If you’ve been in business for more than 5 minutes you’ve bumped up against needing a process for something and you know how boring (frustrating, time consuming?) processes are to most people. Let’s get this out of the way; I love processes. I think of them like cruise control because it saves me stress, yet I’m still responsible for getting to my destination. I’m not talking about self driving, I’m talking about cruise control.
You’re using processes right now, even if you don’t have a single process formally documented. You onboard staff, invoice clients, decide on services, make products (software, ebooks, presentations), and create sales/social/marketing materials. Every one of those actions has process built into it. You might do something different each time, or you might adhere to a proven process that helps you get where you need to go with less stress than if you were starting from scratch each time.
When you put a process in place, it will likely evolve over time.
You’ll find parts of it work exceptionally well and parts can get tossed in the trash. One definition for process is to progress, advance. So it should be expected that processes will grow with you.
Processes are steps that have to be taken to get to an end result. They’re wrapped all comfy around ideas you put in place to communicate to other people how your business runs, what your business does. Process gives you the freedom to provide direction to anyone you invite into your company and applies to staff, consultants, and tools like software, inventory, services, your brand and all things related to it and their lifecycle. (You knew digital assets were coming into focus in this post.)
Today, let’s talk about 5 reasons processes will save your company.
1. Clarity: in the world of human beings, especially creative human beings, innovation is desirable and something you value in the people you work alongside and surround yourself with. When it comes to all those great minds there will certainly be wildly different ideas for how something gets done. Your sales director might want things set up in a way she can access them quickly so she stores sales related files on her laptop, in shared folders that she can remember even if they aren’t meant to hold said files; while your HR director expects compliance oriented ways to identify files or your Client services director expects client friendly access to all the files she oversees.
All of that can happen effectively with processes. Ok, except the sales director, she has to stop storing files on her laptop, that’s what the damn DAM is for. When you set up processes, they don’t have to be infinitely complex. That old saying “start simple” is good advice. They can be as straight forward as: “If you touch sales related digital assets, they will be in some stage of the asset’s lifecycle and here is how we handle asset lifecycle in our company.” Presto, they get a link to your digital asset lifecycle process and are expected to use it.
It’s not easy to start insisting a process be used, it is important to loop everyone in on the fact that a given process is expected to be used.
2. Legally: let’s face it, we’re a litigious culture. When you have processes in place, you protect yourself, your staff, your company and all of its assets legally. Simply put when you put process in place your are taking an important secure step toward protecting the livelihood of everyone your company supports.
3. Save Money: duplication of files tends to be the first point DAM evangelists talk about when it comes to how processes will help your company thrive. Recreating files is an immense budget buster from cost of the person’s time to create it to mistakes made in sending out material that has information or images that are not current. Let’s talk about reputation, trust, confidence too. When your team faces conflicting ideas about how to do a thing, you can deal with that internally by sorting it out inside the confines of the company. When your team communicates conflicting information about your company externally it dings your reputation, and their trust and confidence in you, your company and whether you can handle their business since yours is so out of whack. Processes help solve all of that.
4. Agility: a great thing about being a small or micro business is that you can move fast when you need to. When you notice things sliding in a direction you don’t want to go, or an opportunity presents itself that will open doors for your business; being agile is a superpower. Processes (and updating solid processes to meet growth) keep you agile.
5. Peace of Mind: one of the most important investments in your company’s longevity will be the processes you set in motion. You know they will grow and change right alongside your company as it grows, so when you set your reminder to review company processes, you’ll know exactly where you are and where you want to go next.
Processes are boring. Yes, but: They’re a kind of adhesive that gives you the security to know things are built well. Enlist your team. Ask questions. Build good processes. That’s the sign of great leadership.