Rena Huber, in a recent podcast interview, told me that processes were the difference between a successful business and one barely staying above water. She described the importance of writing down how you do things. Processes create freedom for the business owner. Another Splash client and consultant Mike Bull, echoed her sentiment, “process turns guesses and emotional choices into decisions on what is best for the business.”
What is a process? In business we often do what we have to do to get things done. Most businesses start with one person doing almost everything. It is easy to stay in that mode or to glue things together as you expand to make it work. Creating processes for your business does not have to be complicated or time consuming.
A process can be as simple as writing down the way everyday tasks and activities are completed so that it gets out of your head. Whether it is a piece of paper, a white board or my personal favorite – giant sticky notes, step one is to write it down.
Avoid the cop out answer of “ everything we do is custom.” Yes, you might but how you do things is probably very similar every time.
Whether is it your marketing processes, your new client on-boarding or even your client off-boarding, writing down your processes has a lot of benefits including:
- Replicating the same actions repeatedly over time -which means you can improve and adjust as needed but things are less likely to “slip through the cracks.”
- Letting others help. I know it sounds scary. If I write down everything I do, then it will be easier to replace me, or steal my ideas, right? Wrong. Anyone who has been in business long enough knows that a process is just a piece of success. The reality is that having processes means that the processes can continue without you being the one constantly executing the processes, which give everyone more freedom and a more saleable business.
- It takes the guessing out of decision making. Every day you are your business, so you obviously know the facts and data behind your business right? Wrong, even the best business minds have to have data to make proper decisions. Most of the time humans cannot separate their bias and emotions far enough from their experience to make fact base decisions. Where do your leads come from? Is it really a lack of leads or are you not converting those leads to clients? Where are you leaving money on the table? Things you can probably guess, but every time I have set up a process that pulls actual data, people are surprised at the results.
When you run a business every day, you make stuff up. When you first start you have to – to survive. People look at examples and best practices but still most businesses start with a single person making it up as they go along. But businesses should evolve. Processes are part of that evolution and it’s an evolution that never ends. Once you get a process out there, the true work begins, consistently USING your process.
Plus, if you have a team you need accountability. People living up to their word builds trust. Accountability is also the transition from a random group of people to an organization working together to achieve a common goal.
As we have rolled out the new Splash branding and have put new services in place we have often had to address evolving our processes. Even as a marketer, my marketing processes are sometimes the hardest part of my day. I keep it simple. Write it down and do it over and over again, eventually it gets easier.
Processes are the skeleton, the bones on which an organization can start to move, grow and strengthen.
So we want to hear from you, have you put processes in your business? What tips would you give for implementing effective processes?