Organizing the operations of a business into processes can be time-consuming and perhaps overwhelming. I did not realize just how much we do on a daily basis until I started cataloging everything. From the calls we make and the proposals we send out, to negotiations with suppliers and communication with accounting, everything we do includes different steps that need to be documented.
The investment, though, pays off: your firm will benefit immensely from implementing processes ( for more on how to implement processes read my article on How to Improve and Grow Your Business with Effective Processes).
1. More Efficiency
One of the major time-wasters each day is jumping from one responsibility to the next without a set order. The nature of work, however, is that we are constantly interrupted and forced to take care of unrelated tasks.
Processes help streamline those interruptions and organize aggregated tasks into groups. When an entire area is grouped and worked on as a whole, there is no time wasted in going from one thing to the next, putting something down and picking something else up. The idea is to establish set times in which to do everything that needs to be accomplished.
For example, one process might be to review sales reports only on Mondays and Fridays, instead of reviewing the information when the thought crosses one’s mind. There are two benefits to this. First, the review streamlines your effort into one sitting, saving time. Second, you ensure that you are reviewing the documents as often as is necessary.
This is the concept behind the OHIO principle, which stands for “Only Handle It Once.” Once the process to review the sales reports on Monday begins, the focus is solely on those reports until the review is done.They are then left alone until Friday for the next review.
2. Better Organization
Processes also allow the team to develop routines and positive habits. Routines are extremely useful. They help each person organize time more efficiently and allows the mind to take helpful shortcuts as it gets used to an established way of doing things. Everyone knows when he or she is supposed to be working on what, and each person also knows, for certain, that whatever is meant to be done on that day will get done at the specified and requested time.
Once everyone has their routines organized around corresponding processes, the rest of his or her schedules can be accommodated around the routines, making everything more predictable. Suppose Thursday mornings are when Tom writes checks and organizes the payments that need to go out in the following week. If somebody tries to schedule a meeting with him on a Thursday morning, he will already know that will not work, which will also guarantee that Tom will complete the payment process properly. Because his week is set up in a pattern, he can reschedule in available space for other kinds of meetings.
As part of a trickle-down effect, other people also start organizing around these processes. If, for instance, payments go out only on Tuesdays, suppliers will stop calling to find out when checks are ready as they will simply start to show up on Tuesdays. External vendors and suppliers will shape their routines around your team’s.
3. Less Stress
With Wrike, Asana, and other project management apps, a notification shows up recurrently on the date when the task needs to get started. Because the software remembers everything, nobody has to worry whether something will be forgotten. There will be less tension and stress all around.
Reminders can even be set up for processes that take some time to execute. For instance, every year the firm must pay taxes. To avoid a delayed start, you can program a recurrent task as a reminder to start working on taxes two months ahead of the deadline. This task will provide ample time to prepare and deliver them on time. That underlying stress about forgetting to start something on time is now gone.
The same thing will happen to your team. Their processes will show up via their apps’ notifications so that important tasks will not be forgotten, and everything will get accomplished with plenty of time. There will be less time wasted in fixing or worrying about forgotten items.
4. More Accuracy
Processes can make an enormous difference in reducing error. This is the final and most important benefit because mistakes are often costly and painful; they can result in a cascade of negative effects many times more complex than the original cause.
The description of each process will explain everything that needs to be done for that particular task. It will include what needs to be done by whom and when so that no critical item will be left out or forgotten. By documenting each important step, there will be fewer oversights and happier employees and customers.
Processes become even more critical in times of business growth. As a company develops, the complexity increases as well. Processes will continue to allow a company to grow smoothly, ensuring that everything that needs to be done is accomplished successfully.
Implement Effective Processes to See Your Company Strengthen and Grow
As time goes on, processes will become part of your company’s culture because everybody will see how essential they are. Remember, processes are never set in stone. Keep polishing and refining them so that they are more and more accurate. Although organizing daily tasks takes time and effort, I guarantee your overall investment in process development will be amply rewarded.