In my other company, for the past 4 years, I have been writing SR&ED claims for small and medium sized manufacturers, specifically in the scientific and technology fields of the claim. It is time-consuming and often time-restricted, but the content is always interesting and the business side of what my clients are achieving is so exciting to me.
This week I started another claim for a returning client. It was so nice to go into a preset folder, pull out the past contract, set up the new claim’s file directory, update the old template and start working. When we started with our standard call I have a list of questions to ask, but what I realized is that I had never written this list down. I ask the same questions every year to gather the required information but my process was not perfect.
What is the result of not having a perfect process?
- inconsistent client experience
- inconsistent costs (in time and resources)
- increase in customer support
- decrease in project efficiency
- Ultimately – decrease in profit
So when is your process perfect? The answer is NEVER!
The key is to recognize that your business processes are living documents. As you streamline your procedures, interactions, and costs and get more proficient at knowing your products and services you will need to make changes to the way you do things. Every year I add something to this process that makes the next time easier.
There are a couple of challenges that I want to share with you to help you manage the changes in your business.
If the people in your company change (leave, learn, educate, get promoted, etc.) then the action process changes too. Everyone works differently and making a process so inflexible as to not allow any input makes for a very robotic job. Unless your employees are working on an automated manufacturing line then look for ways to allow them to bring autonomy to their positions. They will be better workers and you will get more insight and ideas for continual improvement.
2. Too Long
If you are finding yourself changing your release deadline over-and-over then likely you have moved into “project creep”. This is when what you do is never good enough. Sometimes you simply have to say, “it’s good enough, let’s ship”. Meaning; do the work, implement (or release), and then tweak (or update) so you can continually be producing results and meeting milestones for your projects.
I have been able to successfully do the work for these claims over the past four years, but the benefit of my process updating is that I can do it in a shorter amount of time with less stress for me and for my client and with no increase in costs over those 4 years. It is a win-win scenario for us both.
It will never be perfect, but it will be effective and efficient with great client results if you continuously update and maintain your business procedures. It is also a great way to instantly make more money when you save a significant amount of time like I now am experiencing.