How are the daily operations handled in your business? Is there consistency and are you sure your employees are efficient? Here I have broken down how to create a business process, so you can implement it right away!
I see it all the time. You become particularly skilled in a trade or service, so you start a business. Every day you hustle to generate leads, get exposure for yourself and your company, and do what’s necessary to maintain a good name. Leads are coming in, projects are getting completed, your customers are happy, but you just can’t seem to break through this invisible barrier that is preventing your business from growing.
In the world of business, being the skilled expert is only half the battle. In order to take your business from one level to the next, you need to take a step back to really discover what changes need to happen. More common than not, the business owner themselves are way too involved in the daily operations of their business, which in itself is sabotaging your growth. I have identified 5 steps to create a strong foundation in your business and provide you with more freedom to focus on growing your business instead of following up with mundane tasks.
5 Steps to Create a Strong Foundation
1.) Identify the Problem:
First step with building a strong foundation in your business is to identify where your areas for improvement are. Do your projects take too long to complete? Do you have more unhappy customer reviews, than happy ones? Are contracts turned in differently depending on which sales representative turns them in? Make a detailed list of all of the areas of improvement and strive for a list of 5-15 specific objectives.
Don’t just assume you know where the problems are. Take the time to meet with your employees and get feedback on where they think hiccups may be located. The ones that are answering the phones, communicating with your clients, and communicating with your back office are usually the employees with the most valuable insight.
2.) Identify which Process to Create:
Once you have a detailed list, create groups of categories which make up your business (i.e: Project Management, Customer Experience, etc) and identify which items go into which group by placing an identifiable letter next to each item on your list (A, B, C, D). I suggest re-writing your categories with the corresponding items from the list you created in step 1.
From here, choose the category which impacts your top priority the most and which area in need of improvement will help you achieve your goal in the biggest way. For example, my specific area to improve on may have started with get 2 happy customers reviews per week. If my biggest priority is to get happy customers reviews when I am currently averaging more unhappy ones, I am going to need to investigate my customer experience.
3.) Create a step-by-step Process:
This is the fun part! Now dissect the process you have identified as needing to be created. One outcome can have multiple processes that should be documented and followed. The Customer Experience process should have two different processes. One from the companies perspective and the other is from the customers standpoint. Both processes will be totally different as one is the internal triggers required to make the Customer Experience happen (Front desk makes welcome phone call to customer day after contract received). The other is the breakdown of what the customer is experiencing (received welcome phone call day after signing contract).
I suggest re-writing this a few times. Scribble things out, re-arrange, and put yourselves in the shoes of those involved in the process. Are the steps reasonable? Does the process you just created seem realistic considering the employees you have completing the steps in the process?
4.) Incorporate using available Software & Technology:
Now that you have your business process skeleton, it’s time to incorporate it into your business. Incorporating your business process using your existing technological resources is the best way to ensure your new business process will be followed and will establish accountability. Some CRM’s have project management capabilities which is the ideal location to insert your detailed business process. If you don’t know how to utilize your current CRM for your business processes, reach out to your software representative for assistance.
Incorporating your business process is different from implementing it. Incorporation of the business processes makes it live and an available resource for those responsible for tasks within the process. Implementing your business process is actually making it work. Step 5 will review how to do this efficiently.
5.) Refine – Refine – Refine:
You’ve got your business process laid out, it’s incorporated into your CRM or other software platform, now you just get to sit back and let the process work, right? WRONG! This is the most important step which is refinement. The way you write down your business process on day 1 is not going to be how it ends up. You need to consistently manage and review how your business process is working. Make a list of what you can measure with your process to recognize if its working, or not.
Lets look at the 2 Happy Customer Reviews example, together: I have my Customer Experience process incorporated into my CRM, my employees have all been trained on the process and they know what their role is and what the big picture of the process looks like, but I’m still getting unhappy reviews! The refinement process will eliminate this common frustration. Much like following a diet and workout plan, it doesn’t happen overnight and specific goals needs to be monitored in order to improve. If my goal is to lose 2 pounds, I’m constantly looking at the scale to measure if I lost weight. If I want abs, I’m constantly looking in the mirror to see if I have abs. If I want 2 happy reviews per week, I’m constantly looking at incoming reviews to measure. But if I’m not losing weight, or getting abs, or getting my 2 happy customer reviews there’s a step in the process that is weak and needs further investigation. Refinement helps you to identify where is the process going wrong?
Customer Experience Case Study
I was working with a company where this was happening to them. More unhappy customer reviews than happy ones. They initially were trying to fix what I call “surface issues” like sending the review sooner or requesting the review via text vs. sending a Google link in their email box. While these did capture a few happy reviews, it was not fixing the underlying issue and would not provide consistent desired results. Why are there unhappy reviews in the first place?
After further investigation of their business process, it turned out the sales representatives turned in their contracts with a lot of missing information. The contract was turned into the Project Manager, the project would start without ever reconfirming what the details of the order was, and once the project was complete and they would try to collect the final payment, the customers would become upset, suspicious, and ultimately resulted in bad reviews. This simple adjustment with the contract submission process and project order review with the customer upon signing, drastically impacted the communication between the sales representatives and the office, leading to better expectations, happier customers, and more happy reviews.
Without the inspection of their business process, we wouldn’t have been able to identify the root of the issue, which was a much bigger problem than just not sending the review soon enough. Finding the true problem and fixing it was a huge milestone for this company to start receiving more happy customer reviews.
If you are a business owner looking to grow your business, feel free to contact me with any questions!
Tiffany has been successfully helping businesses grow since the early age of 16 years old. She quickly discovered her ability to identify inefficiencies and improve operations in an effort to decrease stress and improve the overall quality of work life, which she noticed was lacking in her first place of employment. She went on to start her own in-house ballroom dance business which she ran for 5 years.
After graduating from GMU with a bachelor’s in business management, she accepted a position at a construction company acting as the Director of Operations to which she re-engineered the entire foundation, increasing the company’s annual net revenue from 4 to 12.5 million dollars.
Tiffany owns Evolving Enterprises with her husband, Rick Carroll, and their mission is to raise awareness and educate business owners on how to establish a strong foundation in their businesses, and the importance behind it, using Evolving Enterprises proven Foundation Building method.
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