Do you think process is a dirty word? Many employees (and owners!) see business processes as unnecessary bureaucracy, red tape, box ticking. It often means ‘paper work’ which feels like a waste of time and a barrier to ‘getting the job done’.

Why We Do It

I must confess, I have a bit of a soft spot for a good process. Not because I am a jobsworth, but because it helps to focus my mind on what I am trying to achieve and how I can get there. Process informs the tools, templates and resources needed to make sure work gets done. It also helps to understand the risk involved if a few steps are skipped. For a growing business, process puts your focus on what you do and why. It ensures tasks are not needlessly duplicated whilst essential functions are still carried out.

How We Do It

Whether you are planning a project, delivering a maintenance contract, or making the perfect cup of tea, you can standardise the most important elements. A good process is concise, streamlined and only includes steps which are relevant to your business. Usually, your workforce are best placed to advise on what works and what doesn’t so always develop your systems in consultation with them.

A good process should also ensure business owners meet their statutory duties and obligations. Gateway approvals can be used to ensure business owners are given critical oversight and final signoff of significant milestones.

Official Tea Making Process

Software abounds for all manner of business processes, but as more and more businesses move to automating some or all of their processes, they are falling foul of rigid systems which do not fit their businesses as they grow and change. Inflexible or poorly implemented software can become very costly to amend. Process does not have to be painful, complicated or expensive. A simple mapping exercise can be as prescriptive or as advisory as suits your business and desired outcome. The key is to understand the core elements of your business processes and automate the ones which will genuinely save you time and add value.

The Benefits

Often small businesses will not need every process documented but developing guides for common tasks is useful. The sooner you do it, the less daunting it will be later down the track. A well-documented process (or set of process maps) is an ideal way to induct new employees and ensure everyone is working toward the same goal. A documented process will do much of the heavy lifting for business owners and managers when scaling up, allowing them to focus on managing rather than policing.

Excel, Visio or a good old whiteboard can help you visualise your processes. If you are struggling or need a good facilitator, you know who to call. Who knows, you might even come to love a good process as much as I do.