In my last blog, I introduced you to five of the key business processes that you need to establish if you want to be successful in your business. And don’t forget – one of them was remembering to take time to look after yourself and your team! But in today’s blog, I want to focus on one specific area – namely creating management processes for your business?
But what do I mean by this?
What is a ‘management process’?
Essentially, when we’re talking about creating management processes for your business, we’re talking about all the different things you need to ‘control’ it. For example, your approach to planning and strategy. How and when you manage your finances. The way in which you consider, and make important decisions relating to the evolution and development of your business. How you identify problems and come up with the most appropriate solution.
Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.Arthur Ashe
The creation of appropriate management processes is important for every business – without them, we tend to start to drift, rather than progress with purpose and in a clear direction. But it’s important to take time to think about how your processes will work for you and tailor them accordingly. There’s no point, for example, trying to shoehorn a ‘square peg’ process into the round hole that is your preferred way of working.
So rather than giving you a ‘here’s how’ list when it comes to creating management processes for your business, I thought I would show you how I do it!
Creating Management Processes for Business: My approach
To outline how I go about establishing the control, planning and decision-making capability that I need for my business, I have separated my activities into three key areas – planning, control and accountability. Obviously these things could be interpreted in different ways by different people, but I’ll explain as I go.
Planning is the obvious first step when it comes to creating management processes for business. Why? Because planning should always come before doing the ‘doing’. By planning, I mean strategic planning, rather than a daily To Do List. When we do the latter, but not the former, we lose sight of how that daily list fits in to the bigger picture of where we’re heading.
Here are my key activities and the frequency that I do them:
- Review the year that has just been completed – what went well and not so well; what are the learning points that I can take forward into the new year
- Review my overarching business plan – is my goal for 3, and even 5 years from now the same as it was a year ago? If not, it’s time to amend the overall plan
- Develop a strategy and overall plan for the next 12 months
- Review progress against my annual plan
- Develop a more detailed plan for the coming quarter
- Review progress against my quarterly plan
- Develop a detailed plan for the coming month
To illustrate my point above about doing what’s right for you, I’m currently trialing weekly planning and goal-setting, but I’m not finding it particularly beneficial. My monthly approach is detailed enough for weekly equivalents not to be necessary. You might find it different though, of course, so go with what feels right.
By ‘control’ I basically mean finance! Why? Because our numbers should be at the foundation of everything we do. When we control our numbers, we control our business as a whole. As before, I take a monthly, quarterly and annual approach when it comes to creating management processes for my business:
- Review of the previous year’s accounts to understand any learning points; changes, economies or investments I need to make, and also the likely tax implications I can expect further down the line
- Development of a detailed 12 month forecast for the coming 12 months, which then gets added to my finance software (Xero)
- Detailed checks on my progress against targets for the quarter
- Check my progress against targets for the month, making any adjustments to the overall forecast as needed
- Check unpaid invoices and follow them up
I also check in with my accountant regularly to make sure things are on track, and to ensure that my returns to Companies House are up to date.
When it comes to creating management processes for your business, accountability is going to be different for everyone. Some people may not feel they need accountability in a business sense (but I would argue that everyone needs this in some form!). For others, may be crucial in terms of both their productivity and their motivation. A third group may not have a choice if they have a Board, or a number of shareholders or investors that they need to keep happy. Many of us also, of course, have a partner who wants to know what we’re doing, and how it’s likely to impact the family finances!
In my business, I am accountable to:
- Myself – I have always set myself high standards, and if I don’t try my best to achieve them, I feel like I have let myself down. Not something that sits well with me!
- My family – we are a team, and I need to do my part in making sure my family has everything we need
- My accountant – luckily, I have one of those accountants who checks not just my numbers, but what I’m doing, and more importantly, why. Devil’s Advocate, challenger, sanity-checker, or however you want to describe it – having someone push back against the assumptions and decisions that I make is hugely beneficial.
- My clients – my clients deserve the best that I can give them, and I expect them to challenge me if I don’t provide it!
Over to you. What do you need to do to create the right management processes for your business? You may do some of this already, but whether you do or not, it’s really worth setting down some process maps so you really understand how everything fits together. Check what’s working and what’s not, and what you need to change. Get things in your diary and make sure the different tasks happen when they need to. The idea being that you’re able to work as efficiently and effectively as possible ‘behind the scenes’, so that in turn, you have as much time as possible to devote to your customers.
And if you’re still feeling stuck, let’s talk about how I can help you to move forward.