How to Create Processes to Streamline Your Business
What percentage of what you do in your business is repeatable? 50%? 70%? Think about the time you spend tracking leads, issuing proposals, invoicing and accepting payment, checking email, scheduling meetings with networking connections, following up with clients for testimonials and the list goes on…
When you start to really think about the tasks that make up a typical day, you may start to realize that quite honestly, a lot of what you do is repeatable.
Now…as a business owner, you also know that from time to time, random stuff comes out of left field. Issues that were never previously issues become escalated, and fires arise. These situations require your immediate time and attention.
If the routine stuff in your business is standardized and automated, regulated with a defined process, when these escalations and fires arise, you can conquer them quickly and efficiently without your entire operation grinding to a halt.
Processes are how things get done in your business. People are your greatest asset, and people need solid processes, systems and workflows to operate consistently and seamlessly. Don’t recreate the wheel day in and day out in your business.
Here’s Simpler Surroundings’ 10-step process to develop and execute a new process in your business. (A process to create a process, of course)!
- Identify repeatable task: Prioritize the task whose repetition is causing the greatest pain in your business and likely has the greatest upside potential in terms of time and money savings if it were streamlined with a process.
- Synthesize: Write down every existing piece of information, data and scripting related to this task, as well as everything that is not yet existing, but should be.
- Put in order: Using a list, graphic or flowchart, put the steps from step 2 in order.
- Test: Complete a test run of the process in order to identify gaps and redundancies.
- Optimize: Refine the process based on testing results by:
- Adding steps
- Clarifying steps
- De-duping steps
- Deleting steps
- Expanding steps
- Communicate: Include teammates, vendors and clients – everyone that will be affected by the new process.
- Train: Make sure to consider the level of interactivity and cater to different learning styles. Methods of training include:
- In-person tutorials
- Role playing
- Case studies
- Monitor what works and what doesn’t work: Ensure there is a system in place to ensure the process is being followed. Hold yourself and your team accountable and establish consequences for not following the process.
- Refine with feedback loop: A process is a living, breathing entity that needs to be tweaked and updated as your business grows and changes. Consider:
- How will feedback be collected?
- How frequently will feedback be reviewed? And by whom?
- How often will process be revised?
- How will updates be communicated and what retraining will occur?
Stop feeling like every day is Groundhog Day in your business. It may seem like a lot of work up front, but processes are how things get done efficiently, without requiring a large expenditure of time, energy and money on a daily basis.
Want some assistance and accountability identifying the process gaps in your business and designing and implementing processes to overcome them? Reach out to the process experts, Simpler Surroundings.