A business process is a series of repeatable steps taken by a team or company to achieve some sort of business goal: managing deliveries, assembling products, onboarding employees, etc.
The key aspect of a business process is repeatability – a process is not a one-time thing.
Let’s say the process is employee onboarding. To onboard an employee, your organization would have to…
- Prepare & hand out the right paperwork
- Assign them a role in the company
- Prepare all of their tech – access to communication, project management tools, etc.
- Prepare the workstation
- Introduce to their team & colleagues
Every step here is structured and repeatable. No matter how many employees you hire, you’d have to go through the exact same steps. If a step is missed, it might lead to a very disoriented employee & an unproductive day. On the bright side, the process is very easy to map out or organize using software, maybe even turn it into a checklist.
The main benefit of business processes is that they streamline your business. You can, for example, tell your manager to go “onboard this new employee,” and maybe get some results. Or, they might forget to have them sign some critical document & end up getting sued within a year. With a structured business process, on the other hand, the manager knows exactly what they have to do step-by-step.
This, in turn, makes your business much more efficient…
- Clearer Responsibilities – Everyone knows what task they’re supposed to be working on. So, you won’t have employees working on the same task, for example, or a task being left undone because no one thought it was their job
- Fewer Errors – Since everyone’s on top of their work, there’s much less room for human error
- Higher Productivity – With the tasks communicated properly around the organization, your employees will end up being more productive, as less time is spent on organizational issues
- Lowered Costs – With the added productivity, employees will have much better “output,” as they spend less time on useless work and more on the tasks that really matter
Business Process Examples
There are countless business process examples all around – it’s something that can be found in every organization. Whether you’re a small startup doing content marketing or a giant corporation manufacturing state-of-the-art smartphones, you’re doing all this through business processes.
Client Onboarding Process
When onboarding new clients, an agency has to display professionalism, courtesy, and expertise. If you end up acquiring a big client, the last thing you want to happen is your team sitting there and wondering, “Ok, so what next?”
If you have a clear, defined client onboarding process, however, that’ll be a thing of the past. For the sake of an example, let’s look at the case with a marketing agency.
- Schedule an initial meeting. Get to know the client’s business, how the industry works, how’s the competition, etc.
- Assess company goals & assets. Know what your client wants from you, and how you can use their strengths to achieve those goals
- Define KPIs. The client will want to have a way to measure your progress, making sure that you’re bringing in results
- Create an action plan. What your team is going to do within the week, month, year, etc.
- Pitch the client. See if they like the proposed strategy. If not, start over. If they do, assign all the tasks to the right team members.
Content Marketing Process
Content marketing can be a very hectic mess unless you organize it into clear business processes. Unless you work on this, you’ll end up having 20 work-in-progress articles lost in limbo, a very confused designer, and a confused follower-base – desperately waiting for their weekly article.
Depending on your strategy, there are a lot of different ways to establish content marketing workflows.
For the sake of an example, let’s go through a very basic publishing process…
- The content writer takes up & finishes the first draft of an article. Includes descriptions of any custom images that are to be used in the article
- The marketer gathers influencer contact information, to be used for advertising and marketing once the article is done
- The editor proof-reads the article, makes points on grammar, style, spelling, etc.
- The designer creates custom images as asked, sending them over to the content writer
- The writer takes the comments into consideration, fixes any mistakes, and adds the images to the article
- The SEO expert makes sure that the article meets the right optimization best-practices & publishes the article
- The marketer uses a combination of advertising & email outreach to make sure that the article is read
Business Process Mapping, Improvement, Re-Engineering & Automation
Business processes are, essentially, the building blocks of any organization.
The thing is, though, that for a lot of businesses, the processes are unorganized and implicit. Everyone has a general idea of what’s going on and what needs to be done, but it’s not on paper or is not tracked through software.
To get most out of your business processes, there are 4 things you could do.
Business Process Mapping
Business Process Mapping is pretty straightforward – you probably have a pretty good idea of how your business works. If you’ve been doing it for a while, then you definitely know the ins and outs of it!
So, you’d want to put down all your processes on paper. You could either use actual paper for this, a flowchart software, or workflow management software. From then on out, you can use the graph to analyze or keep track of your processes.
As a given, the more advanced your tool is, the more benefits you’ll get. Workflow software, for example, in addition to allowing for mapping, also lets you keep track of the process in real time.
Business Process Improvement (BPI)
Once you have all the processes down, you’ll get an even better idea on how your business works. That would eventually lead you to initiate a business process improvement (BPI) campaign – from a top-down view, it’s very easy to spot weaknesses in your processes. Sometimes you’ll find tasks that are completely useless, others, you’ll find more efficient ways to do them.
In some cases, you’ll find that some tasks are completely useless and can be skipped. In others, you might find a much better, faster way to do them.
Business Process Automation (BPA)
One way to improve your business processes is to just put technology into the mix – and that’s where business process automation (BPA) comes in. Any task that is extremely menial – that is, too much manual labor – there’s a chance that software can do it much better and faster.
Say, for example, a team member has to email the person who’s responsible for the next step of a process. Rather than having to manually do it, business process management software (BPMS) could do it for them.
Business Process Re-Engineering (BPR)
In some cases, you’ll realize that your processes are just completely out of date. Rather than take something old and add up on it, it’s going to be much easier to just completely re-do them.
Business Process Re-Engineering (BPR) means taking your old processes and finding new ways to carry them out. This can be with the help of technology, for example. Instead of manually doing accounting in the form of a physical ledger, you could adopt some accounting software that makes the old process completely redundant.
A more recent example is using smart contracts for BPR. DNN, decentralized news network, powers it’s publishing system through smart contracts. The submitted articles need to be reviewed by different readers in order to select the best one and push it to the editors and ultimately to the publishers. Smart contracts can help you move the articles through the publishing pipeline, stage after stage, while reducing biases and increasing efficiency.
Now that you have a good idea of how business processes work, you might want to start mapping them out and possibly carrying out a BPI or BPR initiative.
And the best way to do that is through Workflow Management Software. Map, optimize, and streamline your processes with Tallyfy – simply by adopting software, you’re already taking the first step in making your processes more efficient.