Business growth relies on creating scalable processes – something easier said than done. Many organisations find it difficult to develop processes that are supple enough to allow for scale, yet rigid enough to ensure progress and consistency without compromising service.
The trick to scaling a business, then, is to create processes that are both robust, agile, and flexible. When struck upon, this balance supports operational continuity while facilitating change, growth, and streamlined new-starter onboarding.
But how can we achieve this? And which processes should be front and centre of your scale-up strategy?
Here, we’re exploring how efficient process management can support your business’s aspirations for growth, with guidance on the processes you should review at each stage of the journey.
- Why Should Business Processes be Scalable?
- How to Create Scalable Business Processes
- How Business Process Management Can Help Once Your Operations Have Scaled
Developing scalable business processes is difficult. Why? Because by their nature, processes aren’t designed to be flexible or future-ready; they’re put in place to support operational workflows in the here and now.
When a business wants to move forward and grow, rigid processes can stand in the way. They create a barrier to innovation and new ideas, slowing progress and contributing to a sense of inertia that can affect a business’ long-term goals.
Scalable business processes, on the other hand, do the opposite. They afford new opportunities while supporting day-to-day activity, offering a solid foundation through which an organisation can capitalise on its aspirations for growth.
Of course, building such processes isn’t easy. It requires a deep understanding of current workflows and automation gaps, so you can leverage the appropriate technologies and strategies to ensure that your processes meet the changing needs of your business.
If rigid legacy processes are standing in the way of your aspirations for growth, it’s time to map out a strategy that will take them from static to scalable. Here are our top tips on how to create scalable business processes.
Understand Your Current Processes
Getting the lay of the land when it comes to your current processes is the first step in a move towards scalability. For this, you’ll need to liaise closely with your team to understand the minutiae of their workflows, gaining a deeper understanding of the activity, tools, and technology they rely on to accomplish their day-to-day tasks.
From there, you’ll be well placed to evaluate the success rate, pain points and level of automation for individual processes – all of which form a fundamental part of ensuring that processes are scalable and future-ready.
Acknowledge Existing Process Pain Points
As part of your deep dive into the current state of play of business processes, pain points should be immediately obvious. What obstacles and challenges do your team face on a regular basis? Are staff having to use workarounds to complete tasks? And how might these roadblocks hinder your operations from a scalability standpoint?
Typically, there are three main points to consider when gauging process pain points: time, cost, and resources.
- Time – Do your existing processes take too long? Are they a drain on your team’s time? Could manual/paper-based tasks be automated and digitalised?
- Cost – What are the operating costs associated with existing processes? Could these be reduced or elevated to support a move towards scalability?
- Resources – What do your current processes rely on in terms of resources? This includes things like technology, tools, and manpower. Are there any obvious resource limitations to your current setup that stand in the way of progress and growth?
Understanding the limitations of your current processes highlights areas for improvement and aids futureproofing, allowing you to sure-up your operations against emerging commercial challenges. It’s also a key step in ensuring your business is ready to scale, giving you the assurance that all functions are optimised and free from operational pain points.
Automate Processes to the Nth Degree
Scalable business processes rely on flexibility. But how do you achieve greater flexibility within existing workflows? The answer is simple: automation.
Introducing tools and technologies that enhance automation is one of the most powerful means of ensuring processes can be scaled with ease. Consider that your team’s time and resources are intrinsically linked to the speed and efficiency at which they can complete day-to-day tasks; automation supports both these areas, freeing personnel from intensive manual tasks which don’t allow for the exploration of new ideas and progressive strategy-building
What’s more, automation removes the potential for human error, improving the accuracy and consistency of daily processes. This, in turn, makes it significantly easier to onboard new starters without fear of human error costing your business time and money.
Fast-growing businesses rely on automation to scale their operations at pace. And with the right tools and software in place, you can refine your processes and start pushing your business forward at a speed that aligns with your aspirations for growth.
Utilise Business Process Iteration to Achieve Desired Outcomes
While leveraging innovative automation technologies can be a silver bullet in terms of scaling processes, iteration can be a beneficial supplementary step that can help you refine and develop processes even further.
Business process iteration involves repeating processes with a view to improve aspects of each workflow at a granular level. Evaluating the success of processes each time they’re implemented can be an intensive undertaking, but it’s one that can bring major gains in terms of operational fluidity and efficiency.
Remember – developing scalable business processes hinges on flexibility and adaptability. So, in iterating processes, you can identify areas for improvement and give your team the tools required to innovate new, more scalable solutions.
When your business scales up, it’s important to sure up your operations to guarantee long-term continuity and progress. And business process management plays an important role in this regard, ensuring that ongoing processes continue to deliver in line with the momentum and aspirations of your business.
Recently, we wrote a guide on business process management and how it can help nurture innovation and opportunities within your organisation. One of the key takeaways from the piece was the importance of formalising your long-term approach to process management, making sure any gains you make by scaling up aren’t diminished by wavering processes and strategies.
To do this, you need to regularly review and audit existing processes, just as you did before any push to scale your business. In doing so, you can continue to refine your operations, utilising increased automation as a means of driving innovation and growth. Such efforts will help bolster and support your operations after a recent scale-up project, and leave you in good stead for the next one.
Have you enjoyed this guide on business process management and scaling your operations? You’ll find other helpful resources from our team of experts right here. Remember, leveraging future-ready software is one of the most powerful means of bringing increased automation to your business. So, if you’re ready to scale up, click here to learn more about our next-generation business software or feel free to get in touch.