When an aspiring entrepreneur dreams up a new business, they are probably not thinking about which processes they will put in place to make their company successful.
Some want to make lots of money, others want to change the world somehow, and virtually everyone who strikes out on their own does so in search of a better life for themselves and the people they love.
However, it does not matter how grand your ambitions are or how brilliant your idea is. If you do not take care of the little details that make up a business, then it will come crashing down around your ears.
Processes Are The Foundation Of A Successful Company
“A large majority of businesses fail in the first year because they don’t have a good understanding of their numbers. They can’t read the dials in their business, and they don’t have the business skills to set the strategy,” GrowFactor founder Simon Kallu explains.
One of the essential skills for entrepreneurs to learn is the ability to establish effective and repeatable processes so they can be followed repeatedly.
“Systems pervade any successful organization,” Simon explains. “To ensure quality, consistency, and scalability of every business requires a process that is documented—from how to answer the phone to performing complex work. As a founder, the only way you will be able to transition from business operator to business owner is through documenting and systemizing everything you do.”
“Scaling up is all about delegation – systems ensure you can create consistent quality work. If I were to give one piece of advice to start-ups or scale-ups with a fast-growth trajectory, it would be to write down everything you do so that anyone could come along and pick it up. Then, use video, images, and checklists to create an easy guide. Processes can only be measured, tracked, and improved if there is a route to follow and record. What you can’t measure, you can’t manage.”
Involve Your Team In Planning To Keep Things Running Smoothly
“If you don’t create a process properly, you’ll see a drop in quality and consistency,” Simon explains. “Your team will be following a process document that directs them towards imperfect execution.”
“Not being able to track the process is another critical mistake. Tracking is critical to optimizing. For example, with emails and support, if you can’t track how long it took to reply to a customer, and if they were happy at the end, then how can you improve? Without measurement, there is no management.”
“You need to bring the team into the process, create a habit out of process documentation creation, but also review and regularly reflect on previously created processes. A culture of Kaizen or continuous improvement is key.”
Although the business owner will always be involved in establishing processes because they need to ensure the systems are closely aligned to their operating vision, that does not mean they should do all the work.
“The founders set process because ultimately the business was set up by you,” Simon says. “You know best why you started, what you want to achieve, and why you are different. However, your team needs to follow it. If they don’t see the “why” for them, it’ll be a constant and never-ending battle to get them to engage.”
“It’s proven that you need to engage them, or else they will feel like they are being dictated to. They need to be part of the process. My advice is that when you have a team, get them to write their documents. Review them and discuss them as a team. Finalize them and sign off as a team. Don’t dictate in a process meeting; ask for your team’s input. Get them to comment on the documents. Make it interesting by using video, software, and discussion.”