Many small business owners I talk to have their reasons why they’re not creating business processes. They say they don’t have time.They tell me that processes are boring. Or they assure me that as a solopreneur they don’t need written processes – they have it all memorized. Maybe you’ve said one or more of these yourself.
I completely understand where they (and you) are coming from. I know firsthand what’s involved in running a small business. I also know that without written processes your business isn’t going to grow and scale like you want – as quickly as you want. To put it in stark terms, not having written processes will negatively affect your bottom line and impact its ability to succeed.
I’m a naturally optimistic person, though, so I don’t dwell on the negative. And I truly want to help you alleviate frustration and wasted time. Here are 4 ways written processes will help your business achieve growth and success while giving you back your time and money.
1. Easily train new team members
What happens to your business if you get sick or want to take vacation? Somebody will need to be able to step in and keep things running if you’re not there. And, if you’re planning for growth, you can’t do it all by yourself forever. The time will come when you need to outsource to a Virtual Assistant (VA), or hire team members. You’ll need to be ready when all of your hard work pays off.
Training others will be a snap when you have written processes that you can hand over. If you wait until others are working for you to write the processes you’ll already be behind – and probably way too busy to train them properly.
2. Complete each step the right way, and in the right order, the first time
While you may be able to breeze through fairly simple tasks like creating and posting your blog post each month without looking at a process, you’ll need written processes for more complex activities and projects. Even if you’ve convinced yourself that you’ll remember every step, with everything else on your mind for your business, you probably won’t.
If nothing else gets you to write down your processes, think of how frustrated you’ll be if you spend 2 hours on an activity only to have to start over because you forgot a step or did it wrong. Or think about missing a deadline that costs you clients, your reputation, and future business. Having written processes can save you from those nightmare scenarios.
This really hit home with me the after coming on board as Director of Leadership for Femworking. I regularly train new leaders and create Meet-Up Groups for the meeting locations. Each of those projects have many moving parts and steps that need to be carefully coordinated and completed in the right order. The Google Docs I’ve created that show each step, along with screenshots and all of the necessary information, ensures everything goes smoothly the first time and saves me a ton of time.
3. Make improvements
There’s something about writing down each step of a process that makes you really think about your business. This deeper look helps you improve how you’re running your business, how you attract customers, what you provide, and how you deliver it. A good example would be writing processes for your lead generation efforts gets you thinking of a new channel to increase awareness like a webinar or case study.
Writing out your processes will also help you improve and streamline how you complete each activity. You’ll see steps that can be eliminated and others that can be consolidated. For example, one of my workshop attendees was sending two pieces of information to the same person at different stages of the process. She didn’t really think about it until she wrote down her process and saw that she could combine two steps and sent both pieces of information at the same time.
4. Have everything in one place
When you write down your process add links, screenshots, text that you’ll copy/paste, and any other information you’ll need to complete the activity. You’ll save so much time with the necessary information in one document along with the relevant process step.
As I mentioned, I create new Meet-Up Groups when we launch Femworking locations. I have to change the colors for the background and links. There is also standard phrasing for many fields: About Us, Welcome, and the questions we ask members when they join.
In my written process I have the hex colors and text for all of the Meet-Up fields in the order I need to fill them in for each section. I simply copy/paste and am done in seconds. If I had to type these in every time it would take way too long. Not to mention trying to remember the hex colors and wording! Even if I went back to a previous Meet-Up Group and copy/pasted from there it would still take more time because I’d have to go to each section to copy the text instead of having it in one place.
Yes, writing processes takes some time in the short run. However, with correcting mistakes, redoing tasks, and having to look up information in different places, you will waste a lot more time in the long run by not having them.
If you want to learn how to create processes, take my FREE 5-Part Business Process Mini Course or check out my Simplified Workflows for Business Success! Workshops.