For small businesses, it’s really easy to neglect the importance of the series of steps taken in order to achieve a result, as you focus on delivering your products and services. A focus on process improvements will help you to constantly advance and bring the best out of you. Poor processes or a lack of them on the other hand, will lead to operating in reaction mode without the ability to react accordingly to what’s happening around you. Inefficient processes will actually have a higher impact on your customers/clients than a poor product/service.
Poor processes or a lack of them can have the following results.
Where you are not producing a consistent output therefore any good results are not always replicated.
With poor processes its harder to train employees or mould their behaviours towards your company’s expected behaviours or culture. Single person dependencies are a problem that is normally prevalent where processes are poor or not working.
System Integration Challenges
We are currently going through a big automation phase in many industries but having poor processes makes it more difficult to automate business activities.
Lack of Visibility
A business with poor processes is hard to navigate. Owners without the relevant insights are often not able to make the right choices.
Poor processes are a costly mistake as it will result in a business somewhat freewheeling where problems are spotted late, improvements are harder to make and for some hardworking business owners, running the business will continue to be an endless fire fight.
What does a good process look like?
One amazing example of good processes at play is McDonalds. Walk into a McDonalds and you’re almost guaranteed you will get the same result every time. You will get your favourite order in the same size, taste and in around the same time. These results are only possible where every restaurant is executing a series of steps to achieve that desired result or let’s call it a tried and tested working process.
I’m sure McDonalds still have issues but when you have working processes, it’s easier to tweak them to resolve any issues. That would then result in an updated process to be executed going forward. Whilst you may not be in the fast-food industry, this need for a clear set of processes that underpin the business activities is just as important. It will drive how you work, who you hire and the experience of your clients and customers.
How to implement processes?
A key aspect of processes is documentation. Documenting the steps or series of steps within the business mean you can have the business standards that you operate against. This makes it easier to train new employees and for a lot of businesses you can then get away with hiring non expects for certain roles which will save you money and give you employees that act in the desired manner.
As a Digital Accounting Practice, we embrace technology and having our processes documented has helped with the implementation of technology. We help businesses improve their processes and the businesses we have had the best success with are those that embrace the benefits of having clearly defined working processes. The insight we give them in the accounting data is then more beneficial in the navigation of their businesses.
Processes need to be a set of living and breathing documents and activities. This means they need to be reviewed regularly. We need to continue to challenge ourselves and our processes. How can we do it better, faster, improve quality, better customer experiences? etc. With the answers we get we can take the right actions which will be to tweak the processes or add/remove some.
Success is not guaranteed in business but having our pulse on the workings of the business is key to being able to choose an operating path, measure performance and react where we have deviated or need to change path. A set of clear processes that the business follows is key to making this happen. Let’s not be one of the businesses that is winging it and not able to change or react quick enough. This should include cashflow and other key accounting processes we help implement.
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