Respect the Process
I walk into work, make my way to my desk and wiggle myself into the perfect spot in my seat. The rest of the day speeds by at a warping speed, dancing on its toes on the fine line between a phenomenal day and a crappy one. The acknowledgment and respect I give to the process determines the fate of my day. It’s an undeniable fact that there is great value in a plan, a compass, a blue print. The implementation of processes and procedures are a necessary element of not only operating a business, but life. How do you go anywhere if you haven’t a clue where you’re going?
I did some research. I was trying to find the cold hard facts on failing businesses. Nearly every publication has a different statistic, incorporating different samples, different indicators, blah blah blah. For example, an article posted on Forbes.com, states that 8 out of 10 businesses fail within the first 18 months. Successharbor.com asserts that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 400,000 businesses are started each year in the United States and 470,000 die. Long hard pause. In a nutshell, studies show that startups fail at a highly alarming rate. It is commonplace, most businesses fail due to the lack of money. As entrepreneurial spirits, we would do well to value time as much as — possibly more than — money. I caution equating time to money (let’s talk about that later, in a different post), they are not the same but both are a necessary resource for any business.
What is a sure fire way to make the best use of time and in turn generate more revenue? Processes. You knew where I was headed with this, after all, the title of this post is “Respect the Process.” Logic would tell us, if we were able to develop processes and systems that allowed every aspect of our businesses to run with euphoric synchronicity, there would be more time, resources and overall capacity to sell goods and services. It may be slightly naive of me to suggest that all systems will flow seamless always, but I am one of those “aim for the moon and fall among the stars” types. Although we may not be able to immediately reach perfection, there is great benefit in developing processes and systems to sustain your business’s operations.
- As you approach each day, week, month, etc, you will have a clear plan of where you’re going and how you’ll get there. Another kind of planning that is essential, take your business through a strategic planning process, in order to identify who you are, why you exist, what void you are filling, and where you are headed.
- In the process of laying out plans, you are able to identify holes and areas of your business that require special attention, less attention, and/or a new process.
- Accountability! A clear plan for how work and business will be conducted will allow for increased accountability between you and: (1) your customers/clients, (2) your colleagues and staff, and (3) yourself. When you’re winging it, there is more room for justifying your crap and a constant avoidance of accountability.
- Build it and they will come. Laying the foundation to support and sustain the magnitude of work to come is a smart move. We wish and hope for more business and increased revenue, but are we really in a position to provide the same great services and goods if traffic tripled? The development of processes that work now and are able to withstand growth are ideal.
- Processes that work allow for great customer experiences. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what this means. 🙂
Get started creating processes by focusing on general areas, such as communications, workflow, client/customer experience, etc. Consider every level of every interaction. Anticipate resources and assets and fully utilize the tools you have available. Create templates of communications and other essential documents that you anticipate using periodically. Taking the time to understand how pieces of your business fit together will serve you well. For instance, understanding how clear levels of communication inform weekly goals and workflow will eliminate confusion and increase productivity. As you work, you will be able to respond, find solutions and create in a manner that serves the whole. Decisions will be well informed and over time will become more seamless. Remember, failing to plan is a plan to fail. Identifying and outlining your processes will save you time, money, and stress. That’s all for now folks.