What is a process?

A process is simply the steps and decisions we undertake to achieve a task, they should also include an element of interdependency, timing and resources.

Documenting processes, however is not high on the agenda for many small businesses, but here’s why they should be!

What are the benefits?

They bring a number of vital elements to your business;

Consistency

Any task that is repeated should be documented so that it can be undertaken by different staff in a consistent manner and to the same level of service.

Performance

While reviewing, and documenting you will be able to identify what is the normal performance achieved. If different processes are followed you can then measure which is the most effective.

Monitor Service Levels

Once you understand what your clients can expect as the norm, you can monitor whether you are meeting those expectations, and take prompt action if not.

Managing your business

Documenting your processes will help you as an entrepreneur to understand your business and assess its performance.

Analysing and documenting your processes also gives you the opportunity to review where time is being spent, based on the 80/20 rule in that 80% of your returns are the result of 20% of your efforts. Analysing where you spend unproductive time or effort will help you eliminate inefficiencies.

What should you document

There are many processes that Entrepreneurs, Sole Traders and Small Businesses should consider, and some are a legal obligation

These are just a few examples but the same applies throughout your business, you will be much more efficient and prepared if you take a little time out to think about the services you provide, your day to day tasks, your premises, and your equipment.

Once you have completed your processes you can go-to the next step and document the procedures, you follow for day to day operations. This would enable you to document details of suppliers, how you update your social media and websites. how you access your email and what applications you use.

These activities need not be time-consuming and can make all the difference to your business.

If you would like any help with this, I have many years’ experience in Business Process Mapping for some of the largest companies in the UK.

Example Simple Process -

Tools

Visio is the industry standard, but expensive for small businesses, Lucid Chart is a cloud based system with a free option. Simple charts can be achieved in powerpoint.

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