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Posts Tagged "process"

Process Mapping for Smaller Small Businesses

on March 10 in Foundations, Service Experience Design | 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. [bctt tweet=”Processes are in place whether you design them or not.”] 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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The Alternative to Firing Your Clients: Better Screening

on May 1 in Foundations | 0 comments

In my earlier post Firing Customers: Why and How,  I referenced Collapse of Distinction: Stand Out and Move Up While Your Competition Fails. This is a book by Scott McKain and although I haven’t read it yet, he has published an informative article on Why You Should Fire (Some of) Your Customers.  Herein, he recommends who to keep and who to discard by category (very helpful!) and  smartly states: “We spend more time than we really have to give pleasing a customer we never should have solicited in the first place.” (Emphasis mine.) This last bit by Mr. McKain leads me to the crux of this post: Better screening.  I admit that I have fallen victim to a big name, a glowing referral from a colleague, and a market underdog with potential (if only they’d been open to change), but I am trying—and encouraging my marketing strategy clients to try—to do a better job of what I call “selective engagement.” With a little process development and strategic thinking, small businesses can establish criteria for selectively engaging clients who are well-suited to their business models and financial goals. This includes ideal client persona development as well as the means to attract them and the process of identifying them.  With this type of planning and supporting processes in place, you can prevent the firing mentality or  “culling phase” and instead be more exclusive with building your client base upfront.  Yes, this takes great effort, bravery, and budget, but given the alternative—having to gracefully back out of an engagement—it might just be worth it. Today I came across an excellent example from a marketing person I respect, Allan Starr. In his Marketing Monthly newsletter,  he states his criteria, including this specific requirement, “If a client doesn’t at least believe they are better than their competitors, we don’t take them on (we are opportunity agents, not turnaround artists).”  Starr makes a bold statement about what his company does and what they need from potential clients, which will allow prospects to identify or walk away.  (Bravo Marketing Partners, and feel free to refer those who need more confidence to us. Agencies have different criteria, after all, and we like to connect with fellow service providers.) As many marketing colleagues acknowledge, it can be hard...

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BPM Research, Small Business, and a Forrester Survey

on January 3 in Foundations | 0 comments

Although my clients typically aren’t banging the door down for process change and oftentimes are focused on other things, 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.  (Part of the foundations of business.) I suspect that many small business leaders 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 organizations, 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 Update: The survey has...

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Why Process?

on July 21 in Foundations | 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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