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  • Writer's pictureLaia Sastre

How to conduct a business process review in four steps

Updated: Nov 29, 2023

As I dive deep into the world of networking, online and in person, I’ve recently talked to many small business owners who have great ideas and do awesome things. And one thing that all of us have in common is our willingness to make our ‘life’ as easy as possible. The goal is to be able to focus on those things we love doing in our business and\or focus on growing it.

And one thing we all lack is time.

When I ask business owners where their time goes, I often find that there is too much time invested in arranging meetings, endless admin, workshops, delivering proposals, onboarding staff, etc. And the list goes on and on.

Being in business involves lots of time, energy and focus. I believe that something that can massively help save time (and work more efficiently) is having systems and processes to support our business activities / delivery of our services.

One of the things I love doing is business processes review, and creation. Nothing like seeing the results of making my life easier!

Today, I’d like to take you through my framework to conduct a business process review in four steps so you can apply it to your business.

The framework

This framework will enable you to:

  • Provide an organisation-wide view

  • Identify gaps and inefficiencies

  • Identify potential areas for streamlining processes or automation

  • Look at which processes are not required or are not producing what they should

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Identify and map out your current processes

Do a deep dive session to define the business processes your business currently has. This involves reviewing all the sections in a typical business process, such as:

  • Roles

  • Steps

  • Timelines

  • Tools involved

The goal here is to understand exactly how the business process works today. Talk to the people involved in the process and ask the following questions:

  • What was the objective of this process?

  • Why was that step taken? (looking at the different steps in the process)

  • Is there an approval process or do you make the decisions yourself?

  • Are there any exceptions to the rule?

  • Are there any problems with the current process?

    • What in the process is broken?

    • Which steps in the process create roadblocks?

    • Which step requires the most time to complete?

    • Which step causes the most delays?

    • Are there any steps that cause costs/resources to go up?

    • Are there any steps that cause quality to go down?

It also helps to create a visual representation of the business process from start to finish and its interaction with people, departments, and software/tools.

Step 2: Analyse them

Once you’ve mapped out the processes, arrange a series of meetings with staff to brainstorm why the problems exist and how to resolve them.

Talking to customers/clients will also give you great insight into where you’re going wrong - that’s why I believe that client feedback is essential to business improvement.

Create a report (include a process map) with each process that includes:

  • The steps in the process

  • Problems related to the step

  • The type of problem

  • The impact of the problem

  • The system requirements

Step 3: Action plan

Now it’s time to create an action plan that includes:

  • Processes that need improvement

  • Processes that need to be created

It’s important to set realistic and measurable goals that align with your overall business objectives. Include the key actions that need to be taken to get to where you want to be and how they will be achieved. Don’t forget to add any financial and resource implications.

Step 4: Find out which tools would support your new plan

Find the tools that will support the efficiency of the process, and automate where possible. This will depend entirely on your situation, but examples of tools that create more efficient processes are:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM)

  • A collaboration and project management tool

  • A file sharing system

  • A scheduling system, etc.

One thing to note is that business processes review success doesn’t come easily. It requires everyone in the business and team involvement, from management to employees, there needs to be strategic direction and an end goal.

What do you say - would you give it a try?

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