Bloop Global

Clearly Defining Your Business Activities

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Small businesses operate without laid down rules and operational procedures. Business activities like onboarding a new client, hiring new staff, customer relations and finding new customers are activities carried out without a plan resulting in very low success rate. Making decisions on a whim can be very risky for your business and stifles continuity. You cannot build a sustainable brand if your business processes are drafted in the minds of just one or two people in the company who know what needs to be done at each point in the business. It needs to clearly spelt out and documented. For the sake of continuity,every business activity should have a documented business process to drive that activity to its desired end consistently. 

 

A typical business process flowchart

Your business process should be realistic.It should cover all the most likely events that could stem from one activity, steering it towards an expected end every time. 

 

Let’s look at the typical onboarding process for an e-commerce store. When a new client places an order on the store to be shipped,

  • the finance team ensures the product has been paid for and is properly documented in the appropriate ledgers.
  • If payment hasn’t been received, they will have the customer service agent request for payment from the client before they proceed.
  • After payment,the store manager is required to make the product available to the logistics manager who in turn  initiates the delivery process.
  • Once the customer confirms receipt of their product either through the signed document on receipt of the package or through a follow up call, the customer service team returns to the client for feedback and reviews.
  • If the client received the products in bad shape, a refund policy is implemented.  The onboarding process ends here; at the point where the client has had first hand experience of the product. 

 

Thoroughly detailing the steps to drive results from each activity helps you to provide information at every stage to both the client and the team. At each stage, the documented process details what needs to be done such that  anyone trained to understand this document can take it up and still get the desired result in the end. 

Documented business processes take time to build but if done properly have great benefits to the success of your business.

Reduces risk 

A well thought out business process makes you better disposed to handle every possible outcome reducing the risk of loss. You cannot completely eliminate risk but having a plan makes you ready at each point to tackle the issue and lower the cost involved. 

 

Increases Productivity

Knowing and predicting what happens at each stage in the process means less time spent on decision making which gives room to increase productivity at each stage as you have an increased capacity to take on more clients.

 

Promotes continuity 

Building businesses that last requires consistency. It is important to have a set of laid down procedures that guide business activities and can be passed down for generations. Consistently following these procedures will expose loopholes in the system that can be resolved to improve the processes. 

 

Here are a few tips  to help you build a realistic business process today.

  1. Take your experiences into account

You’ve been running your business for a while and from your repeated activities, you can predict what to expect and what needs to be done based on the outcome at every stage. What you’re doing here is writing down every step you take to achieve results for the different business activities including the possible outcomes and the actions to take based on each outcome.

 

  1. Create an experience 

The best business processes are centered around creating unforgettable experiences for users (customer, supplier or employee). Looking at your business processes from the user’s perspective helps you understand the user journey in order to create a flow that easily influences their decision and steers them towards the desired goal.

 

  1. Get feedback and reviews

When you lay down the processes, run a test. Have a few people go through the process and observe them. Have them give you their unbiased feedback and make the necessary adjustments. Their feedback will help you better understand your clients needs and provide for them during the process.

 

  1. Allow for innovation and iteration 

After running your business with the process for a few weeks, step back and critically look at the progress you’ve made so far. Based on the data  from every step, redefine or improve on that step. Do this often because consumer behaviour change with time so you will need to keep instep with the trends. Don’t hesitate to make changes to include user trends. Example: You realise over a few months consistently that every time your clients place an order for a book, they order some stationery to go with it. In your sales process, you can include a request for clients to purchase stationery in addition to their book orders at a price they can’t resist. This gives value to the client and also boosts your sales.

 

  1. Automate the process 

To further reduce the time spent on each process, invest in automation. Like Codewit, you can set up a system for responding to student applications in real time. Transitioning from manually sending emails to every new student  who registers for their courses has reduced the amount of time spent during the onboarding process and increased their conversion rates. Need help with your business process automation? We can help you build a process for your major business activities and automate them to give you more time to focus on running your business. Send us an email at ask@bloopglobal or call us on 0245600275.

 

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