I believe that business processes are one of the most important factors for the success of companies or any other organisation, be it profit or non-profit. And while we have come to accept the fact that big organizations spend a lot of time and money on their processes the common believe among small business owners and start-ups seems to be that it is not worth the effort. Companies like Amazon, UPS or Toyota are admired for friction-less execution of their processes and the flawless delivery of goods and services to clients and customers.
My goal is to help my clients reach this goal for their own organizations and reap the benefits of quality business processes. These benefits are multifacettet and whole libraries have been written about them. So for the sake of brevity I will not write too much about this topic but I want to outline the main advantages of having solid business processes in place.
The most obvious benefits and the one most organizations have in mind when they start engaging with business process management are faster delivery of products and services as well as a higher quality of these products and services according to universal and consistent standards. This is an almost natural consequence of introducing business processes: you can assure that things are done right. It helps identify ineffiencies, areas of vagueness and white-spots in the way the business is run. When buiness processes have been implemented the buiness owner only needs to make sure they are being followed and measure the results. This allows the him to focus on more strategic issues than the day-to day work and on formulating goals and objectives. He can work on his business and is no longer forced to work in it.
Another set of advantages relates to the team. With clearly defined and mapped-out processes it is easier – some might say only then it is possible – to train new and current members of the organizations on “how we do things around here”. More importantly, only once the processes have been put down on paper, they really belong to the organization and not only to the person running them. This is a point stressed in many business and start-up books. As “The e-myth” puts it: As long as you do not have a complete manual for your business, you don’t own it.” And only after you wrote your processes down you don’t have to worry about loosing an employee because you can be sure that the replacement will follow the exact same processes (or has a blue-print to refine them). The same is true for working with vendors and third-party service providers.
The last subject where business processes help an organization is a more specific one and refers to obligations towards authorities and external supervisors. Most audits, business insurance policies and many laws require implementing special regimes when it comes to financial reporting, ensuring work-place safety or documenting employee actions. The easiest way to make sure that an organization complies by these requirements is to identify, map and document the related business processes and ensure that they are observed by the employees.
For many entrepreneurs and small-business owners another aspect is equally important even if it is difficult to pin-point and measure: peace of mind.
When the processes are in place they work shorter hours, sleep better and are more confident about their business. Because they have seen how their organization works, what is necessary to deliver, how products and services are delivered they can rest assured that all of this will happen with the least amount of personal involvement. They have more time for strategic work, their partners and their hobbies.
I have seen this happen and to me this is the most rewarding outcome of my work. Much more than meeting any KPIs and benchmarks. Helping people realizing the full potential of their business and being able to reap the benefits of being an entrepreneur beats any economic incentive when it comes to business process management.
If you are striving to reap any or all of these benefits, contact me
and we’ll discuss the steps necessary to get there.