Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Worth a Look: Process Development & Improvement

Many small business owners are much too busy running their businesses to look at how they're doing it. With all the clamoring for marketing and social media, you'd be surprised to learn how effective process development or process improvement can be instead. All you need is a little time to invest, a place to start, a little direction, and a reason to do it. (For a quick intro, view the presentation "Process Development for Small Business & Microbusiness")

1. The Reason. BPTrends has an excellent summary of why companies might look at their processes . . . “In good times, . . . to create new processes and expand organizational capabilities. In bad times, . . . . [to] focus on eliminating unnecessary activities and on saving money." (Wolf & Harmon, Volume 7. No. 2 of BPTrends' email newsletter)

2. The Starting Place. What keeps you awake at night? What's your company's biggest barrier to success? What's your customers' biggest complaint? What's the hardest thing for you to achieve right now? What do they have that you don't?

3. Time. Carve out time to explore the questions and choose one area of focus. Promise yourself that you will schedule time over the next month to resolve this issue.

4. Direction. Beginning with your question, ask what you do and why and continue to ask what and why until you determine (at each stage) whether you are doing something because it is: (a) required by law, (b) needed by management for the daily operation and oversight of the company, (c) needed for product quality and/or production, (d) needed by distribution channels and/or customers. Everything except (a) is negotiable so look for areas of elasticity and potential change that would result in streamlined processes or cost savings. Define desired outcomes. If you need more direction, call in reinforcements.

(NOTE: BPM is a huge field; this post only attempts to make certain aspects of it accessible to small business owners and microbusiness owners. Expert posts are welcome in order to achieve this goal.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice detailed information about development process