Business growth, shifts and changes, and faltering economies force entrepreneurs and businesses to adapt or die. To adapt in the most agile way, you need to regularly review your business processes
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As your business grows, your business processes become more and more important, which is why you need to make time to work on your business – not just in it. With your growth, holes may appear, because what was right for you a decade or even a year ago, might not serve you appropriately now.
Here’s a few tips to help you align your business processes:
The best way to focus on your business is to close the door or go off-site where there will be no distractions. For each process you need to ensure:
- Customer interaction with your business is simple and seamless.
- The process enables your staff to deliver on company promises.
Related: 8 Free resources for setting up business processes and systems
As an example of a sales process:
What is the sales process with your customers based on?
- Phoning in
- Walking in without an appointment
- Emailing the company
- Contact via website or social media
- The sales team visiting.
Each of these approaches must be evaluated to ensure that the customer feels that they are important and not just another sale or number.
After initial contact with a customer, what happens? Is communication efficient, and how many times is the ‘piece of paper,’ touched before the sale is closed?
Talk to the people who matter
In today’s so-called ‘connected’ world, don’t forget to actually talk to people. As a business owner, as you grow you can’t be involved in every aspect of a customer’s journey or every decision that staff make. You have to be prepared to let go of some or all of it, and trust your team.
But, in order to trust, there needs to be processes that help them make these decisions in line with the company vision and mission.
In reviewing your processes, you need to ensure accountability, yet give your team the scope to think for themselves. If a process has been designed or implemented to keep one team member happy, change it. A process must assist the business or a team, not one person, to deliver customer delight. Remember, there is a fine balance between the need for a paper trail and serving the client efficiently.
Related: Good governance & processes for SME businesses
Your feet on the floor will also be a good sounding board. Get input from your teams on what would make their roles easier:
- Does a process help or hinder delivery?
- Do they follow a logical path?
- Do processes minimise the number of people that have to be involved?
- Do processes promote independent thinking?
- Are those that are required to make decisions empowered and trained to make those decisions?
Reviewing your business processes shouldn’t be a once-off excursion. You need to conduct reviews frequently; for development, growth, and to stay relevant in the eye of your customers. Always ensure that your business processes serve the purpose they were created for.