Growth is nearly every business owner’s goal, but the problem is that when a business grows, its processes become more complex. This is because there are more people involved, more tasks to be done, and more dependencies between those tasks. If these processes are not documented, it can be difficult to keep track of what needs to be done, who is responsible for doing it, and how it all fits together. This can lead to errors, delays, and frustration.
A pizza restaurant start-up that opened some time ago was doing well. They had a great product and a passionate team. They were growing quickly, but they soon reached the point where the business became overwhelmed. It happened quickly and they didn’t have time to document their processes, so they were just winging it. This led to a lot of problems.
One Saturday night, the manager realized they only had enough pepperoni for 5 more pizzas. The servers had to apologize for the rest of the evening that they were out of pepperoni (What? A pizza restaurant out of pepperoni?). The customers were understandably upset and many ended up taking their business elsewhere.
The restaurant also began having problems with quality control. They didn’t have a system in place to make sure that their pizzas were meeting their standards. This led to a lot of do-overs and refunds.
They eventually realized that they needed to document their processes. They hired a consultant to help them, and they started to see a difference. Their customer service improved, their quality control improved, and they were able to grow more efficiently.
When you’re getting ready to exit your business, having your processes documented shows the buyer you’re serious about efficiency and effectiveness. Here are the benefits:
- Improved efficiency: When processes are documented, it is easier for everyone to know what needs to be done and how to do it. This can lead to a more efficient use of time and resources.
- Reduced errors: When processes are documented, it is easier to identify and correct errors. This can help to improve the quality of products.
- Improved communication: When processes are documented, it is easier for people to communicate with each other about what needs to be done. This can help to avoid misunderstandings and delays.
- Increased scalability: When processes are documented, it is easier to scale the business. This is because it is easier to train new employees and to add new processes as needed.
- Improved compliance: When processes are documented, it is easier to ensure that the business is complying with regulations. This can help to avoid fines and penalties.
There are many different ways to document your processes. The best way for you will depend on the size and complexity of your business, as well as your own preferences.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Start by identifying the key processes in your business. These are the processes that are essential to your business operations.
- Once you have identified the key processes, map out each process in detail. This should include the steps involved in the process, the inputs and outputs for each step, and the responsible parties.
- Use a clear and concise writing style. Make sure that the documentation is easy to understand for everyone who needs to use it.
- Use visuals to help explain the processes. This could include flowcharts, diagrams, or screenshots.
- Keep the documentation up-to-date. As your business changes, your processes will need to change as well. Make sure that the documentation reflects these changes.
A buyer is looking to buy a business with an experienced management team and documented processes to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. Pay the up-front price to have documented processes in place. As growth increases complexity, review your processes and make the recommended changes. Don’t put this off. It will only get harder the longer you wait.