Processes are an important part of running any business and having processes in place that run smoothly and efficiently can make the difference between business success and total disaster.
If processes haven’t been a big priority for you so far, here are some of the advantages of putting clear, streamlined processes into place in your business.
- Processes help you cope with growth and higher volume. For many businesses it’s not lack of growth that causes problems, but growing too quickly and not having the processes in place to cope with it. Lack of processes can mean that mistakes are made, deadlines are missed and quality decreases as you get busier.
- Processes ensure a consistent brand experience for your customers. Consistency is essential when you want to promote a strong brand identity and your processes should reflect your core values. Processes enable you to deliver consistently high results, every time.
- Processes help reduce your business costs and ensure everything is running as efficiently as possible. When you have no processes in place you don’t know whether what you and your team are doing is the most effective way of doing it and you have no way to track time or costs. Processes can streamline your business and help you find and eliminate areas of frustration and drains on your resources and time.
The idea of creating and implementing processes in your business can be overwhelming, especially if have to start from the beginning. As with most daunting tasks, breaking it up into bite sized chunks always helps.
For most businesses, there are five critical process types that you will need to address for maximum efficiency in your business. They are:
- Marketing – how you attract enquiries or lead to your business.
- Sales – how you convert those leads and enquiries into paying customers or clients.
- Fulfilment – the way you deliver the product or service purchased to the customer.
- Relationship management – how you develop relationships with your customers or clients and retain them, encourage them to become repeat customers and refer you to others.
- Operations – the general processes involved in the day to day running of your business including recruitment, IT, infrastructure and finances.
Take these different areas of your business one by one and look at the processes you currently have to see where they can be improved, or implement processes where you have none. You may find you have other areas of your business that could use some processes too, but these five areas are the backbone of most organisations and therefore the most important to get right.
If you aren’t sure how to do it, there are some great process mapping tools out there that can help you create a visual map of the different processes for each area of your business. This makes it easy to identify areas of frustration and bottlenecks that could be holding your business back so you can find ways to improve and speed up the efficiency of your processes.
About the Author:
Jo Macdermott is the Chief Marketing Consultant at Next Marketing in Melbourne. She has 15 years of marketing experience, is a Certified Practising Marketer and is a sought after marketing media commentator. Jo specialises in working with small and medium businesses. Follow her on Twitter here.