15 Processes Every Service Industry Business Needs
It is never too early to introduce processes, systems, and best practices into your business.
Unfortunately, most business owners don’t tackle this important work until they have reached what I call a capacity tipping point: a level of busyness so great the ‘knowledge-holders’ in an organization can’t be everywhere they need to be. This is a period of business growth characterized by two extremes: success in the form of growing interest and demand for your product or services, and problems in the form of things going wrong as you frantically try to service all of this increased demand. In response, business owners either try to do everything themselves, or they quickly hire people and throw them at the problems with limited training and little to no guidance. Neither of these responses are effective.
As the old Chinese proverb goes, “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is right now.” The same is true for mapping out the way you want things done (a.k.a. your processes). The best time to outline them was before the capacity tipping point, but you will have to settle for now.
Remember: your business makes more money when your staff do things the right way. ‘The right way of doing something’ is a process.
If you are currently in a situation similar to the one described above, or if you want to grow your business and expand your staff, it’s time to write up organization’s processes.
Processes for the Service Industry
If you’re in the service industry, your business needs are unique, and your processes should be too.
To help you get started, here are fifteen examples of processes that you can develop that fall into each of these three key areas.
Tasks that don’t require a high level of skill or industry knowledge:
- How to complete a month’s end inventory check.
- How to set up a jobsite for the next days work.
- How to prepare the marketing flyers for delivery.
- How to clean the shop at the end of the day.
- How to make sure the work van is ready for the next week’s work.
What to do when things go wrong, especially when customers are involved:
- How to deal with an injury on the jobsite.
- How do clean up a paint spill.
- How place a product order.
- How to deal with a rain day.
- How to troubleshoot (piece of equipment) when it is not working
Tasks that allow you to focus on the type of work that enables the business to make money and keep the work rolling forward:
- How to deliver a ‘Standard Level 1 Cleaning’.
- How to market the community after setting up a new jobsite.
- How to contact tomorrow’s clients to confirm the next days projects.
- How to properly install (standard product your business installs).
- How to remove (standard item your business removes or cleans).
As your business continues to grow, hopefully your staff will continue to become more competent and committed to your business. In order to sustain this growth (and continue to give them challenging new work), you will need to continue outlining the processes and systems you want to staff to graduate into, before you delegate to them. This is an important component of what I like to call, “keeping the train track clear ahead of time team”, one of an owner’s key responsibilities as they manage a growing company.
In his book The E-Myth Re-visited, author Michael E. Gerber says "to grow your business, you must move from working in your business to working on your business”. Establishing your company’s systems and processes is the first step. It is also the first step to experiencing one of the best parts of starting a business - to create a machine that makes you money. Machines need to be well-tuned and well-oiled; what keeps a business tuned and running smoothly are clearly defined, and easily accessible processes.