As your business is experiencing rapid development during its growth period, continuous improvement of business processes is often overlooked, with keeping up with workloads being the main priority. Of course this is a very important aspect of the business, however this type of growth is not sustainable.
As more customers come on board an increase in work can mean that many of your existing business processes become outdated, and need to be improved in order to maintain sustainable growth. A growing business means a changing business, and this should be treated as one.
So what exactly is a business process? This is quite a broad term that covers a range of company functions including information technology, employee development, and customer satisfaction.
Here are the key steps in ensuring your business continues to grow, and does so consistently.
IDENTIFY THE NEED FOR CHANGE
Conduct an internal audit and ask your existing stakeholders for feedback. Clients, suppliers and employees are those that are immersed in the business, and will know the weak points better than anyone else. Prioritise these weak spots in terms of the impact they have on your organisation, resources and stakeholders.
ANALYSE YOUR CURRENT PROCESSES
Look at the current procedure in place and drill down into the pros and cons for that process. This can be achieved through a variety of tools such as a SWOT analysis, process mapping or a cause/effect analysis. This will allow you to set realistic objectives for improvement. No matter how you choose to look at your process, make sure you consider the following:
> What in the process is broken?
> Which steps in the process create roadblocks?
> Which step requires the most time to complete?
> Which step causes the most delays?
> Are there any steps that cause costs/resources to go up?
> Are there any steps that cause quality to go down?
OBTAIN SUPPORT AND COMMITMENT
As a small business owner your team is probably closely-knit and, if you have hired with your organisational culture in mind, like-minded. You need to communicate why the change to the process is necessary and how it will be beneficial for the future. Managers that take the time to inform workers about the why and the how will experience much less resistance in the short-run and sustained dedication to the end goal in the long-term.
DEVISE IMPROVEMENT STRATEGY
Now is the time to develop the nitty-gritty details of the strategy. You will have a direction to go with according to your objectives planned in the first step, but now you must create specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound objectives that will assist in achieving your overall strategic goals. A step-by-step process is recommended for the easiest implementation. Don’t forget that communication is key, and you need to continuously talk to your team to maintain their commitment.
Thoughts? Hopes this helps.