Every business develops its own sense of self after a while; it is part of building your company from the ground up. From the branding of the company to the employees, each aspect is an important piece of the puzzle and is integral to creating your identity.

The other thing to really bear in mind during the early months is to find out which processes are completely irrelevant to your business model. If you are starting a company, you can tend to look at how other people have done it before you so you can get inspiration and guidance.

This is a double-edged sword because it can put a dampener on creating your own identity. But there are methods that have been tried and tested, and these are processes that you need!

Information gathering

A good information gathering process can be invaluable in the start of a business. When everyone is trying to find their feet and work out a way to steer the ship, a good process like information gathering is a way to find out where your company fits in the framework and what you can do to keep on top of things like current trends, such as in the market.

There is no one definitive way to gather information, but rather you need to find the methods that are suitable for your structure. Brainstorming is a popular approach, but this method is more collaborative and will work well if you have a small, tightly-knit team that can bounce off each other.

Individual research methods may work if your company is large and disjointed, where people are working in all areas of the world, or at home, but they will all need to come together to present their findings eventually.

If you are running a customer service-oriented company, focus group research can be invaluable because you can get feedback from a broad range of people, but you need to be careful with this approach as the results can prove all of your suspicions about the negative aspects of a product.

There is a risk with following the crowd, and if you modify a product to cater for the masses, your business could end up manufacturing products for the lowest common denominator.

Market research is another approach to gathering information, and it may prove to be a better method for you if you can get a wide-ranging sample of opinions and answers.

For the development of your business and for improvements of a product, the right information gathering process will do a lot for how you operate.

Operational processes

On the topic of operating, each process that falls under this, from manufacturing to the advertising to the payment of staff, the processes have to be as concise and complete as they can possibly be! This is something that can develop with time, but if you have the right support, the processes you implement will be a big saver of time and save you lots of money.

There are system tools that are becoming more sophisticated with each passing year and result in an easier and more efficient manner of working from the perspective of the staff member.

Systems like CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, which can come in all manner of incarnations, works to improve staff working methods by reducing the amount of irrelevant admin and can help to develop the ways in which you can communicate with the customer, such as automated emails, feedback, and so forth.

A streamlined operational process, when implemented, can be a massive help to the whole company. The implementation of a process is the difficult part, and it can always take a bit of time to get right.

You need to expect that if you do start the ball rolling on something new, that there will be teething issues, and whether this is from the staff not being able to grasp a new process or that there are system issues, problems can run through the whole process.

But once it clicks, it leaves you able to explore other avenues of the business. For a startup, there is a lot of working in close proximities and making a few sacrifices for the good of the team, but there are also many tools you can utilize for free.

There are invoice templates that are free which you can use for payments and helps to keep that process down to a fine few points instead of creating your own unique template. Templates are a great thing to nail down at an early stage, because they can be easy to follow, and avoids unnecessary repetition, which is one of the biggest time-wasters in business.

Any process can become as automatic as driving, and people will seldom think about it once it has embedded itself properly. A strict process is important in every part of the business, even the ones that are more “creative” than others because it provides structure.

A Supporting process

When a business is failing this tends to be the first process to go, and it is usually the first one set up. Supporting processes include things like accounting and human resources, and in some ways, they can be viewed as not being essential to the business, especially if you have friends and family helping you right at the inception of the company.

The supporting processes make up part of the core fundamentals of any business, which is why you need to keep a close eye on, because this may be the biggest financial cost of all. For many people, accounting skills are very low on their list of priorities because the product and the marketing will take precedent.

But without professional help, it can be a big mess to clean up. And you need to consider the cost it will have in getting someone to clean up the mess created by those that are giving you a hand in the first place.

It may appear like a pointless cost to hire someone to sort your accounts right at the beginning, but it may be a lot cheaper than paying a family member and then hiring an accountant afterward! This is why the hiring procedure is a supporting process to get into place as soon as possible.

The right member of staff is invaluable, and the money you will invest in training them up and getting them up to speed with the company is a better idea than having family and friends help out when they can.

For each supporting process or sub-process, break them down into headings which state a goal. For example, under a technical process, you may wish to state that you want to evolve your tech processes to meet current customer trends.

For each supporting process or sub-process, break them down into headings which state a goal. For example, under a technical process, you may wish to state that you want to evolve your tech processes to meet current customer trends.

So by researching into what customers now require to shop, from Bitcoin as a payment method to 24-hour online contact, you can put these plans into action. Breaking down a task into sub-processes will help you to see the bigger picture with more clarity.

Business processes are vital components of any company. By making sure you have the best ones in place, you are setting yourself up for a more profitable and efficient business than the vast majority of startup companies.

We all have processes and methodologies of working, so it is a question of nailing them down and helping others to follow these processes to the letter. Business is all about money and time. There is never enough of either, but if you get the processes lined up and as concise as possible, it will definitely save you a lot of both.