Why should you have written processes in your business?

Let me ask you a question, does everything in your business always get done on time and to the standard you expect?

Are you thinking there is always room for improvement?

How about this for a train of thought.  Maybe your team lack direction? Do you ever get unplanned absences in your team? You do? What would you do if a key member had to take an extended period of time off? Or decided to leave? Would your colleagues know what to do if you were taken ill suddenly and were out of action for a long time? If your answers to these questions are “I don’t know” or “No” then read on.

Written processes form the backbone of every successful business. They provide the directions for everyone to follow and can help fill in the gaps when people change roles, leave, or are absent from the business. They also provide a step-by-step guide to everything that happens within the business.

There will, of course, always be times when a human being needs to make a decision, the systems can only do so much, (80/20 system/human rule).

Now are you sitting comfortably? Here are 10 reasons your business should have written processes:

  • Everyone saves time – written processes make clear what everyone’s job is within the business and how they should get it done.
  • Vital to a consistent approach – whether it’s sales, customer service, or billing, a written process sets out how your employees should approach the task and ensures that it is delivered in the same way every time anyone does it.
  • Easy to measure elements and change if necessary – written processes form the framework for everyone to work to, they also allow people to develop and change if they find a better way of doing things. You just need to make sure that the relevant process is updated to take this into account.
  • Real clarity on timings – as part of your business plan you’ll have put together a list of goals and with these a list of deadlines to achieve them. Written processes help you to see what’s feasible and the timescale in which you can achieve them.
  • You can see how processes are linked together – putting the effort in and writing down all the processes within your business enables you to see which ones are linked together. You may also be surprised to find out which processes aren’t linked to any others. Are there any? Are there any areas you have missed? Try a flowchart for the business linking areas, then more detailed ones for each task/department. The flowcharts will clearly illustrate each persons/depts. Inputs from and outputs to.
  • There is clarity around who contributes what – this enables everyone to see what roles are in the business and the contribution they make, encouraging people to closely work together.   
  • Help you to highlight blockages and make changes – one of the most important reasons for going to the effort of writing down your processes. You’ll quickly see where the blockages occur and you might even find that you’re one! Identifying the bottlenecks means that you can make the changes that are required to speed up your processes. Maybe you’re overcomplicating something, or missing a step.
  • It’s easier for someone other than the usual person to hit the ground running if they have to cover – over the time you’ve been in business I bet you’ve had people leave, go on maternity leave, or perhaps be on long term sick. Clear written processes act as the instructions, or office manual for the person covering.
  • Nothing missed – your written processes should cover off every aspect of your business. It’s worth getting other people within the organisation to read through and check them too. You’ll be surprised what you spot, has your office manager included a process for restarting your network if required? Who has keys to the office?
  • Gets everything straight in your mind – written processes take the stresses and strains out of running your business. They provide a clear pathway for everyone to follow and will help to simplify your daily working life.  Even if you work mostly on your own you still need processes.

As you’ll see written processes are EVERYTHING  

Just an additional thought, rather than trying to write your processes yourself, ask each person to write their own. It will save you time and be what is actually happening day to day, not what you think is happening.

Not only will this exercise help you and your business, it will also help your team to get clarity on what they do and what their team mates do too. Increased understanding, interaction and co-operation has to be a positive eh?

Do please let me know how you get on introducing, or revamping your processes and remember I am always here to help.

Kathy Bassett
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Kathy Bassett

Kathy’s passion is working with owners of successful small to medium-sized companies. She can help you to bridge the gap between where you are now and where you really want to be, whether it is to grow your business long-term or to implement an exit strategy.