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Follow five important business processes that can drive success

13 October, 2009

Business processes are the flows of activities that get things done in your business. Once processes are identified and measured, you can automate, streamline and even redesign them in the best possible ways for your business. Source: Stacey Barr.

There are five main business processes for any small business, so let's take a look at each of them:

Process 1: The marketing process

The marketing process is the series of steps that build your list of targeted leads. Basic steps in the marketing process are to create your marketing message to attract your target market, get your message out to your target market, and capture the leads that come your way.

At the very least, you would measure how many prospects, or leads, that your marketing activities generate for you on a monthly basis.

Process 2: The selling process

The selling process is the series of steps that convert targeted leads or prospects into profitable customers.

The basic steps include offering your products and services to your leads, making it easy for them to say 'yes' and processing the sales!

You want to, as a minimum, track the number of new customers, your sales revenue and possibly your 'lead to customer conversion' rate.

Process 3: The delivering process

The Delivering Process is the series of steps that meet your customers’ expectations and fulfils the promises of your product or service. The steps will vary depending on what you’re selling.

Customer satisfaction is the most basic measure to track your Delivering Process.

Process 4: The developing process

The Developing Process is the series of steps that create profitable and valuable information products and services that your business will sell. It starts with researching what your target market needs and wants from you, and then creating the means by which you can satisfy those needs and wants.

This process is also worth measuring as it helps ensure your products have healthy profit margins, and that you've got quick product development cycle times to get your new products and services to a point where they're adding positively to the bottom line.

Process 5: The managing process

The Managing Process is the approach you take to use time and money wisely to grow your business. It is not a linear process per se, but more a discipline of regularly monitoring your business performance, scanning your business environment and making decisions about the best actions to take.

The measures that track how well you manage time and money include cash flow, expenses and productivity.

So what's success for the micro business owner?

The ultimate indicators of success for your business will depend on what you value. But among those success measures you'll likely want to include net profit, ROTI (Return On Time Invested, which is the net profit per hour you invest in your business) and some measure of customer value, such as a survey-based customer rating of value for money.

What can you do now?

Flowchart the steps in each of your business processes. Then ask yourself “What are the results I want from each business process?” Use these results as the filter to decide what you should measure then you can identify which of your business processes need improving in order to ramp up your success the fastest.

Stacey Barr is a specialist in performance measurement, helping micro and small business owners to move their business results from where they are, to where they want them to be, using powerful, transformational measures. Visit her website here: http://www.staceybarr.com/

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| Tuesday, October 13, 2009, 10:01 AM
Thanks Stacey for these processes, which is simple and easy for small businesses to use. I'd like to also add that in measuring the success of your marketing/sales process, it would also be important to know your Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). In these economic times, it's becoming more important to ensure you get the best bang for your buck, measuring your CPA is one way of doing this. To work out your CPA, just divde what you spent by the number of sales.