Every entrepreneurial book you read or
expert you listen to talks about the need for passion. Passion is the
fuel that ignites your idea and helps you start a business. Passion is
what keep you committed to your vision long enough to turn it into a
reality. And passion is what others feel when they connect with you and
learn about your plans for improving your part of the world.
Passion is wonderful to have but it’s not what insures your business
runs smoothly, consistently or profitably. For that you need process!
Process is the systematic way you do things. It’s how you keep your
marketing strategy alive. Its how you provide your product or service
at an affordable level that insure the outcome is the same every time.
Process is the way your employees perform their work to insure the
quality and customer experience are the highest you can produce.
Without a process for running your business, passion will be difficult to maintain.
If you find yourself recreating things from the start every time you
serve a new customer, take a look at what you are doing or should be
doing and create a process. Some business owners call this initial
encounter with clients the ‘on-boarding’ process. It congratulates them
for choosing you, sets the stage for what they can expect and gives
them a clear understanding about how your service works. This way, you
train them to expect professional, reliable service which, in the end,
they will be happy to pay for.
If your business requires handing off various parts of the work to
different teams of people and you find your biggest problem is in the
hand-offs, you need a process to standardize the work flow. Each
employee should not only understand what they must do but what’s being
done before and after they complete their part. Without a systematic
process for providing goods and services, none of the major fast food
chains would be able to provide quick, fairly good food at the prices
Process is king when it comes to consistency, quality and customer
satisfaction. If you don’t have any processes in place, here are a few
tips for getting started:
1. Review all of your normal methods and write them down.
If you have nothing written down, you have no way to monitor and
train people to do things right every time. Consistency of operation is
one of the most critical ways to reduce costs, improve product and
service quality and keep your customers loyal.
2. Ask your employees to provide feedback on improving the outcome.
Your employees are in the best position to see the effects of what
they do every day. Don’t discount their feedback when it comes to
improving your operation. Many times, they can improve processes simply
because they do them routinely.
3. Visit a competitor you admire and look at how they do things.
There’s no shame in emulating a competitor. As long as their
practices are not proprietary or somehow patented, feel free to learn
from them. Then, make your learning your own by crafting these ideas
into processes that work for you.
4. Hire a professional experienced with process improvement.
An outside pair of eyes can be one of the most valuable investments
you’ll ever make. In most cases, you are so close to what you are
doing, you simply can’t see the disconnects. The very benefit of
implementing some new ideas could be worth substantial sums of money.
If you want to be more profitable without having to continuously
chase new business and you want to cultivate customers who will never
leave you, get serious about creating world class processes for your
business. Once they are up and running, you’ll find it easier to stay
passionate about what you’ve started.