Bring It All Together: How to Implement Processes in a Nutshell – Part 1

Once a business grows to a certain level of success, it becomes an absolute necessity to organize daily tasks to avoid mistakes. Errors happen all the time, and inconsistencies can result in unhappy customers, tense employees, and unbudgeted costs.

The best way to organize these daily duties is to create and implement business processes. A process is a group of tasks that are performed within a business to obtain a specific objective—it is like a chain of events that guides a project from start to finish. By clearly outlining for yourself and your company what the main processes in your company are and how, ideally, they should work, you will gain greater efficiency.

[Photo: Benjamin Punzalan/Unsplash]

[Photo: Benjamin Punzalan/Unsplash]

How to Thoroughly Organize Your Business as It Grows

1. Take the plunge and decide to organize your business’s processes.

In the first step, the decision is made to design the business’s processes to ensure quality and efficiency (Peace of Mind: How Processes Can Ease a New Employee’s Transition). The amount of work to be done can seem vast. There are, after all, many actions that take place daily in business. Even though organizing the main processes that happen in a firm is hard work, it is just a matter of moving forward to the following stages. 

2. List the departments you lead.

Next, broadly categorize the areas for which you are responsible. For instance, you might oversee sales and marketing, or you could be a small business owner who is responsible for everything in your firm. Clarify what these departments are.

Sometimes this step involves some more work than what is immediately apparent. If a person is responsible for everything in a firm, the number of categories that first comes to mind may be too numerous. If this is your case, try looking up business departments in other companies, and see which are the ones that are relevant to you.

3. Diagram the area you want to work on.

Select one department to improve. To practice, you can start with the easiest one or the area you know the best. The next step is to diagram how it works now (How to Use Diagrams to Implement Processes in Your Business). The diagram is used to demonstrate how the processes are currently being performed.

Figure out what the primary processes are and then diagram them. The diagram itself does not have to be perfect, but it does need to represent reality as it currently is.

The goal here is to find hidden inefficiencies and time-wasters. For example, a diagram of the accounts payable process under purchasing would include some of the following steps:

  • Receive bill

  • Record the bill in the system

  • Receive approvals

  • Pay the bill

You might be surprised by the obvious problems that show up once the processes are visibly laid out as they currently are. There might be redundancies or work that isn’t being done, for instance. Other times, the flow might be convoluted or doesn’t make sense. As you diagram, think about the best way to organize what you see and look for ways in which the processes you currently have can be streamlined.

[Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash]

[Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash]

4. Create a diagram of the area as you’d like it to be.

Having looked at how tasks are currently handled, you can now create a diagram of how they should be treated. The process should be as simple and fluid as possible. The “Only Handle It Once” concept also known as the OHIO principle is beneficial to ensure items are only worked on completely at set intervals and not in bits and pieces. Otherwise, you run the risk of duplicating efforts and wasting time.

There are many examples of process flowcharts online, and they can be found by searching for business processes. Although it is vital to diagram the processes as thoroughly as possible, I recommend mapping them all in a way that makes the most sense to you. These diagrams can be perfected later.

Moving to a process-based model is iterative, so the processes in the firm will continuously be updated and improved as the team provides feedback and you learn about what works best for your particular situation.

Please check in next week for Part 2 of Bring it All Together: How to Implement Processes in a Nutshell. I will outline the final five steps for process implementation.


Pamela Ayuso is an author and the co-founder and CEO of Celaque. She is a real estate entrepreneur and developer who has executive leadership experience in two of the most successful real estate developers in Honduras — managing operations at Alianza and leading Celaque. Celaque develops office and residential buildings and manages a broad portfolio of properties. Pamela’s focus is on growing Celaque into a model for the 21st-century company.

In addition to her role as CEO at Celaque, Pamela is the author of Amazon best-selling book, Heptagram: The 7-Pillar Business Design System for the 21st Century. She offers practical business and personal development insights for other entrepreneurs and business leaders on her blog and LinkedIn. Her husband and her three wonderful daughters inspired the story of her first children’s book, Alicia and Bunnie Paint a Mural.       

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