August 11, 2015

Putting Processes In Place To Save Your Sanity

small business processesMany of us left the corporate world to get away from red tape and ‘processes’, so the idea that I’m sitting here encouraging you to put processes in place may seem like the last thing you want to do.  But bear with me for a few minutes and just hear me out…

As a food entrepreneur, you are most likely trying to do 8000 things with limited help and support.  Maybe your business has been growing so fast that you haven’t been able to staff up yet.  Or maybe you’re concerned about financials and are trying to run as lean as possible for as long as possible.  Regardless of which camp you find yourself in, this means that you’re carrying the burden of multiple roles and responsibilities.

When you do this, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks because there’s simply only so many balls you can juggle at any given time.  This is where processes can really be helpful.  I recently found that there were little things that were slipping through the cracks. It was the type of things that were so minuscule that it was easy for me to push them off until ‘later’ and then I found that I was never getting to them.  So I sat down and evaluated what those things were and set about creating processes that would ensure I got them done.  In fact, I went so far as to actually schedule them into my calendar so that they will repeatedly (and irritably) ‘ding’ until I get the task completed.

Some examples of several processes I’ve put into place lately are as follows:

  • An email – sent from me, not an auto responder – to everyone who purchases something through this site whether it’s a free product or a paid product.  I now send out these emails on Tuesdays and Fridays.
  • There is an hour block every Friday morning now in my calendar where I get caught up on all my accounting from the prior week.  Rather than letting it slide for weeks on end and then pulling my hair out trying to get caught up, I hold that hour every week so I can stay on top of my accounting books.
  • I have an hour blocked out every morning to get caught up on emails that came in the past 24 hours that I hadn’t had a chance to get to yet.  It’s really important to me that emails are answered thoughtfully and sometimes that’s impossible to do in the craziness of the day.  This quiet hour gives me the time to genuinely respond and get back to people.

So far, I’m finding that setting these processes up and scheduling them into my calendar is helping me make sure that I stay on top of the little things.  Because, in many cases, it’s those little things that really do make a difference to your business and/or the customers you serve.

What about you?  Have you found that setting processes has been helpful in your business?  I’d love to know what types of processes you’ve developed and how they’re helping your business.

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