How to Create a Successful Business Process
How to Create a Successful Business Process
Are you trying to find out what ‘business process’ means? You might have some trouble. There’s some confusion online around what the phrase actually means. Given that every organization has business processes, this is pretty surprising. Whether onboarding a new employee or shipping out products to customers, there are processes around every corner. Fortunately, we’re here to clear up any misconceptions and provide some clarity. In this article, we’ll make it clear exactly what a business process is, why they’re important, and how to create a successful business process.
What Is a Business Process?
A business process is a series of actions that happen in a particular order to achieve a certain goal. Each step of the process involves a task that needs to be completed by a member of the team. When all the tasks are accomplished, the process is complete.
Let’s use a recruitment process as an example.
The goal of the recruitment process is for the human resources (HR) team to hire a new employee. The process for doing so involves the following steps:
- Identify the hiring needs
- Prepare the job description
- Advertising the role
- Narrowing down the applicants
- Interviewing candidates
- Offer of employment
Each of the steps in this business involves specific tasks, all of which are delegated to relevant people in the HR team. When all these tasks are completed in the right order, the recruitment process is over. The business process itself can be designed in a variety of formats. Some businesses choose to create a flowchart, while others prefer to detail the process in a document. There’s no right or wrong option here. Whatever works best for your business is the right way to go.
What Is Business Process Management?
Business process management (BPM) is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s how a company manages, controls, and creates business processes. Business process management is important whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise.
Because it helps you monitor the effectiveness of your current processes. If things aren’t working as efficiently as they should, you can put things right. It’s also a great way to identify areas where new processes can be helpful.
Why Are Business Processes Important?
Now that we’ve clarified what a business process is, let's look at why business processes are important.
Align Your Business
When you have solid business processes in place, you also have alignment. Think about it. Processes are perfect for creating structure. They standardize your procedures and provide clarity about how things work.
Everyone is on the same page when you have processes. Even if they’re from different departments, they know what’s involved throughout each stage of the process and how things move from one stage to the next.
But without business processes, things can get messy. People can start doing things differently, making it hard to keep things consistent.
Easily Track Progress
If you don’t have business processes in place, there’s no clear path from start to finish. And when the path isn’t clear, it’s tricky to track progress. After all, how can you expect to track progress if there’s no defined structure to track in the first place?
But when you create business processes, you know what needs to happen and when it needs to happen. You can easily spot if things fall behind and make any necessary changes.
Improve Efficiency in Your Workflow
Creating business processes helps you identify the most efficient way to do things. As a result, you’ll have a much more productive workflow.
Not to mention, you’ll save time too. Without having to figure out what comes next in a certain process, team members will already know. They can simply review the process beforehand and they know what to expect.
If you don’t have a process in place, they’ll be left fending for themselves and figuring out the best course of action. As you can imagine, this will take a little more time.
And if you use automation as part of your processes, you save even more time.
There’ll be no need for anyone to do the mundane and repetitive tasks throughout the process. Automation will take care of that. Tasks can also be automatically moved along the process, making it more streamlined for everyone involved.
The 3 Types of Business Processes
When it comes to business processes, there are three main types you need to be aware of:
- Operational processes
- Supporting processes
- Management processes
Let’s take a look at these in more detail.
Also known as a primary process, an operational process focuses on creating and delivering products or services.
They represent essential business activities that directly impact the success of the business, providing value to customers in the process.
Shipping is a good example of an operational process. How you manage the shipping and delivery of your products is essential. Without it, you’ll struggle to keep on top of your orders and shipments.
And if you can’t keep on top of your shipments, the customer experience can take a hit.
But with a good shipping process, you’ll be on top of all these things — and your customers will thank you for it.
Support processes underpin the back-end of a business. This includes any of the functions and actions that help the business run smoothly.
Unlike operational processes, supporting processes don’t provide direct value to customers, but they do support part of the internal business infrastructure. And this is pretty important.
Let’s use accounting as an example.
Without solid accounting processes in place, a lot of things can go wrong. Payroll could be delayed, invoices might not be issued properly, and taxes could be late. Although these areas aren’t customer-facing, they’re still important for the success of the business.
Management processes outline the activities related to business systems and procedures — for example, budget management or strategic planning.
These processes don’t directly generate income for the business or provide value to customers. However, they play a vital part in ensuring that the business succeeds.
Think about strategic planning. Without a business strategy in place, your business can lack the direction and alignment it needs to grow and develop. But with a strategy in place, your business has a much better chance of doing well.
How to Create a Business Process in 6 Simple Steps
Now that we’ve covered what a business process is and its different types, let’s walk through the process (pun intended) of creating your own.
1. Figure Out Your Goals
Before you create any business process, you need to be clear about your goals. This will ensure your new processes are aligned with organizational goals, which in turn should help you achieve them.
To create effective business goals, we’d suggest using the SMART goals framework. If you’re not familiar with SMART goals, the acronym stands for the following:
Businesses use this framework to create achievable, realistic, and detailed goals. Take a look at this example of a SMART goal to see it in action:
Goal: Increase sales by 15% over the next quarter by increasing customer engagement via social media.
This is just an example, but you get the picture. SMART goals are a great way to define your objectives and make sure that your processes support the overall direction of the business.
Once you’ve finalized your goals, you also might want to think about the best way to track and manage progress. Using a work management platform can be helpful as it allows you to track progress in real-time. We’ll talk about this in more detail later.
2. Outline Your Process
Once your goals are finalized, you can start to outline the process.
This process is also known as business process mapping or business process modeling. It involves summarizing what your business process will involve, the steps you’ll need to take, and the actions involved in each step.
Outlining your process is also a great chance to identify any areas where business process automation can be used.
Whether that’s moving a task along the workflow or assigning a new user to a task when it moves along, use this as an opportunity to pinpoint areas of your process that can be streamlined when it goes live.
3. Get Input From Stakeholders
When your outline is complete, it’s time to share it with the relevant stakeholders, including your team. After all, they’re the ones that’ll need to use the process regularly.
Get their input on if they think it will work, what could be improved, and what works well. If they have suggestions for improvement, take these into account. They might notice something you hadn’t thought of.
This is yet another example of how using a collaborative platform can be extremely useful. With the right platform, businesses can easily share their processes and ask for feedback in a central location.
Take a look at SmartSuite, for example.
Our software allows teams to add comments to documents, share information, and easily have back-and-forth communication. This means that everyone involved in the process can see all the feedback, and they can all access the information at the same time.
It’s much more efficient than sharing a document via email and asking for feedback.
4. Test the Process
When you’ve incorporated feedback from your team, you need to test that the process works. So do a trial run, monitor the process, and review the results. This will show you any final changes you need to make before the process goes live.
This is another area where BPM software can be helpful. Using the right platform, you can test processes before they go live and track their activity history.
This makes it easier to review how successful the process is before rolling it out to your team.
5. Roll Out the Process
You’ve reviewed the feedback from your team, you’ve made any changes to improve the process, now it’s time to launch it.
Before you roll out the process, make sure everyone is briefed on its operation and what it involves. Deliver any training needed to support the new or updated process.
This will make it easier for everyone to start using the new process and will probably save you time in the long run. If you offer your team members information upfront, they’re less likely to ask you questions in the future.
When you’re briefing everyone on the process, it’s a good idea to share a written outline of the process. Then, if they do have questions about the process, they can refer to the document for answers.
It also means that new employees can refer to the document to understand the process when they join the team. Just make sure they’re stored in a shared location so everyone can easily find the process.
If you’re thinking about the best way to store your process documents, take a look at the file management capabilities of a work management platform.
This will allow you to organize your files and documents for ease of access.
6. Track Progress
The new business process is live. Your team is using it, and things seem to be going well.
But the work doesn’t stop there.
As time goes on, the needs of your business might change, which means you might need to alter your process.
For example, if your business switches to a new CRM platform, the customer journey might change. As a result, some of the customer management processes might also need tweaking.
So make sure to continually monitor and track progress to see if you need to make any improvements. If you don’t, you could be stuck using processes that aren’t productive and efficient.
The Benefits of Using Work Management Software to Create Business Processes
We’ve briefly touched on how work management platforms can be helpful when it comes to creating, managing, and monitoring business processes.
But there are some additional benefits we haven’t covered. Let’s take a look at what these are.
Streamline the Creation Process
Using a work management platform means everyone is working from the same location. No matter what department they’re from, what device they’re using, or what project they’re working on — everyone’s using the same platform.
This makes the entire business process creation process much more streamlined and efficient, especially when it comes to gathering feedback.
You can easily share processes with your team, ask for feedback, and track suggestions all within the same software. There’s no need for anyone to flick between different platforms — it’s all saved in one central location.
This also means it’s easier to launch the new process.
Why? Because you’ll already be using the same software. You’ll create your process using the work management platform, and that same process will come to life in the platform, too.
Easily Improve and Change Processes
The needs of your business will likely change as time goes on, so you need to be able to make tweaks to processes easily.
This is where using work management software can be useful.
With the right platform, you can easily make changes to your process in real-time. This means you can keep your business flexible and adaptable, which will help your business succeed in the long run. Businesses that fail to adapt to their surroundings simply won’t survive.
A work management platform also makes it easier to spot room for business process improvement and remove bottlenecks from the workflow. You can review process performance and see how it impacts the delivery of a project.
Take a look at SmartSuite as an example. Using our software, you can visualize the success of projects in a variety of ways. You can create dashboards, produce project reports, and get real-time updates.
All of these features allow you to track progress and identify areas of continuous improvement, allowing you to make your processes stronger in the future.
Helpful for Remote Teams
If you use cloud-based work management software, remote teams can access the platform from anywhere.
This means that everyone can see what’s going on when you launch new processes — no matter where they’re working from. Whether they’re on the road, working from home, or working in a local cafe, they can access all their work information wherever they have internet.
Find out more about the best practices of remote work for employees and employers.
Manage Business Processes with SmartSuite
Effective business processes are the backbone of any successful business. Without solid processes in place, productivity can take a hit, which can restrict business growth.
When it comes to creating your own business process, a work management platform can be incredibly helpful. With the right platform, you can easily create, test, implement, and monitor new business processes and solutions.
If you’re looking for a way to improve existing processes or create entirely new ones, sign up to SmartSuite today. We’ll help you carry out workflow management as efficiently as possible.