January 12, 2015
Well, just the word process (pra-cess for the American readers!), seems to lull people to sleep.
It inherently means to many the implementation of boundaries, documentation, and red tape. All of the above which give small business owners extreme anxiety.
I spent several years as a strategy management consultant for large retailers.
More often than not, the biggest challenges facing these retailers were not how they were going to market, but how they were operating internally. Their processes, and consequently internal communication channels were mixed up.
As a result, much of my consulting career was spent untangling a web of messed up processes that drove everything from marketing, buying, to social media management, ecommerce and store operations.
Processes are considered as something you do not need until you are 'large enough', but my firm opinion is that processes are necessary for any business of any size, at any stage.
As you grow, your processes will have to change, and flex.
You will need to adjust, and grow with the increased business, but one truth is certain, you cannot NOT have process.
Imagine your business today.
You get an order. You likely pick the order, print a ship label, possibly put some marketing material in the package depending on the product, maybe a hand-written note, and seal the package, put a sticker on it, and drop it at a post office.
Now, picture doing this 100 times a month, now 1,000 times a month, and finally, 10,000 times a month.
You're certainly NOT the one who will be shipping that 1000th package on a monthly basis (or at least I hope not), but how will you ensure that the shipping is done in a way that meets your brand and business standards?
The answer is process.
Implementing a process helps build efficiencies into your business early on.
It also will streamline operations, and make the transfer for knowledge way easier once you actually hire your first employee, and when you want to scale your business to new levels.
Creating processes doesn't have to be cumbersome.
Start with the biggest processes that drive your business -- Shipping, Fulfilment, Inventory, Buying, Marketing, Returns, Exchanges, Customer Service. Many of these processes may require smaller sub-processes as well.
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