Hopefully at this point in your business you have at least heard of a business process and may have even toyed around with the idea of using one or many to improve your company’s operations. Popular small business books like the “E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber set a solid foundation for warming you up to the idea of a business process and why they are critical to “systematizing” your company so that it is not dependent on your everyday presence.
Unfortunately, many Entrepreneurs believe that business processes are only for large organizations. Overly corporate or technical jargon can scare you into believing that this is an expensive, unattainable endeavor. However, there is a methodical approach for identifying, capturing and improving financial processes that you can begin implementing immediately.
You can learn more about this approach in Keeping Score, an e-book with a storyline based on real events to serve as a crash course on how you as a small business owner can use business processes to reveal business strengths and expose weaknesses.
Process documentation is like putting your business in front of a mirror. It can make some Entrepreneurs anxious, not to mention resistant, especially if you learn that your perception of your company’s operational health is different from reality. You may also be surprised to learn how your service delivery process directly affects if and when your customers will decide to pay you. Process documentation and improvement is no small feat and mystifies many Entrepreneurs. So first congratulate yourself for recognizing that business processes can streamline your company’s operations and for taking the initial steps to do something about it.
I must be frank in telling you that process documentation is also a process! Though effective documentation does not happen overnight, knowing that you have a systematic way to identify and document processes that will support and facilitate future growth and sustainability plans is worth its weight in gold. It requires dedication, patience, a willingness to be exposed, and a serious time commitment.
Albert Einstein defined insanity as “…doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If there are aspects of your business that drive you insane, then maybe Keeping Score can help you in pinpointing the operational sources of your frustration so that you can make necessary changes even if it means changing your company’s core product or service offering.
My personal testament to the power of business processes began with my attempts to provide onsite project estimates during the initial consultation with a client. Documenting and streamlining my company’s service delivery process eventually led to me creating and copyrighting an operations management model called KasennuTM (formerly known as KlonosTM ). That model has now been used on hundreds of projects and shared with even more Entrepreneurs so that they too can learn how to use processes to unleash efficiency and awaken dormant revenue potential.
Now, challenge yourself over the next 30 days to place your business’ processes in front of a mirror and resolve to improve it as you take your business into another year of operation in 2014. That “mirror” should at the very least include a combination of customers and staff.
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