In our daily work at The Beaverhead, we use the phrase “business processes” a lot. Business processes are what we focus to improve for every client. We sit down together (these days - only virtually) and go through the processes in their business to review what can be automated, improved, and made more efficient.
Some people we talk to don’t always realise how many business processes they stick to, which makes it more difficult for them to find ways to improve and grow. This is why in today’s blog we’ll go through what a business process is, and how you can start improving yours!
What is a business process?
A business process is, simply, any set of steps you regularly follow to complete a certain task. It could be the way you handle a customer query - log it, forward it, respond, follow-up, etc. - or the regular reports you build. A process can be formal or informal, so you probably have a lot of business processes that you use that you don’t even think about. A formal process would be an official company procedure.
The value of business processes
When efficient and thought-through, business processes can save you a lot of time, ensure your customers are satisfied, minimise risk, eliminate a lot of room for errors, and generally help you run your business. That, of course, means that bad processes can cost you a lot, from wasted time and disgruntled employees and customers, to real loss of revenue.
That is why it’s very important to question your processes and regularly review them. Many of us have caught ourselves in situations where something is done a certain way just because “that’s how it’s always been”. But the truth is, everything can be changed and improved - and should be, regularly.
Improving your processes
So let’s get started - how can you actually improve your processes?
The first step would be identifying the process to improve. Be mindful with your tasks and have a thoughtful look at your business, trying to identify areas that are not as quick, efficient, or easy as they should be. Pick one of these areas to focus on.
Next, lay out the process. Make a flowchart of the steps that complete it - for example, client emails a query, the query enters a queue, a customer service rep picks it up, the rep checks the correct team, the rep sends a reply, the query is closed in the system. Include information about how long each part should take and who owns each task.
Now you can take a step back and review your flowchart. Which part of it is where most of the frustration stems from? Do employees complain about one of these elements? Does one of the connections take longer than it should? Take your time to analyse all aspects and talk to the people that deal with this process. Also find out how these problems are usually resolved by your employees.
Finally, it’s time to redesign the process. Continue working with the team that usually handles it to find ways to make it more efficient. You should start from the end - what is it that this process needs to achieve? From there, work out the steps back to what triggers the process. This will allow you to look at things with a fresh pair of eyes. Brainstorm with your team on how to minimise the risk behind each step, and agree a new way to complete the process.
Don’t forget to properly document the new process and let everyone know about it. Implementing it won’t happen instantly, you need to plan a careful rollout and make sure everyone is on board and familiar with their new responsibilities.
Review, review, review!
Once you launch your new process, it still may not be perfect! A few weeks, maybe even days after you have rolled it out (depending on the size of the process), sit down with your team and check how it’s going. If it’s working well - great! If not, review again and implement new changes.
You should also regularly review the process, so that next time you can change it before you’ve started wasting time or resources.
Now it’s time to focus on another process, and do it all all over again!
How we can help
At The Beaverhead, we are business process specialists.
We will work with you to help you identify inefficiencies in your business that you may not even realise are affecting you immensely. We will then work with you to come up with the best and most efficient way to improve, and create a solution that eliminates bottlenecks, minimises errors, and automates as much of the work as possible.
Get in touch with us now to see how we can help!