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A Tale of Two Mindsets: Why Documented Processes Matter

Every business owner wants to have the business of their dreams with lots of cash flow and profitability. However, not every business owner knows what levers to pull in their business to make that happen. Many will say, “I’m not good at managing finances” or “I might fail at managing the finances of my business, so I’m not going to even try”. 

These are two symptoms of a fixed mindset of the business owner (if you missed our blog on growth mindset vs. fixed mindset for a business owner, check it out here).  

Growing a business is all about people and processes. The fundamental difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset is the owner’s perception of the connection between ability and results.   

I’ve worked with several business owners that have elements of a fixed mindset. Each of these owners didn’t have processes in writing, such as an accounting process or how new leads move through a sales process, and there was no management inspection of processes to be sure they were being followed by employees. Several of these owners also had trouble viewing marketing as an investment, rather than just a cost, so they didn’t have a process for marketing at all. 

When it came to hiring people, one of these business owners didn’t have a hiring process or any human resources processes. They simply would pick 3 people to interview a potential employee and largely focused on skills/qualifications, rather than also paying attention to fit or behavior. You see, these business owners didn’t see a need to have documented processes that laid out how the business runs. They had a fixed mindset that processes were unnecessary. But this mindset assumes that everyone was following the process that was in the business owner’s head and that nothing was being overlooked. 

But in reality, without documented processes, employees are going to perform processes the way they think it should be done, or how things were done at a previous company. Having documented processes that are followed by all significantly eliminates the risks of skipped steps or mistakes, helping the business to run more efficiently. By creating processes, you’re actually allowing room for more growth than you may have thought possible. 

On the flip side, I’ve worked with several business owners that have achieved a growth mindset when operating their business. While many of these owners didn’t have documented processes at first, they have realized the benefit and created them. This enabled them to then delegate the accountability for the processes being followed.  

One business owner has brought in a VP of marketing that has significantly increased opportunities for the firm, which has contributed to significant sales growth. Another owner focused on processes of business development, talent development and talent management, and retention. These actions have taken the company to year-over-year sales greater than industry averages.

Each of these business owners has seen that documenting processes can open up a world of benefits such as increased capacity to handle new leads, employees gaining a sense of responsibility, and freed up mental space for the business owner. While documenting processes is an upfront investment of time, it saves time and energy in the long-run, creating room for your business to grow.  

These business owners with a growth mindset are planning for the future and can overcome common challenges of creativity and progress. This mindset also helps managers and co-workers evaluate what’s possible and work to reach their full potential. The outcome is an environment where all workers have the freedom to grow, learn, and improve and are all working together to deliver their product/service efficiently and effectively. 

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