Whatever you call them, your small business needs them to be efficient.
If you’ve spent any time in Corporate America, “efficiency” is probably not what comes to mind when you hear the word “process”. But bureaucratic red tape is not inherent to a process. The pain for the rank and file comes not from the concept, but the focus, of corporate processes.
In large corporations, processes are most often put in place with the emphasis on “controls” and accountability, with efficiency typically taking a back seat. In small business, however, accountability is less of a concern. When there are only a few employees (or just you!), it’s much easier to identify where the responsibility lies, so your processes can – and should – put the focus on efficiency.
The smaller the staff, the fewer the person-hours available to handle the workload, so every minute really counts. You need consistency and quality, and you need it fast. If your small business doesn’t have well-developed, efficient processes for your operations, you are limiting your capacity for success.
What exactly is a “process”, anyway? Merriam-Webster defines it as “a series of actions that produce something or that lead to a particular result”, and defines “system” as “an organized or established procedure”. So, a process or a system is really nothing more than a routine – the repeatable steps you take to get from point A to point B.
You may not have thought of it this way, but you already have processes in your life. Your daily routines and habits are processes that have become so ingrained you do them without thinking. Take showering, for example. You most likely perform this process the same way every time, without even thinking about it. Consider how much longer it would take if each time you had to think about what to do next… Did I already wash my feet? Behind my ears? Should I wash my left arm or my right arm next? Did I miss any spots?
Yet, that’s often what we are doing in our business operations – thinking about what should come next, and how to do it, even though it’s a task we do regularly. No wonder we make errors and can’t get it all done!
If you invest some time in reviewing your operations and formalizing the most effective ways to get things done – and documenting them! – the future time saved will far outweigh the current time spent.
It’s one of the best things you can do for your business…and yourself!