“Because it’s the right thing to do” is only part of it.
Business growth can be exciting, terrifying, fast-paced, tedious, and painstaking – often all on the same day! Because change can happen quickly, it can be difficult for us to find the time to review our business’s current operations to identify inefficiencies. But taking the time to analyze processes and establish and document new ones is critical to realize your growth potential.
If you’ve found yourself recently uttering the words “because this is how we’ve always done it,” you’re probably due for this exercise. There are many benefits to evaluating and establishing clear processes.
Read on for five reasons (and benefits) of creating clear processes in your FEC.
No. 1: Processes create efficiency.
It’s no secret that processes can help streamline operations, reduce inefficiencies, and increase productivity. When everyone knows what they need to do and how to do it, they can work more efficiently and avoid errors.
What’s not commonly considered is that your needs and priorities change over time. The processes that worked well for you in the past may no longer be suitable now that you’ve expanded or hired more staff (or now have fewer staff, for that matter).
Sometimes it makes sense to sit down and ask yourself, “If today was day one of my business, how would we outline our (roles, responsibilities, checklists, processes, etc.?) By taking a “blank slate” approach, you can identify areas that need improvement or adjustment to better align with your current business needs.
No. 2: You can save money.
Inefficient processes are expensive because they can waste time and resources. This waste can be as simple as the costs associated with poor delegating, ineffective time management, or lacking the right tools to do the job. As you review your processes, look for where you can streamline operations and eliminate unnecessary steps or resources, resulting in cost savings for your business.
When you’re busy, it can be easy to slip into the “I need to do it all myself” mentality, but when a leader is too mired in day-to-day tasks, they likely won’t have the time or capacity to work on growing the business. Similarly, having a salesperson work the redemption counter or set up for an event can result in lost sales that would have been made if their time had been spent on sales activities. It’s these kinds of things that build up over time.
Technology process inefficiencies are another expense to consider. As you’ve grown, you’ve probably created workarounds and bought equipment or software to solve a particular pain point. This industry is constantly evolving, and new tools and software can help streamline processes and make them more efficient.
Have you added small, purpose-built software solutions to meet a specific need, such as a separate waiver or membership platform? Each piece of software you add has its own processes, licensing, and costs. If your business today looks much different than it did two or five years ago, it might make sense to consider consolidating your systems into a more robust solution. Not only can this save you money, but the process streamlining potential can be huge.
No. 3: You’ll provide more consistent experiences.
Processes help create consistent outcomes with your staff and guests, leading to better guest satisfaction, increased customer loyalty, fewer negative interactions, and a happier, thriving team. Processes can be used to train new staff more consistently so that your guest experience looks the same no matter who’s delivering it.
No. 4: Your team wants them.
We hate to break it to you, but your team probably has a good sense of what could be better in your business, and they’ve been waiting for the right moment to tell you. If you have clunky processes that don’t make sense, you create a friction point in their employee experience. Friction leads to frustration; frustration leads to disgruntlement, leading to you working 70 hours a week because you struggle with keeping great staff engaged and not-so-great team members from negatively impacting the operation.
It’s a good idea to solicit team member feedback about areas where they see improvement. Your team is most familiar with your processes and can provide valuable input on improving them. By soliciting feedback from your team and incorporating their suggestions into your operations, you can create a culture of continuous improvement and higher engagement. But that doesn’t mean that every piece of feedback is correct.
Sometimes you’ll find areas where the team may just need help understanding why a particular process needs to be done a certain way or the ramifications of actions or inactions. Be careful when analyzing feedback that you’re open to other possibilities and don’t just “manager-splain” why you’ve always done something a certain way.
No 5: They help you scale.
As your business grows, managing all aspects of the operation becomes increasingly tricky. And if you want to scale successfully, established processes are the only way to grow without sacrificing quality or consistency.
As you establish new processes, it’s essential to:
- Write them down in step-by-step detail. If there are gaps or unclear steps, you don’t have a process. Ensure you’re considering what, who, when, and how to track when finished.
- Get buy-in. When getting buy-in, asking the right questions with your leaders or team is important. Remember questions like, “Does that make sense?” “Do you agree?” or “Do you understand?” rarely provide meaningful feedback. Try instead, “How do you think this new approach compares to how we’ve been doing it?” “What roadblocks do you foresee if we try to do it this way?” “How can we improve this even more?” and even “What am I missing?” Open-ended questions like these welcome feedback and are more likely to ensure you’re on the same page.
- Understand that process improvement and documentation take time. It might feel tedious to analyze the minutiae of your business operations and that there are “more important” things you need to do. But while there may be more urgent tasks that need completion, take care not to put off essential process improvements just because they’re not on fire. Chances are that they are on fire, or soon will be. You just might not yet see the smoke.
If you take the time to improve your processes, you’ll be well-positioned to benefit from your new growth fully. If you’d like to learn how CenterEdge can help streamline your revenue and cash management processes, reach out for a free, personalized demo.
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