A business process is, put simply, a collection of tasks and activities which, together, lead to the accomplishment of a particular goal. For example, the creation of a new product or service. As our businesses grow, it’s important to take the time to establish our core business processes to ensure that we are working as effectively and efficiently as possible. Without them, we find ourselves living in the day to day. Being reactive instead of proactive. And the service that we’re trying to achieve runs the risk of becoming disjointed.
So what are the core business processes that every small business needs to master? Here are five of the most important:
1) Planning and Strategy
Good planning processes are fundamental to your long-term success. Without a long term strategy and direction, we drift and get distracted by the shiny things, and we fall victim to procrastination and overwhelm. We lurch from one thing to the next without clarity and purpose. We ‘best guess’ what the priority should be for the day or for the week rather than considering each decision – and how it fits into our long term goals – carefully.
2) Value creation and delivery
When it comes to core business processes, this one is another non-negotiable. Essentially, this is about what you create for, and how you deliver it to, your customers. It’s everything from how you capture, develop and execute ideas for new products or services, to your quality assurance and customer service. So think carefully about what you’re offering to your customers, and why. Think about the value that you’re adding and the benefits you create for them – and keep this at the heart of your business.
The third core business process is your marketing. Essentially, how you communicate with your customers. The tasks and activities that form part of your marketing process are all about taking your customers on a journey. Did you know, for example – research shows that it takes 9 touchpoints and four months to move a customer on from the awareness phase? Whether it be your social media or your email marketing automations, your entire marketing process should be focused on moving your customers along in their journey with your brand.
Where the third process was about communication and raising awareness, the next one is about how you close the deal. We may secure fantastic levels of engagement on our Instagram feed, but if that engagement doesn’t convert to sales, that engagement is worthless. So this process needs to be proactive and intentional – it’s just as important as your marketing efforts.
The final core business process is your finances. Businesses who don’t monitor and manage their finances, and business owners who don’t understand their numbers, are simply not allowing themselves to build strong foundations upon which to build. So think about the knowledge you need to get control of your finances. Think about how and when you’re going to monitor them. Whether you need any help. And how you’re going to apply the intelligence that you gain from it, for the benefit of your business.
Don’t know where to start?
If you’re new in business, or even if you’re more established, but have previously taken a more laissez-faire approach, thinking about all of the above might feel like too much. But the key is to start at the beginning, and take your core business processes one step at a time.
A great place to start is a process map. Draw your process out as a flow chart or similar, and identify the tasks and responsibilities at each stage. You could also add success metrics too. Then use your map to identify any gaps, duplication, weak points or unnecessary stages. Finally, work out (and action!) what needs to be done to make your processes as smooth and efficient as possible.
And if you get stuck, don’t forget you can always book a 1-to-1 with me and we can work on it together.