I’m a big believer in process. I know that successful businesses and successful people do not “wing it”. Recently I was speaking at a 175th Anniversary and afterwards I had numerous people come up to me and say, ‘Wow you were amazing. I don’t know how you can just stand up there and wing it and do such an amazing job!” I let them know that it is because I have a process for preparing for my talks, seminars, and speeches and I had practiced.
You should have a process for every aspect of your business. This does not mean that you script your every move and take away the spontaneity and ability to create and change, it means you create steps that allow you to recreate the things that add to your clients experience and avoid the things that make running a business difficult.
Here are 3 places where having a procedure will help make running your business easier and add to your client’s overall buying experience.
1. Training Employees
If you want to offload your work to a VA (virtual assistant) or have staff run your business there needs to be procedures that help people follow the process that creates the best outcome for the business and for your client. From sales, to clean-up, bookkeeping to invoicing, every task within your business has a process that needs to be identified. Ask your assistant to write down the steps it took to perform the task she does routinely for you, record your steps in a project so you can reproduce the best parts over and over again for other clients, get video of you performing your business, create procedures to capture the steps taken to make it happen. Procedures for your business are like recipes in cooking. If you don’t follow the recipe and the meal can be ruined.
2. Help with Sales
To be successful at sales you need to have a reproducible process. At some point when you are growing your company you will want to hire someone else to help you. This will not be successful if that new person makes up their own marketing language, steps to the sales, or promises things you cannot do, etc. Again, record the steps you go through that produced your best clients, write down your sales script so that certain, important facts and language are always used, and make sure people not only get training on how to use it, but ongoing support in implementing and improving your sales process.
I have a client that is a sales professional. One business he worked for had a great process but no ongoing support. They gave it to him and told him to, ‘go, do sales’. It was a short-lived relationship because he never felt great about the support the company might give to the customer. The company he is with now would bring him in regularly to talk about the process, what did and did not work for him, why he felt like he did. That step in their training made him their highest sales producer in less than a month. Their sales process worked and they knew it. They had to be sure their training process worked too or their sales people would not know their sales process.
3. Create New Products
It is surprising how easy it can be to create a produce out of the process you are already using. I have a client that does business videos. People are interested but the purchase of a video is not easily understood. By writing down her entire creation process she created a base video production product she can more easily market. By knowing exactly what was in her base product she could then create tiers of her offering by adding bonuses, like day-long shoots.
Now when she is hired to do a project her entire process is mapped out for her. She can also make the process partially automated by having auto-responders send out instructions for booking and preparing for the shoot. It saves her time and she actually makes more money on each projects.
Two Other Uses
There are two other uses I would recommend evaluating your processes for: 1. Customer Service and Customer Support, 2. Automate all or part of a process. Don’t stop with these five uses though, think of everything that you do in your business as being more time efficient and more money making if you don’t have to reproduce your actions every time.
Where have you used procedures that have improved your business operations or your client’s experience? Share your ideas below.