The steps to run a business, when you break it down, really aren’t that complicated.
You provide a service or a product, you receive money for said service/product, you deliver what is promised. Easy Peasy… right?
But we all know, that when it comes down to it, there is a plethora (I love that word) of things to do/create/dream up when it comes to owning and running your own business.
You must create a plan for your finances, paying taxes, paying yourself, paying for software, supplies, a computer that won’t give you the blue-screen-of-death or the rainbow spinning ball. There is how you plan to be visible, connect with potential clients or customers and sell to them. How to give them a client experience that will make them remember, come back to you or even better, recommend you to others.
All of these pieces of a business can be done without an outlined process, but it will take you more time, more frustration, and more money to do them without a thought-out process.
So many companies that have the potential for success ultimately fail because they don’t have repeatable processes in order to maintain or improve upon their success.
So, what is a process?
Well I’m glad you asked!
A process is a series of steps that can be taken to achieve the same result every time.
Sometimes the word “system” and “process” are used interchangeably. While they are similar in meaning, a system is actually an overall series of smaller processes for a particular set of needs.
For example, in your business, your content creation may be a system, but the steps you create to create the content, edit the content, pick the pieces of content for social media, post the content, etc., are the processes that make up that system.
A process is something that helps the system run more efficiently.
I like to think of it as pieces to a puzzle or even a lego kit. (Can you tell I have boys?). Even the way that Lego sells their sets is a great example of how processes and systems work together.
The lego pieces are in separate little bags to matchup with the instructions in the instruction book. Each bag is opened and the pieces are put together to make a “part” of the final product.
The lego pieces are the processes, each baggie is the “system” and the final product is the entire business.
Oh if all of our problems could be solved by legos…
Why do I NEED a process?
I’ll lose the creative edge that makes me stand out!
If I had a dime for every time I heard this or heard it insinuated, I could work for free!
So many business owners are awesome creative quick-starting geniuses, that sitting down to create a workflow, or repeatable process just makes them cringe and curl up in a ball and sleep till spring. (I have to admit, that doesn’t sound half-bad right now… thank you cold-snap)
Well, to that I say “pshaw!” Having processes and systems actually frees UP your creativity! No longer are you searching for documents, or redoing work just because you couldn’t find your notes. You can build creativity INTO the process as well as offload some of the more non-creative tasks to someone more better-suited.
(If you still can’t see yourself doing this, but understand the value of it, perhaps we should chat! Head over to my contact page HERE)
Think of processes as a map. You may be envisioning where you want to end up, but having a map of how to get there, rather than “winging it” will help you ensure your destination is what you imagine it will be.
Okay, I believe you, how should I get started?
Now that you’ve decided to create processes for your business, there are definitely some steps to take to make sure you won’t lose steam or get lost in the minutia.
1. Define your goals.
They should be focused on your company objectives and where you envision your business being in the future. All of your processes and systems should support these goals
2. Identify the main systems in your business.
Most small businesses will have systems in one of these 7 categories: Financial, Sales, Marketing/Visibility, Operations/Project Management, Product creation, Client Experience, Team Growth/HR.
3. Start with the system you spend the most time in or find yourself not enjoying the work.
For many this is Operations, or Financial.
4. Record the step you take using a video software (or even record in Zoom) and start to create a library of videos of how to you it, even if you know improvements can be made
5. Have a colleague or VA review the videos, perhaps create an SOP of the steps, or parts of the steps to see if it makes sense.
(Optional 6. Hire a process or systems specialist to come and help create your processes and improve the overall functionality of your business so you can “get out of the weeds” Click here to discuss!)
So if you still believe that processes exist to squelch creativity and “corporatize” businesses, I hope this has helped you see the purpose from a different perspective. Any business that runs needs to have a structure and some sort of framework so that anyone can come into the business and make it run without “reinventing the wheel.”
I hope you will now view lego’s differently next time you buy a set….. Or is that just me? 😉
Let me know what you think!
Have your own opinion on systems and processes? How do you record the operations in your business and help your business grow?