We Asked Top Executives to Share Their Trusted Business Process Management Routines

Seventeen power players in their field shared what insights they use to keep their organizations and teams in tip-top shape.

 

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Consider the full picture

Very rarely a set of processes does not cross the borders of one department or functional team. Therefore improving it should involve reflecting on the wider business landscape, especially if we are able to move some tasks between the silos or from client-side for additional efficiency gains. Also, we might identify wasteful or duplicated processes.

Highlight the purpose
Every change is met with some degree of resistance what prompts the need to understand the rationale of that change.. As one of major goals of process improvement is decreasing the volume of work required to complete it, those who execute related tasks might fear redundancies or being incompetent to handle the new normal. Very helpful there is to address such concerns by emphasizing that after the initial discomfort, the profile of work will be even more aligned with the expertise of the individuals. After all, nobody likes to execute mundane procedures, without an outlook for them being automated.

Minimize operational bias
Agreeing on change is always a compromise between long-term success and short-term comfort. Therefore, it pays off to include an expert detached from the business as usual operations when engaging in the process reengineering. Very often it also benefits the operational stakeholders, improving their understanding of long-term goals.

Respect non-negotiable conditions
Before outlining the best possible solution, its mandatory elements have to be considered. If the company has a set of data safety procedures, they must be included in the requirements from the very beginning. Otherwise, we risk having to work on last-minute adjustments and failing to meet deadlines or having to redo the bulk of work.

Include the stakeholders
They will own or be the beneficiaries of the new processes and thus their voice should be heard and their capabilities taken into account. A simple walk me through conversation acts as insurance against future user experience difficulties. It also lets us integrate the new solutions with the existing ones better.

Michael Sena
Excel, VBA & Process Improvement Consultant
Senacea
www.senacea.co.uk/
www.linkedin.com/company/senacea/
www.senacea.co.uk/hotel-case-study

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I doubt that we can be 100% remote 100% of the time, as sooner or later that cuts into every teams cohesion. From personal experience, a good metric to have is to note the amount of time people are spending communicating and coordinating, especially for ongoing projects and processes. While many factors can contribute to upticks in this signal, we see that as the slow onset of confidence breakdown, that members of the team no longer have a confident understanding or trust for what other team members are doing, or capable of doing or even share the same goals & aspirations.

When you observe either a long-term upward trend or sharp upticks in this signal, its time to facilitate a different type of communication, one that is not necessarily directly linked to the business but helps to build and strengthen informal networks and relationships within the team, to build everyones confidence in one another. While being physically co-located is one way to achieve this, there are definitely alternatives as were observing an explosion in communication and collaboration tools during this pandemic.

Coincidentally, one of our core applications that helps to anchor critical operational process data into an auditable log specifically resolves a big chunk of the coordination and communication overhead (and the underlying lack of confidence) problem.  We help remote team members and external collaborators to lock down and agree upon facts, so theres no time wasted on arguing about what is true, no erosion of confidence when numbers don’t match up, and minimizes disputes and risk of litigation. While what were building is highly unique, it is still not a complete replacement for the type of informal, confidence-building activities and communications aforementioned – at least not as long as humans are still involved.

Steven Pu
CEO and Co-Founder
Taraxa.io

Home


www.linkedin.com/in/steven-pu/
medium.com/taraxa-project/taraxa-bridging-the-confidence-gap-in-operational-erp-systems-c8d70c42c4ce/

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One of my main goals in working with small businesses is to help them define which business operation processes they need and write how those processes are going to work. Often, the clients that I work with are struggling to grow their business to the next level because of a lack of business processes.

I’ll use the example of Client A. Client A, like all of my clients, was extremely skilled and talented in their line of work. They brought years of experience and a wealth of knowledge and had created a business that was trusted by large consumer brands. They had recently adopted some fantastic SaaS tools to streamline their business, but lacked any processes around how their team was going to use them. Unfortunately, this was causing a disconnect between teams that ultimately caused confusion between sales and support and led to new leads dropping off and support requests to go missing.

So how did process management help?

I spent time with the CEO and her team to review the tools that they were using and ensure that they were the right fit. We consolidated where it was needed, and used her highly skilled development team to integrate the ones we were going to use. Then, we created clear simple processes that clearly defined each department’s role and how they communicated with each other. We also wrote processes to explain which department used what tool and how, and defined how Status Calls Were going to be run for effective task management and prioritization. Defining These processes, allowed greater accountability for team members, and let Client As Customer Success team to becoming full-fledged all-stars in working across departments and clients, leading to more customer satisfaction.

Is it possible to have too many processes?

Processes and procedures are intended to evolve as your company grows. It’s possible that the way you were doing things 3 months ago is no longer relevant to where your business currently stands or the clients that you have. I recommend setting up standard, regular review of processes every 6 months to ask questions such as:
Is this process still necessary?
Is this still how we do it?
Have any major issues arisen that we should include?

By managing your processes, you’re helping to eliminate recurring issues within your business, and proactively prevent new ones. Don’t forget it’s important to store processes in a spot that is accessible to all team members to make sure everyone is up to date and on the same page.

Susan Fennema
Chaos Eradicating Officer (CEO)
Beyond the Chaos

Managing Processes

Homepage


twitter.com/susanfennema/
www.linkedin.com/company/beyond-the-chaos/
www.calendly.com/beyondthechaos/btc/
www.facebook.com/beyondthechaos/
www.linkedin.com/in/susanfennema/

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Here is how I approached and learned before starting my web design business

Lead Qualification:

I am surprised by so many business and agency owners define – what is a lead? If a prospect fills out a form or calls me, then it is not an enquiry, not a qualified lead. I generally send them a questionnaire to be filled or ask few questions about their business, if they’re not answering them and only concerned about price, it’s a red flag for me

You don’t have to speak to 30 people each day, you’d need to disqualify people who’re not the right fit. How? Pricing, budget, documentation and their end goals are something that has helped me get going. I save a lot of time. You don’t need 25 clients to survive, but only 5 quality clients. This lets me focus on mid to high ticket clients.

Onboarding:

I educate my client over an email, of how the engagement will work, how many design revisions are included and what we will be doing over the course of next 4-5 weeks. Break up is given on cost proposals. I reiterate the stuff mentioned in the proposal.

I share 2-3 design samples. Once they approve, we start the design process. Everything is transparent from day 1.

I share a Google document for the website content. We charge for content production and inform our clients that they act as a subject matter expert. Why?

Simple, we are web design and content experts. We write for humans who’re searching on Google or Bing for your business. Apt use of headings, images and messaging drives traffic and leads.

I empower them to provide me genuine design feedback which will act as a progression. We usually share a test URL after 10 days. This will let them know about the progress.of our work.

In the end, I send them a final review email which can include minor tweaks in content and image. For example, “Provide us a list of any minor content-related revisions, like grammatical mistakes, stray typos, changing the destination of a link, or even swapping out 1-2 photos. If you have more extensive revisions at this time, that’s okay too! Let us know what you need and we’ll put together a change order outlining the new scope of work, timeline, and additional investment.”

Once the design and content is approved after multiple revisions (max 2), we host the site and make it live

Rahul Gulati
Founder
GyanDevign Tech Services LLP,
devigntech.com/web-designing-services

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How did you develop the process?

I consulted with my mentors and then presented it to the organization. I also used design thinking with my team to get the best insights.

What are the core business processes?

Customer service is one of our core focus. We maintain client relationships to ensure our reputation and service quality.

What is your organization known for doing well?

Our firm has helped companies reduce their expenses of up to $150 million. In addition, we transform an Accounts Payable Department into an additional revenue channel and improve efficiency and security of paying vendors with no additional cost. Finally, we find ways for clients to achieve tax liability reductions and increase near-term cash flows by implementing programs and strategies at the state, local and federal levels.

This has actually inspired my firm to sustain our customer relationship investments no matter how difficult today’s situation is.

Michael Hammelburger
CEO
The Bottom Line Group

Expense Reduction Consultants


www.linkedin.com/in/michael-moshe-hammelburger-mba-b6877712/

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How did you develop the process?

We believe in the principle of continuous improvement, popularized by Toyota and now used throughout the manufacturing industry alongside other efficiency protocols like Lean Six Sigma. From the perspective of a service business, continuous improvement means constantly iterating frequently testing with quantifiable measurements to assess the impact of process changes and implementing those changes that improve efficiency. As the term indicates, this is an ongoing process that operates on the thesis that improvements can always be made and efficiencies always found.

What are the core business processes?

Our core business processes all relate to the delivery of our products and services. Put another way, they answer the question: What does your company do? Any processes not directly adjacent to that answer are non-core.

What is your organization known for doing well?

We educate consumers and business owners about the financial and finance-related topics that they need to know to thrive in an ever-changing, increasingly uncertain world. We measure our success by the extent to which were able to empower the public to master key financial concepts and take ownership of their own financial situations.

Brian Martucci
Money Crashers
www.moneycrashers.com

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We developed our business processes on our own. Basically, we sat down and wrote a standard operating procedure (SOP) for each key task that our team members needed to do. Once we had all of our most important tasks written down, we delegated every task to one member of our team, along with the estimated time that they need to spend on it. One thing that our organization is known for is that we rationalize our time very well.

In other words, we don’t hire new people if someone in our team can handle a task within their workweek. We don’t like to hire for the sake of hiring – we only hire when there’s a necessity in our team and too many tasks for our existing team to handle.

Stefan Smulders
Founder of Expandi
expandi.io/

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Business process management is so important to me as a small business owner I declared 2020 the Year of the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).

For starters, core business processes include Financial Controls, Legalities, Online Platforms, Operations, Software Systems, Human Resources, Marketing, Purchasing, Quality Assurance, and Sales. However, if you only write one procedure, write your ICE – in case of an emergency. Your ICE procedure should be detailed enough for your designee(s) to act in your absence.

Developing a user-friendly onboarding process for new clients was a must for my virtual assistant business and has received positive feedback. Creating SOPs is paramount to small business owners to save time, save money, and slash stress.

Melissa St. Clair
Paper Chaser Biz LLC

Home

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Our business processes were developed through past experience and some trial and error, which I don’t feel is a bad thing. It helped us understand which processes are most important to us. Mainly customer/consumer engagement, acquisitions, affiliate sales, content creation, editorial reviews, and management.

We used standard, core processes at first, and once we found our footing as a business, we adjusted our processes to better suit our goals. For example, we put a large focus on the editorial review process which sees every piece of content go through a rigorous evaluation to ensure it meets the standards of our site. This feeds into our customer/consumer service, with the intent of driving more affiliate sales and opening the door for more partnerships.

I’d say this process is one we’ve really pinned down. It’s what sets us apart from other publications, and what allows me to be proud of the integrity fostered within my company.

Rex Freiberger
CEO Gadget Review
www.gadgetreview.com/

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Our core business processes are sales, marketing, management, customer service, and leads acquisition. These processes are what help our business flow smoothly, and there are several sub-processes within them.

They were all developed based off of a blueprint of competitors, later tweaked once we discovered what worked for us. Every decision we make is highly data-driven, so if a process isn’t working, there’s nothing subjective in determining that. We know from the numbers and can make necessary adjustments.

One thing we focus on above all else is customer service and satisfaction. We make sure this process is always running smoothly, because our customers and clients are the backbone of our company. If this process breaks down, everything else goes with it.

Dan Bailey
President
WikiLawn
www.wikilawn.com/

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Our support team is a source of significant pride among our company because of our very refined process and upfront boundaries on services.

We find that a huge number of our positive reviews occur as a result of our continuing support operations and they assist us in retaining long term clients. Developing this process was slow and done via experience with clients, we had the basic concept and the beginning.

But, we have since refined and standardized many of the elements which had been reoccurring. The key to any new process is the ability to handle most situations and adapt to new ones as they come.

Alexander M. Kehoe
Co-Founder & Operations Director
Caveni

Home

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The development of the process here at Credit Repair was something that had to be perfected over time, however I believe it’s made our life a lot easier in the long run. Although time and money has been put into it, it was an essential part of the business strategy. The core business processes are the data storage of all our customers and their credit ratings over a certain period of time.

We have to store this data securely with the right compliance. A lot of help was needed to ensure that these processes were created in the right way, we had to be inspected and audited to ensure that we were up to the government standards and I’m happy to say that we are.

We’re known for our work because the core value of what we do is to help people, we want to see the right changes for those who have struggled with their credit in the past but believe that what we do can help them get back on track.

Andrew Roderick
CEO
Credit Repair Companies
creditrepaircompanies.com/
twitter.com/creditrepaircos/
www.linkedin.com/company/creditrepaircompanies/

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Business process management is not something that is created to be brilliant from the start, usually it’s created to help you run the business, over time it becomes something that runs the business for you. For us, this business management process is automated text messaging. It means that we don’t have to spend hours typing out text messages to individual businesses, we can select sectors that the messages are appropriate for and target their customers accordingly.

It’s a process which took many years to develop, however it has become an essential part of our daily running. Now, we are known for a high quality messaging service and catchy marketing which is seen by thousands every day. Our campaigns are highly successful with our customers always being left satisfied by our work.

Christopher Prasad
Marketing Manager
JookSMS

Homepage


www.linkedin.com/in/christopher-prasad-24141197/
www.linkedin.com/company/jooksms.com/

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I work with small businesses, many of whom started out as one individual and are looking to grow their businesses through increased profits, more employees, or selling new types of services. The biggest hurdle that I find that these businesses face is a lack of policy, processes, and procedures which cause them to reinvent the wheel every time they take on a task. Nothing is systemized,and so, in particular with a small business, this means that the owner can step away from the day-to-day tasks and focus on creatively growing the business.

In case you need a short lesson on what the difference between policy, process, and procedure is, I’ll quickly define it. If you’re looking for more information, check out this blog post. beyondthechaos.biz/policy-process-and-procedures/

Policy: The Rules non-negotiable thing such as what day do you pay your employees
Process: The Steps on how you accomplish task such as how/when do you post to Social Media
Procedures: A Checklist – it’s the list you follow along with to complete a task

So, what are the Core Business Processes?

In theory, everything you do for your business should be written down as a process. However, I do think there are core processes every business, regardless of size should consider:
How do you make sure you get paid from your client?
How do you sell something to a new client?
How do you onboard new employees?
How/when do you pay employees?
How do you use a SaaS tool and what is its specific function? (i.e. do you use a time tracking or project management software)

These are, for the most part, the basic processes that any functioning business will need to keep themselves operating. Why is it important to document and follow a consistent process? Well, without them, you can’t get any help if you’re feeling overwhelmed, or looking to expand your team. Many of the CEOs I work with are highly creative individuals who are looking to get rid of the more mundane tasks that are needed to keep their business running, and without a Standard Operating Process for those tasks,they can hand them off.

Also, having a process written down allows you to repeat the successes of what works for your business. If you’re finding that there’s a certain method to onboarding a client or providing them a new service that was particularly successful, you want to document it so that your teammates can be effective in repeating this success. It also helps to highlight the things that aren’t working about your business so that you can adapt and adjust.

How did you develop the process?

If you’re currently a one-person show then the easiest way to develop a process is to write down all the things you do and how you do them. You don’t have to do this all at one time and can focus on writing it out each time you work on something. Once you are complete, make sure to store these processes in a place that will be accessible for future employees.

If you’re not a one-person show, partner with your teammates in creating a process. If there is something that one particular person does well, have them write out the process for you to review. This is specifically a great time to partner with a project manager or operations manager to go through and see what is really working for your team. Make sure you get feedback from those in your organization you trust, in order to make sure you’re documenting things that people find efficient and effective. Finally,once the process is complete, make it mandatory that each team member reviews and follows the new process.

It’ll be important to set up Standard Reviews every six months of your process documents to manage them and make sure they are up to date. This will be the time you will want to incorporate any feedback you received over the past few months from your clients or team members.

What is your organization known for doing well?

Beyond the Chaos is known for creating Chaos-Free Environments for Small Businesses across industries. We help you gain control of your business through project management, process development, organization , and structure of your business operations. We can help individuals feel less overwhelmed, more effective, and quite productive at the end of the day through our talented operations consultants and project managers.

Susan Fennema
Chaos Eradicating Officer (CEO)
Beyond the Chaos

Homepage


www.facebook.com/beyondthechaos/
www.linkedin.com/in/susanfennema/

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I’m Neal Taparia. I founded Imagine Easy Solutions, a software company I grew and sold, and I also served as an executive at Chegg, an NYSE public company. With the newest company I’ve been incubating, Solitaired, where we tie classic games to brain training, we focus on outsourcing strong business processes.

We run a number of ad networks which provide millions of data points that our team has to analyze. It’s time consuming to gather and cleanse the data, but we need it to make sure we maximize our ad revenue.

We defined a process where an outsourced partner can collect this data and organize it, while a separate outsourced partner would sanity check the data. This has saved our analysts over 20 hours a week, which they now use towards revenue generating initiatives.

As a general rule with my team, if there is work that can be outsourced through places like Upwork, we encourage our team to do it. We want everyone focused on what’s most important, not tasks like data gathering.

Neal Taparia
Solitaired – Bringing brain training and classic games together.
solitaired.com/
www.linkedin.com/in/nealtaparia/

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The best way to understand your business process is to complete a value stream mapping which is a specialized form documenting the process flow. The value stream map begins with the customers request and ends with that request being fulfilled. We then map all of the steps and ancillary processes that are required to deliver value to the customer.

After mapping the flow of work begin by collecting a few simple metrics. Initially focus on the total time it takes for the request to be fulfilled which is know as the lead time. Next look at the waiting time between different process steps. Often more time is spent waiting for a step to be executed than the actual time it takes to do the work.

Look at the process steps and ask if they provide value to the customer. In other words, would the customer be willing to explicitly spend money to have this step executed. Quite often, we inject process steps that support perceived internal needs, but do not add to the customer’s experience.

The value stream map provides a clear, graphical representation of the work involved. The next step is asking the difficult questions on how do we make the process better. What steps can we eliminate or consolidate? Can we create opportunities for more end-to-end ownership of the customer experience? That is the harder work.

Alan Zucker
Founding Principal
Project Management Essentials LLC

HOME

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How did you develop the process?

While each business is different, Expect Tax and Accounting Inc takes the following phased approach when developing processes for other businesses:

1. Evaluate the organizational culture and infrastructure, identify and prioritize existing and needed processes and technology, address redundant and inefficient processes;
2. Design new processes that streamline communication between people, functions, and departments, identify individual tasks and assign stakeholders to execute the processes, and implement the enhanced processes that meet the expectations in relation to process performance and strategic business needs;
3. Provide training for participants on the what, why, and how of the core business processes;
4. Test the processes on a small sample to close any gaps and make adjustments as necessary, then execute when all kinks have been worked out;
5. Measure the effectiveness and efficiency of the new processes against requirements;
6. Monitor and control the processes to ensure performance is as expected, observe and analyze any patterns.

What are the core business processes?

Although there can be an infinite number of processes, there are some that are vital to running a business because without them or a clear understanding of them, you may end up with redundant and inefficient processes, bottlenecks that create major slowdowns, or creating silos that eat up large amounts of resources. All of these can have significant impacts on the financial stability of the company.

The ten most common core business processes for any type of business are:

1. Product/Service Development & Delivery
2. Sales
3. Human Resources
4. Financial Planning, Analysis & Reporting, & Capital Management
5. Management Responsibilities
6. Marketing
7. Customer Strategy
8. Accounting Management
9. Information Technology (IT) Management
10. Quality Control (QC), Process Improvement, & Change Management

Small businesses start off using a small combination of these until they grow to the point of implementing the remaining processes. Processes used most often by small businesses include:

1. Sales & Marketing
2. Accounting & IT
3. QC & Product/Service Delivery
4. Management, HR & Finance
5. Product/Service Development
What is your organization known for doing well?

Expect Tax and Accounting Inc is known for helping businesses improve their accounting processes to help them analyze their financial data in order to make better business decisions. We do this by determining which areas need improvement, analyzing and optimizing accounting processes that will reflect a more accurate forecast of future profits, preparing and analyzing various financial reports, offering advice on improving profitability, and ensuring compliance with federal regulations.

Angela Nedd
Expect Tax & Accounting, Inc.
www.My-Expect.com

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