Taking a look at how work flows through your business is a great way to get ready for growth.
One of my clients in the construction industry has been finding that a simple work flow map has helped him to clarify team roles, generate new job descriptions, and delegate more effectively. In turn, these activities have been increasing team engagement, which over time will reduce errors and increase profits.
Here are some tips for preparing your own work flow analysis.
- Schedule time in your calendar to develop your map. If you’ve got a few minutes today, you can get started right away.
- Remove your “owner” hat, and put on your “customer” hat. Aim to see your business from your customer's point of view, and work backwards from that.
- Now list every touch point your client or customer has with your business, and ask yourself a few questions about each one. For example...
- (Marketing & Sales):
- How do they first hear about you?
- How do you bring them into your communications funnel?
- How do you help them want to stay there? How do you help them decide to buy?
- Once they’re here, what do they buy?
- How has your team created this product or service for them? Start with the finished product or service and work backwards to identify the steps, projects, and tasks that got you to your goal. Include touch points with suppliers and tradespeople as well.
- (Customer Care):
- Once they’ve purchased, how do you follow up with excellent service and support?
- How do you stay in touch with your customers over time?
- How do you help them refer new clients? And so on.
Use your touch points list to create your work flow chart. Do a mind map if you prefer that format.
For a chart, I suggest 5 to 7 vertical columns from left to right. See sample diagram below.
List your touch points on the far left with one touch point per line. Fill in the rest of the columns with important information related to your work flow. For example, in addition to listing the task, you'll need to:
- define what each task means, clearly enough so that a newbie could understand it.
- list the specific steps required to complete the task.
- consider other business systems that will support each step and task.
- consider any documentation that would help a new team member know what is required.
- decide the person or role accountable for implementing the step.
- plan how you will measure success for each step.
As you review your business literally "from start to finish", you'll find you notice gaps and strengths you never saw before, and build a stronger foundation to drive your business forward.