How to Create a Process
In a growing business, you cannot be responsible for everything. Time, amongst other things, will not allow it. There will come a point where you need to share your knowledge, skills and ways of ‘doing what you do’ with others.
The most effective way to do this is to create a process.
Why have processes in your business?
Here are just some of the benefits of processes:
- they provide a framework for training new staff or upskilling existing staff
- they set expectations and standards for how you want your business to be represented
- they give your staff boundaries and confidence on how to deliver the products/services of your business
- they provide consistency in your business with less room for error/guessing
- they make delegating and outsourcing easier
How to get started
If you have never had processes in your business, you may want to start by mapping out the processes you need first.
This simply means writing a list of outcome-producing tasks that are a regular part of your business. For example a Recruitment Process, A Refunds Process, A Booking Process.
Next you need to decide how you will record your processes.
The easiest to implement is simply to write/type a process as a series of steps you need to do to produce an outcome.
Note these are not detailed How-to steps. You should have a series of tasks that need to happen in order to produce an outcome such as ‘hire an employee’. Detailed steps come after processes and are known as procedures.
For example, a Recruitment Process may have the steps of:
- Establish need for staff member and write/update job description
- Screen applicants
- Interview candidates
- Reference Checks
- Advise unsuccessful candidates
- Secure successful applicant
- Issue contract and employment pack
- Welcome New Employee
From this process, you could then create:
- Advertising Procedure
- Screen and Interview Procedure
- Reference Check Procedure
- Employment Procedure
Documenting a Process
You can find plenty of formal process templates online for purchase (and probably some for free if you look hard enough). These will often give you additional fields such as Version, Name, Author, Creation Date, Goals. This may be more information than you need if you are new to processes, and are more suited to a business that is likely to need accreditations or certification in the future.
You can also create your own basic Process template if you can format documents yourself, with a simple table and the required headings or a flowchart.
Creating processes and procedures in your business takes time. Most business owners won’t be able to spend days writing out all of their processes and recording the steps of a procedure. They are more likely created over time.
Once you have a list of processes (and likely procedures) that need creating, start with the ones that could make the biggest impact now. Consider in particular things that you could document now that would allow you to delegate or outsource in the near future.
Slowly over time you will start to form a set of Processes and Procedures for your business, sometimes referred to as an Operations Manual.
Keep working at it. Commit time in your diary each week/fortnight/month to process writing. Take small steps if you need to.
You will soon come to realise that the time taken to create processes that free you from the pressure of doing ‘everything’ is well worth it!