you need to evaluate your processes?
Without solid processes in place, success can feel almost like ‘luck’ for you and your team. “Sometimes we crush it, sometimes we fail.” Your people may be working hard, but without a consistent playbook, their efforts, and therefore the results they achieve, suffer. When operating without a cohesive or repeatable “how” teams get frustrated and often end up throwing a lot of misses before they land a hit. Generally speaking, people want to be effective. They also want to know what they need to do to get positive results. Lack of sufficient process maturity means that for today, your people aren’t optimized. For tomorrow, once they get frustrated enough with how hard it is to operate in your system, you may, in fact, lose those people altogether.
The issues don’t stop with internal operations. Your customers or clients can’t really get comfortable buying from you either as things seem to always be changing, or at the very least are inconsistent. Maybe your consumer receives a text reminder of an appointment one month but then experiences radio silence the next. Or perhaps they are delighted by a hand-written note included in one shipment but are left feeling quietly underwhelmed the next time around when no thoughtful touches are involved. This means you and your brand can’t fully earn their trust, and therefore it won’t be long before you stop earning their dollars, too.
2015 BPTrends survey highlights that only 4% of companies measure and manage their documented processes. One example of the blunders of this is NASA. Their Mars Climate Orbiter disintegrated after being set on its trajectory. The team had built it to orbit at an altitude of 226k, and as a precaution, to withstand an altitude of 80km. So why did it go to an altitude of 57k and disintegrate? Unit Conversion. Ouch. NASA, unfortunately, didn’t add a step to ensure their units were constantly imperial or metric. Talk about an expensive misstep!
Even once amazing processes can become outdated, unhelpful, and inaccurate as time passes and companies grow and shift. Therefore it’s necessary to reevaluate every now and then to ensure your team still has a playbook that represents the best way to do things at your company. Ask yourself, “Are we still getting the results we need? What obstacles are coming up that we didn’t anticipate? Where do things feel inconsistent, chaotic, or below expectations? Ultimately, where do we need to adapt?”
We’ve compiled the three big processes that are necessary to business success – and unfortunately often neglected or ignored. No matter where you are in your business taking a look at these processes and continue to improve/adapt/refine them can be a gamechanger for your performance.
The 3 Processes You Should Evaluate
1. The Hiring Process
Hiring and onboarding new employees with a streamlined and effective process saves the company time, money, and leads to more confident, successful employees.
Unfortunately, most companies hire out of need – so they often quickly rush through the onboarding experience in order to get started. This can result in a new hire that doesn’t understand their role, the company, or the expectations. It can result in high turnover. It can also result in missed steps, poor positioning, and frustration amongst the team.
Take a look at the hiring and onboarding process as a whole. See where the most time is spent, where the biggest gaps are, where the most value is added, and what can be streamlined or improved. Having an easy, repeatable, streamlined process here results in happy, productive employees, and strong outcomes for your company.
2. The Sales Process
Sales are the lifeblood of every business. No sales means no money; no money means no business. While sales can be seen as an art by some, your company needs to have an established understanding of how you get your service or product out into the market place, and how you ultimately close business.
Simply put, you need a sales process. Who your customers are, how you find them, what solutions you provide, how you close them, and what their lifecycle looks like. Being able to document and repeat the process for your sales staff helps streamline the sales department, creates more predictable results, and ultimately means more opportunities for growth for the company.
3. The Financial Process
What role can more easily sink a company than any other? The CFO, Director of Finance, or whoever is running your financial operations. Why? If you don’t have an accurate picture of what money you have (and what money you owe or do NOT have), you cannot make realistic and effective business decisions. Without this critical data, being accurately kept up to date and effectively communicated, money that doesn’t exist can easily be spent, resulting in bankruptcy or worse for the company.
In order to maintain financial fitness for your business, you must have clearly identified financial processes. How to handle incoming revenue; how to forecast appropriately; how and who manages P&L; when do things get paid and how; who has approval power; what to do when unexpected expenses arise, etc?
This repeatable and maintainable flow of data, expectations, and practices allows your company to save money, adapt to industry climates, and help predict, protect, and grow the future of the business.
The value of good processes in your business ultimately results in the elimination of a whole lot of unnecessary stress. It provides you and your team valuable space to focus on bigger picture needs, as you are not having to do things from scratch each time. It means having the confidence to know you and those around you can easily and successfully repeat things to get desired results.
Does it mean you will always have the ultimate outcome you desire? No. The joy and burden of leadership is flexing to adapt to the constant changes posed by markets, circumstances, and human behaviors. We can never guarantee outcomes, but we CAN put in place the measures necessary to get as close to predictability and repeatable success as possible.
By maintaining good processes and regularly evaluating the effectiveness in these three areas; you’re giving your staff and your business the ability to grow, scale, and succeed with less work, stress, and hassle.
Could your business use that?
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