If you’re ready for big growth but don’t have processes in place, you’re not actually ready at all. You’re simply exhibiting big-picture thinking with your eyes closed.
Don’t reach for growth at the expense of processes. Take the time to follow some tried-and-true strategies before getting into a sticky situation.
Put a step-by-step list in place
Having a standardized routine puts a process in place for even the most routine tasks. No matter who does the job, the responsibilities remain the same. From roles with a few steps to those with dozens, write out every step and then test the process to find any holes.
Plan to revise your documents as often as you see fit. We adjust immediately and don’t stick to a monthly, quarterly or semiannual plan. Our managers are free to adjust any process without asking if it’s no longer working. As long as a process exists, growth can happen at its own rate.
Make sure every service variable is replicable
Never bring on a new service without knowing how you’re going to onboard, run or maintain it. You’ll need processes for every aspect of that service, so forget about launching until you figure out the basics. And if the service can’t be replicated at scale, throw it out.
Yahoo tried to buck this truth when it expanded too rapidly. It might have peaked at $125 billion, but its reputation suffered because of its quality tanked. By the time Verizon bought it, Yahoo became a warning beacon for all ventures that dreamed big. When taking your company to the next level, make sure it can sustainably do what brought it to the dance.
Make it clear to new hires that renegade activity could damage client relationships.
For instance, our account managers notate items in Basecamp so supervisors can see what’s happening. If your employees consistently find it tough to stick to protocols, figure out why. It might be a flawed onboarding or training process, which you, as a leader, could address by developing new procedures to tighten gaps.
Enforce policies and procedures, checking in repeatedly until your team is following guidelines. This buy-in helps ensure your most important resources (your people) are prepared to grow with you.
Before you add any major accounts, products or service lines to your business, take a moment to flesh out your processes. Your future self will thank you for not skipping this vital piece of business advice.
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