Here’s why “this is not instant pudding”

Often my clients ask me “How does documenting processes work for my business? And when will I start seeing the returns on investment?”

 

As business owners of small and medium enterprises, we’re so used to being efficient in making decisions and implementing that we think waiting is a waste of time. I often have to highlight that creating effective and efficient business operations is not instant pudding.

 

Documenting your business processes reveals the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats relating to business operations. The next step is to find solutions to exploit opportunities, as these are likely to bear an increase in revenue; and address the shortfalls in the weaknesses and threats.

 

The returns start kicking in based on how the prioritization of the solutions implemented.

 

The next question is usually, “now that I know the operational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – which processes do I fix first?”

 

Here’s 6 Points of Prioritization to take into account

  1. Safety–Safety first. Always. Avoid the risk of injuries and paying workman’s compensation at the bear minimum. You could get sued.

 

  1. Return on Investment (ROI)– will the change bring in money? How long will it take before it brings in money? Will the change impact a few people or departments? Not urgent if you have to fix now to only start earning in 5 years. But if the earnings will increase in the next 2-3 months, then it’s worth an urgent fix. What about if the money will come quick, but it affects the whole company? Always consider the element of change management. Especially if there’s a history of too many changes, new staff, new management, new office, undelivered promises etc. Don’t ever forget the people.

 

  1. Soft Benefit – when it’s not about the money and it’s about acknowledging the staff. E.g. Automating a function to reduce the manual inputs – this will reduce burnout, especially where 1 person performs the tasks of 2 job roles. When you sell the idea of documenting processes, remind staff that this is about growing the company and it isn’t an audit of what they are doing. This will make sure the roles and responsibilities are clear. It will make sure they are measured for the jobs they are assigned to do.

 

  1. Quick Wins– most cost effective and quickest to implement. This could also help to boost staff morale regarding the changes, careful it doesn’t create the impression that all changes will be as quick. Clear communication is key.

 

  1. Software Upgrade– if necessary, this should happen with as little interruption to daily business operations to reduce the impact on the bottom line.

 

  1. The range of the impact i.e. Number of departments or people impacted – This isn’t the least important, and the bigger the impact the longer the project should take so people are eased into the changes. The greater the number of people or departments affected, the greater the complexity of the project, including that of change management and the communication plan.

What’s your biggest priority to implement changes?

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