You can't grow your business if your processes aren't scalable. It just doesn't work.
Why? Because if only you can execute important daily tasks, you'll always be tethered to them. And that means you can't focus on expanding the business. You're stuck down in those daily details.
The good news is that you can take steps to make your processes scalable (and then delegate them out to others). From there, you can focus your time and energy on other aspects of the business.
In this post, we'll look at five simple steps that help you make a process scalable. Let's start at the beginning.
Step 1: Go Through the Current Process & Take Notes
The very first thing you’ll want to do is to personally walk through the existing process step-by-step, and take detailed notes along the way. This means you should note what elements you like and dislike, what’s painful, and what works well. Write down the things that take up a lot of time, too — these are slowing down the efficiency of your process and make it harder to scale.
From there, hand it off to another team member to have them do the same. See if they spot other areas for improvement or if there are some common themes amongst your notes.
Once you’ve identified all of the areas for improvement, it’s time to refine your process so it’s as efficient, clear, and simple as possible.
Step 2: Automate
To improve efficiency and standardization, you’ll next want to look at areas within the process that can be automated. With so many automation tools these days, you have quite a few options to consider. Think about how you can integrate automated resources like:
- Your CRM
- Social media sharing
- Analytics and tracking
- Optimization testing
- Email follow-up
- Lead scoring
Companies like Marketo offer many of these different automation tools all in one place, but some marketers prefer to pick and choose their automation resources from different providers. Choose whichever option is best for you.
Step 3: Document the New & Improved Process
If your process is going to be scalable, you need it to be documented to a point where any person assigned to it can quickly and easily get it done. It shouldn’t only make sense to you or your assistant—it needs to be detailed to a point where a brand new intern could do it without having to ask questions.
Your process documentation should include:
- Simple, jargon-free language
- Screenshots, images, and/or videos that add visual walk-throughs
- Links to internal documents, brand assets, or other elements that are part of the process
- Access (login and passwords) to programs and software that are involved
- Templates for standardized elements of the process that can be quickly customized (like an exit survey or new client welcome email)
- Troubleshooting tips for any errors or issues that may arise
It’s a good idea to break the process down into small steps — but also explain the “why” behind the process as a whole. This helps the person completing it better understand how it fits into a larger mission, vision, and goal for the organization.
Step 4: Test the New Process
Now that your new streamlined process is documented, it’s time to put it to the test.
Have someone who’s completely unfamiliar with the process try to execute it from start to finish, and see if there are any issues or questions that come up unexpectedly. Examine the end result of the process, too. See if there are any quality issues and, if there are, add to the documentation to eliminate future problems. Then, re-test.
Testing will help you determine whether or not you could realistically hand this process off to any person (internally or externally) — which is a major component of scalability. If there are no major issues during the test run, you can begin the delegation process without having to worry about consistency or quality control.
Step 5: Delegate Your Scalable Process
Once your process is completely scalable, outsource it so that you can focus your attention to other aspects of business growth. Maybe this means delegating it to an in-house employee who’s craving greater responsibility, or maybe it means getting some freelance support to take care of these tasks.
The bottom line: Once you’re no longer personally tied to a process, you free yourself up to expand your operation. It means less stress for you, and more scalable operations that allow you to grow at an appropriate pace.
Make Your Processes Scalable
With these five steps, you can rest easier at night knowing you have strong, foolproof processes in place that consistently deliver the results you need.
Does it require a bit of time and money? Most of the time, yes. But investing in making your processes scalable is an investment in the future of your business. And that’s worth doing every time.