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Process Mapping for Smaller Small Businesses

on March 10 in #30DaysofQ2, Process | 0 comments

Processes are in place whether you design them or not. When you’re a smaller small–a solopreneur, solo service provider, or microbusiness–making time for process development can seem a luxury. A nice to have. And even sometimes “a waste of time” compared to the pressing needs (read: Quadrant 1) of sales efforts. This is as much a challenge for me as it is anyone. Even though I can help others by mapping their “as is” and “to be” processes and closing the gaps, doing that for myself from a time and perspective standpoint is challenging. When you’re a one-person show, it’s about efficiency, of course. But it’s easy to shrug off process, thinking, “It’s just me. What’s the impact?” And there’s no one to be accountable to anyway. No one is clamoring for this. That’s why process mapping (preceded by process identification) is a Quadrant 2 activity. If you’re struggling to see the “Important” side of this activity, put it in the context of sales. Are there any sales pain points (for you or the prospects in terms of engaging with you) that can be tracked back to process?  Are you using a CRM or automation tool that you’ve shoehorned yourself into? If so, that can be a big time waster–having to adapt to a tool. As smaller small businesses who see the need for process, we don’t need CBPPs to come in. We don’t have budget for that anyway. But we can benefit from spending time mapping key processes, even if the output isn’t on par with a Business Process Management professional’s. Processes are in place whether you design them or not. Click To Tweet Thanks for reading Day 11 of #30DaysofQ2. Please provide your feedback in the comments. 🙂   Related articles across the web The Entrepreneur’s Toolkit: 41 Tools to Get Up and...

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A Quadrant 2 Activity for Email Productivity: Canned Email Responses

on February 29 in #30DaysofQ2, Process | 0 comments

It sounds painfully obvious. And maybe you already have canned email responses–especially if you are using automation. But looking at your processes and continuous communications is a good use of time as a solo service provider. It’s my Quadrant 2 activity of the day. Today is Day 1 of my 30-day Quadrant 2 Challenge to myself. The challenge? Spend at least 30 minutes a day on a Quadrant 2 activity. What’s Quadrant 2 (aka Quadrant II)? I’m a Stephen Covey fan and this activity falls right into Quadrant 2–working on what’s IMPORTANT but not URGENT. (Although next time you need to send an email that could be reused, it’s a great time to take this action.) If you’re not familiar with Covey’s 7 Habits, Hubspot has a great summary. Developing Your Canned Email Responses While there are many ways to implement using canned email responses (a subject for another post!), what’s most important is that you develop them. Here are the questions to answer for starters: What processes might be good candidates for standard emails? This is the brain dump. (e.g., networking follow up, initial proposal follow up, unresponsive prospect follow up, billing, etc.) Of these processes, which one is the most directly impactful to my bottom line, most time consuming, most annoying, and most active PLUS well-defined? (I chose unresponsive client follow up.) What is the process trigger for this canned email response to occur? (Status=Closure over 180 days. Don’t judge!) What should the content for this message be? Write it! You may have variations on a theme, which is fine. No one likes to be templatized. All of my communications are customized. They simply start with a canned email response. What canned responses will save time or ensure you are taking necessary action? Develop them. #30daysofQ2 Click To Tweet Let me know how it goes. And of course, join me on the 30-day Quadrant 2 Challenge using #30daysofQ2....

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BPM Research, Small Business, and a Forrester Survey

on January 3 in Process, Small Business | 0 comments

Although my clients typically aren’t banging the door down for process change and oftentimes are focused on more tactical marketing projects, I’m always trying to (re-)focus on the business of doing business.  This means building repeatable processes and tools to support them to lessen the workload and prevent waste.  I suspect that many small business owners with 100-200 employees* do not have, think they need, or can afford a business process management (BPM) professional–unless perhaps they are from the process world or in manufacturing.  (Would you agree?)  Market research to uncover small business use of, requirements for, and opinions about BPM and related methodologies and technologies (e.g., Lean, Six Sigma, TQM, ERP, CRM, BPM, or BI to Business Process Transformation and Continuous Improvement initiatives) is something I’d like to see.  For those who have large organizations or for IT executives, managers, and business process professionals within large organziations, you can participate in a Forrester survey/self-assessment tool to determine where your organization is with respect to four must-have process change capabilities: 1) strategy; 2) process execution; 3) structure; and 4) culture of performance.  Connie Moore, VP and Research Director, and Alex Peters, Principal Analyst, at Forrester Research have launched this 10-minute survey to get a better understanding of how companies drive business process change initiatives to success.  Forrester believes that each business process change initiative should start with a readiness assessment of the target organization.   If you provide valid answers to all questions, you will receive the results summary (a maturity score, I believe) and a Forrester report to be published in Q1 on this topic.  Here are the survey links: or *I’ve started a discussion about what “small business” means (aka how to define “small business”) here, so please chime...

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Why Process?

on July 21 in Process, Small Business | 0 comments

Just a quick post announcing there’s a short presentation* available now for any small or micro business owners/executives asking: Why should my company be concerned with process? How should we develop processes for our business? Process Development For Small Business 040610 TDZ View more presentations from TDZ Creative...

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