Starting a New Business? Focus on Business Process 1

Business process is one of the most important aspects of new business planning. Usually a need or an idea lights the new business fire but it is process that keeps the business alive and enables it to grow. Facebook’s latest IPO is an excellent example of a company that has yet to fully understand (or at least announce) what its process for generating income will be. This is a typical example of why business process and business planning are so important.

Most successful entrepreneurs have focused on business process. Even Facebook focuses on a business process that encourages rapid expansion. Today both the Gates Foundation and Sir Ronald Cohen are tackling philanthropic issues with a focus on process. Business process matters and it matters right from the start.

What exactly is Business Process?

Business process partners with but is also distinctly different from business planning. Henry Ford planned to sell every household in America an automobile; his business process included the application of the production line system used in cattle feed lots at the time to accomplish his goals. Process affects every level of business and it can be applied to every type of venture.

Where to Learn About Business Process?

Modern business process developed out of manufacturing and manufacturing industries are still where the major developments in business process thought are to be found. One of the most widely adopted process models is Six Sigma.

Formulated in Japan, Six Sigma has been applied to everything from hospital administration to the production of software. There is an extensive amount of literature available about Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma. The value for any new entrepreneur is that Six Sigma helps the brain to think about process and efficiency in relationship to every stage of business management and planning. Process is ongoing but keeping the focus on process is often what separates success from failure.

Good Business Process= Entrepreneurial Sanity

Entrepreneurs are usually trying to do too much with too little money in too little time. Investing additional time in learning business process seems difficult but it is even more critical for an entrepreneur than it is for any other type of company. Good process enables incredible productivity; entrepreneurs do not have time not to focus on process.

Here is an example of why process is so important when starting a new business:

This past Friday, performing a functionality test on a client’s new business website the following error message appeared:

This new website sells proprietary information. Basically a customer pays either $5.00 or $40.00 a year for access to their database for industry information that is not available anywhere else. It is a straightforward BtoC business model. However, the error message popped up stopping the buyer from paying for the service after they had entered their credit card information. Some quick digging with the programmer revealed in ½ an hour that the problem was not with the website but with the revolving accounts provider.

Revolving accounts had been set up for the $5.00 one-time users and the website had met the account quota provided by the revolving accounts company. Rather than contact the business, the revolving accounts provider had just automatically disabled the ability of $5.00 clients to pay at all. In addition, this function also prevented the $40.00 subscribers from paying.

How long had this been going on? A day, a week, two weeks?

This is an example of a perfectly simple business plan stopped dead by poor business process planning. Just how many potential customers had abandoned the conversion point never to return? A little business process planning could have foreseen and prevented this error before it ever occurred.

Apply Business Process Focus to Your Entrepreneurial Work Week

One of the best ways to start focusing on business process is to incorporate it into your own entrepreneurial lifestyle. Excellent books have been written about entrepreneurial process and ways to get more done in less time. A personal favorite at the moment in Stever Robbins’ “9 Steps to Work Less and Do More.” Business process focus is an excellent habit for success. Please contribute additional favorite ideas and resources concerning business process.

 

About the Author Cheryll Calvin is Brand Manager at SixSigmaOnline.org. You can follow her on Google+. Read more »

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