I hate when I’m trying to rebel against something and it ends up being the right way to do it. Does that happen to you? You think, “When I’m in charge, I’m not going to do it that way, and you’ll see!” but then, it totally sucks the way you’re doing it? Yeah, that’s me right now.
Process. That’s my bug. Process. Not me, specifically, but the running of companies, the running of my businesses, the needs of doing things in a way that I can educate others in how to succeed as well. Process. It’s time to map it out.
Franchising is a Map
Do you know what a franchise is? A franchise is a system. You buy a system and some branding, and you then execute the system to the letter of the education you receive. If you buy a UPS store, you do it their way. If you buy a McDonalds, you do it their way. A franchise says this: “We’ve done this. We’ve perfected it. Do it exactly how we teach you, and you’ll get there.” (If you want to read more about franchise stuff, read The Franchise King. I’m just making a point.)
The trick of such businesses is that they map everything out for you. The opposite of that is figuring it all out for yourself. And sure, YOU can figure out everything by yourself, but unless you map it out, you’ll be the one stuck having to do everything. Or, you’ll be the one wanting different results than what you’re getting. Or, you’ll be the one who can’t scale because it all requires a certain level of hand-holding that you’ve brought down on yourself.
Map It Out
There are two parts to mapping out your business processes: the frame and the paths. The frame gives people the boundaries, the borders, the “what we’re doing and what the goals of that work are,” plus the “rules and guidelines.” The path gives people the how-to, plus the impacts of those actions up and downstream. Without both parts, business mapping isn’t that useful. But this is still a bit esoteric. Let’s talk through a map.
Process Name – Maps should all be named, so that everyone’s referring to the same process.
Goal – Spell out the most important goal/goals of the process at the VERY TOP.
Success – It’s great when you can spell out what success looks like. Use words *and* measurements (if you can)
Requirements – What does one need to accomplish this task? What previous knowledge? Tools? PEOPLE? Etc.
Background – Write a paragraph or two explaining what makes this process important.
Story/Flow – Before you bark out a set of instructions, tell the “story” of the process. Make sure people understand the flow. This helps people NOT cut corners and not interpret parts differently than intended, because in context (which the flow provides), they understand what’s what and how it relates to the rest.
Actions – This is the checklisty part. Make it so. Make it simple, repeatable. Make it on a different physical page to the backstory. They have to read and learn all the above stuff. They have to FOLLOW the actions list.
Measurements – Show how to measure success. Whatever it is, show that there’s a success checkoff.
Maps Fit Into the Frame
That’s a simple map. That’s a process layout kind of structure. Then, you group the processes into a frame, where the frame explains the larger goals, shows how the processes interrelate, and shows the strategic vision behind all the processes. That way, when a process gets old (how to fax people to find leads), you can swap it out with a new process (how to tweet people to find leads). Make sense?
There are Variations on the Theme
There are other ways to do this. There are some things that shouldn’t have too rigid a process around it. There are reasons why this won’t work.
However, every very successful business has a process and frame system. Every one. And once you get comfortable using such practices, you find the key to growth and sustainability. Oh, and your business also becomes infinitely more sellable, should that be of interest to you.
What do YOUR maps look like?