Your organization offers a product or service. You feel that you offer a unique value proposition, tool, or approach that makes you and your company the best fit for anyone looking for that product or service, especially when compared to your competition. But, how do you brand that unique value proposition by consistently delivering the same predictable outcome you are providing and your customer is expecting? Likely you have a plan or process, at least, in your head that you go through every time you need to complete the job.
What you have is a basic form of a work flow and as Abe Niedzwiecki of Cabinet NG points out, these are the step by step instructions you undertake to complete the task every time. Man has been using ‘workflows’ since the dawn of time. I’m here to discuss why it’s important to not only have these workflow processes documented but to look seriously at them for improvements, what kind of benefits you can expect to see by having well documented processes, and lastly how to get these processes documented efficiently, clearly, and with no bias or gray areas in them.
First though, why have everything documented? All large corporations and organizations have processes and workflows documented. When I was with a multi-national chemical company not only did we have processes on how to produce a specific product but there were processes created to make sure it was packaged in the correct containers, that the correct quality testing was completed, that any waste products were recycled or disposed of safely, and even how to place the order to sell the product. Oh, there were even more workflows in between these steps too but the idea was that nothing got done without following a workflow. Otherwise errors could occur, profits could be lost, and business could suffer.
Your argument may be that you are not producing a product as complicated or maybe as dangerous as a chemical and you are definitely not as large as huge multi-national chemical company. Maybe it’s just you working or maybe some employees under fairly close supervision by you. But if you even go to the local burger franchise down the street, they too have workflows that ensure your food is made the same way every time, that the food is safe, and that you have an experience consistent with every other restaurant under that brand name. These places operate with only a handful of people and yet they have documented processes so that the business does not suffer wasted product, lawsuits from undercooked/unsafe foods, and operates to achieve the brand image the franchisor has built. You may see more similarities with that scale of business but if not think about some of the companies you may have working for you to provide services at your company or in your home.
The companies that come to mind are the Service Master group of companies such as Furniture Medic, TrueGreen, Terminix, ServiceMaster Clean, and others. These are all national franchises owned by smaller private business and you will always get the same type of product and service from someone owning one of these franchises. Why? Because the owners were trained to follow books upon books of workflows and procedures from how to apply a pesticide to knowing how to clean a stain off of your office carpeting. Not only do the owners know these procedures, but they are passed to the employees so they know how to complete a task and even what uniform to wear. Likely you have more in common with one of these companies than you first thought- except maybe you are not as well documented.
Your company should be seen by you as a franchisor with the franchise being either your expansion into new territories by your own staff, a future partner, a true franchisee, or even the sale of your business to someone else when you retire. Without those processes and procedures being documented you risk not being able to easily sell your business or selling it for less than it’s truly worth. Contact Holt Marketing to discuss how we can help you implement documented workflows and processes to help you achieve success like one of these companies with documentation. The rewards can be substantial, contact us today!