Be a Pro! Create a PROcess
TAKING ACTION – Part 2 of 6
Who, What, When, Where, Why, How. Remember when we discussed these themes in the first part of the series related to making decisions? We’re going to track the same themes as we master taking action.
You are in an exciting time. You are taking action and bringing your business to life. You have written out lists of tasks to do, people to call, you know what licenses you have to apply for. Wow! Are you busy!
Congratulations for moving past planning and analyzing and into doing. But step back for a moment and let’s revisit WHAT you are doing. You want to be a pro. You want to succeed. Yes? Of course! So you must create a process, a system. You must find the series of actions that yield results and then duplicate them. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Don’t get caught up in the day-to-day of the business. Create a process and let it go to work for you.
McDonald’s did this brilliantly. FedEx did this brilliantly. Amazon did this brilliantly, as did Zappos. You get the idea. They created the best systems that serve customers better than anyone else in their target market. Sure, they are bigger than you – but they had to begin at the beginning, just as you are doing now.
A process is defined as a methodical procedure or process that is used as a delivery mechanism for providing specific goods or services to customers.
Systems and processes are the essential building blocks of your company. Here are some examples (Thanks to Ron Carroll for the chart below!)
Create business systems once and you will be able to manage the important details of your operation over and over efficiently and effectively. As with everything else we’ve discussed, setting up systems isn’t difficult but it is hard. Rather than get overwhelmed, break things down into components. For example, your marketing system may have a subsystem called lead generation. The lead generation system could have subsystems such as direct mail, telemarketing, or radio advertising. The magic in systems and subsystems are that they are your workhorses that deliver consistent results even when you’re not around.
At a basic level, a business system may be as simple as a checklist. Good systems will take waste and inefficiency out of your business and help you give customers what they want every single time. They are the solution to weak sales growth, low profit, customer dissatisfaction, poor performance, excessive costs, inadequate cash flow, employee turnover, and daily frustration – yours, your employees, your vendors, and your customers.
A systems approach to building an organization eliminates generalized solutions, seat-of-the-pants operations, employee discretion, and everything else left to chance. Blessedly, it removes a lot of thought! You don’t have to be the go-to person each time someone has an issue. For instance, I appreciate that everyone in my household thinks I am omniscient – I’ll always know where the ‘bug stuff’ is or where my son left his favorite tee shirt or his swim goggles, or I’ll be able to explain confidently how to get someplace I’ve never been. I am flattered that my family thinks I am a living, breathing version of Google and that I’ll always have the answer – but I’m exhausted by it, too. If I just had a manual filled with Standard Operating Procedures for ‘How to find the socks you threw behind the washing machine instead of in the laundry basket,” I’d be on my way to having an efficient system!
Michael Gerber said, “Organize around business functions, not people. Build systems within each business function. Let systems run the business and people run the systems. People come and go but the systems remain constant.” (E-Myth Revisited). Our natural world is a great example of systems at work—solar systems, ecosystems, weather systems, and more. Be inspired by nature and before you go too far with taking action, make sure you plan to be a pro by creating and implementing processes!
• DO investigate using a neat tool a friend just told me about: http://www.mindmeister.com/ (I have no affiliation with them.) It will help you think through all the component parts of the business you are getting ready to launch and give you a great visual.
• DO research project management. Again, get in the habit of approaching each task as part of a system or process. Once you know where it falls into place, do it that way again and again.
• DO make sure the systems and processes you design and implement serve your customers and drive revenue.
• DON’T forget to get feedback once in awhile as to how your process is working. It may need some adjustments to take your sales to the next level.
• DON’T forget that the system or process you create should function independently of you. Someday you may want to take a vacation or maybe even start another business. Set things up right at the outset and you’ll be able to do both!
• Read some books on creating systems and processes if you’re not sure how to get started. Here’s one suggestion: Work the System by Sam Carpenter http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/160832253X/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=thesuitcentre-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=160832253X
• Think about anything you have ever done where you created some sort of system – an assembly line for packing school lunches or a checklist to make sure you’ve got everything to head out on the boat – and replicate that for your business. Chances are, you have had experience with what works and what doesn’t in creating a process. Now you are just applying those same skills to a new situation. Be conscious of creating processes and you’ll be a pro in no time!
• Plan to keep checking in with this blog to learn next steps to start a business.
• Ask me a question! Tell me what’s happened for you so far. Thank you!
Beaufort resident Jamie Wolf is the author of ‘Start Over! Start Now! Ten Keys to SUCCESS in Business and Life’ and ten accompanying guidebooks. If you’re ready to be Master of your Fate and Captain of your Soul, she invites you to come on board! Jamie offers online courses and coaching for entrepreneurs and people interested in starting over or in starting their own business. Visit her at http://www.thestartover.com