Business Processes — Keep them simple

Let’s take a look at business processes. There is so much stuff available on the internet that you could quickly lose sight of what you really need.

Some stuff is good for small businesses, some isn’t. Additionally, businesses even in the same industry might need different solutions about their processes.

What are business processes?

Business processes describe how you do things in your business, as well as when you do these things. Well, that’s my simple definition. In case you like to read a more comprehensive definition, you could take a look what Wikipedia says about Business Process.

Some businesses haven’t documented their processes, as they like to stay flexible. Other businesses have extensive documentation about their processes.

Both sides have their advantages and disadvantages. Here are some which I could see.

Advantages of the documentation of business processes:

  • New employees could be trained fast and easy
  • everyone knows how and when to do things, thus everything might run more smoothly
  • staying with the documented processes may reduce fraud and/or misunderstandings
  • employees could easier jump in if there is a vacant position

Some Disadvantages are:

  • It takes a lot of time and effort to write down your processes
  • you have to adjust the documentation every time a little thing changes
  • employees might find a way around the processes anyway
  • employees might don’t like the inflexibility of extremely detailed business processes

Should you have a documentation of your business processes? Well, it depends on how thorough you feel you need to have them documented.

It might be totally enough for your business to have a rough documentation of the major processes. This could be true for small businesses.

The more employees your business has and the more complex your processes become, it makes sense to have them written down.

Why are they important?

As already stated, processes describe the way you do things. Even though there are a few major processes you could find in every business, each business is different and has a little different flavor in the processes.

Processes keep your business running as everyone knows when to do what.

If the aforesaid is not important enough, here are some more reasons:

  • Working faster to fulfill customer orders
  • ensuring standard quality or even improve the quality
  • being able to process higher volume with the same number of employees

You may find even more reasons why processes are critical. Here is another one: It’s a System.

A systematic approach helps you to stay focused. Focused on fulfilling your customers orders and achieving your business goals.

What could you do to improve them?

That’s actually ease, you take a look at how you do things right now and ask yourself if there is something that could be done easier.

You could also ask yourself what might happen if you skip a task of your process. Play with the things you do. Sometimes we do things that aren’t necessary.

Only if you question your processes once in a while, you could improve them. Of course, you could search for best practice, either. But adjust it to your flavor.

Keep it simple

However, most importantly, you like to keep it simple with your processes. Yes, it’s great to stand out with fancy stuff, but does it support your business? If not, forget about it.

For a small business, a simple documentation is more than enough. Keeping it simple, will help you to spend your time on the things that matter most. And that might not be your business processes.

See my blog post about Kanban tools for Project Management too. It might bring up some ideas for your business processes as well.

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