The word ”process” is one that most people, especially those in the startup environment, don’t love to hear. That’s because most business owners want to get running as soon as possible, often viewing processes as an unnecessary cause of delay.
However, this thought process (see what we did there?) is quite unfortunate as processes bring predictability both in delivery and quality of outputs. Which are two key factors in determining whether a startup will survive.
You may have a great business solution, but if quality in your product or service is lacking, or your timing of bringing the product to market isn’t right, that’s a recipe for failure.
Read on to learn how new businesses can foster effective startup management processes and why it’s important.
What is a Business Process?
A business process is a series of interlinked steps various stakeholders perform to achieve a common goal—usually delivering a quality product or service. Every step involves a task that one or more participants perform as assigned.
In a startup environment, embracing processes is essential, as it’s the foundation for the success of a business.
Importance of Processes in a New Business
As W. Edwards Deming puts it, “If you cannot describe what you’re doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”
Processes are what gives direction to your young enterprise. They ensure the company is functioning properly and within its structure.
With the right processes in place, your new business will reap many benefits, including:
- Reduced human errors: A proper process ensures the distribution of tasks among participants who specialize in that specific task, meaning fewer mistakes.
- Lower expenditure and risk: Processes can help reduce risk and expenditures for a new organization by establishing the most effective and efficient ways of doing things while factoring in potential future shortcomings.
- Improved efficiency: A new business that embraces processes benefits from enhanced departmental productivity. That’s because processes ensure startup management can lay out the strategy best suited for the enterprise.
- Enhanced communication: Processes remove communication gaps between your new business, your employees, and your customers.
- Puts customers first: Your business should satisfy your customers’ needs. Processes will ensure you don’t deviate from a customer-oriented path. Having a process or two in place helps create visibility into company updates and customer feedback on your product. Subsequently helping you meet your customer’s expectations and improve their experience.
- Helps you keep up with technology: Processes ensure a new business is up-to-date with technology trends, so you can incorporate them into your product roadmap, which will ensure quality and efficiency.
- Saves time: Processes ensure your new business has direction. Using strategies, flowcharts, and having a plan ensures that all stakeholders know what they need to do and when to do it. Which results in better time management and guarantees timely delivery of your solution.
How to Build and Foster Processes into Your Startup Culture
While it’s critical to build processes in a startup environment, they must be intentional and effective. This includes all the procedures and standards that apply to your line of business.
The following checklist will come in handy in ensuring the processes you set up for your new business are impactful:
- Ground all processes and procedures in the vision of your new business. In addition, align them to your business mission and values.
- Document the procedures and processes in one central location. Develop a culture of creating manuals that record the standard operations procedures (SOPs) for your business.
- Practicing your processes should start with your management so that other employees can follow suit. Ultimately, solidifying processes as part of your company culture. Incorporate the processes in your employee onboarding and training programs. Make access to your processes simply and readily available.
- Discuss your processes in meetings with stakeholders as often as possible. Analyze both the negative and positive feedback to assess your strategy and make any necessary adjustments.
- Design your processes to inform and empower instead of constraining your staff.
Fostering Innovation in Your Startup
According to Murray Newlands, founder of ChattyPeople.com, “The basis for innovation is space.”
After hiring a capable team, the next step is to trust them and give them the freedom to promote and enhance creativity. You will also need to set company goals that employees understand and can adhere to as they create and employ processes. If you can marry process with freedom, you will have a culture of team members who thrive on innovation, empowerment, and action.
Some of the best ways of fostering innovation in your startup following the ChattyPeople approach include:
Embrace a culture of communicating with your staff daily.
Communication is vital whether you work from the same location where you can meet before heading home or remotely. Daily communication enhances accountability and connectivity.
Think about it this way. Knowing that you have to update your manager on your progress on a regular basis holds you accountable for your tasks and puts on the pressure to deliver timely and well-executed results. In other words, it gives you a sense of ownership that encourages you to not only take risks and seek creative solutions but also listen to what’s being asked and ask questions. As you encourage communication as a two-way street within your team, you’ll likely be promoting team trust, collaboration, and risks—all key to promoting an innovative culture.
Getting Feedback Daily
Daily feedback from different departments ensures everybody in the organization is on the same page. This way if there’s a problem, the team can share the update with the entire team. By engaging everyone, regardless of whether or not they’re in that area of expertise, the team is more likely to reach a solution quicker.
Diversifying Your Environment
Diversifying your team and office gives you an edge over other startups. That’s because your staff approach issues from a global viewpoint.
People work best in varied environments. Allow them to do just that. When you encourage your team from where they’re happy and comfortable, it results in more productivity.
In the modern world, technology makes it easy to work remotely. Therefore, nothing should stop you from diversifying your environment and building trust within your team.
Don’t Limit Yourself to Formalities
I think we can all agree that we’re past the era of formal structures that confine working hours to 8 to 5.
So, strive to adopt informal structures in your work environments and within meetings. Doing so encourages work/life balance and personal accountability.
The rigidity that comes with formality hinders innovation. So, relax a little and you might be pleasantly surprised at how informal structures can propel something good to become even better.
A startup with well-designed systems and processes sets the business on a path to success. Such processes ensure everyone on your team knows their roles and responsibilities, allowing team members to work toward your company’s vision. Embrace a culture that fosters processes and freedom, and your new business will undoubtedly survive the tides on its way to the top.
There’s no one better suited than Harmony Venture Labs to help you realize the most effective and efficient startup management system. Our capable team of innovators, designers, and marketers are here to help you realize your businesses’ potential.