4 Tips to Mapping Out Business Processes

Click on the image to see the Process Map

Process mapping is often undertaken by business owners who want to make improvements to their business processes. If you are a business owner, you might be ready to expand your team or take on your first team member. Maybe you want to implement a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system which needs to be used consistently or you want to make improvements to your ways of working. Whatever your situation, process maps can be an invaluable tool to underpin your business processes. I’ve pulled together my top four tips to help business owners map out their business processes.

1. Begin to map out the high-level process first. It can be daunting getting all your processes documented, particularly if there are lots of elements and intricate details to capture. I find it useful to start off with the high-level process first. This captures the key stages of the process and then I begin to fill in the detail afterwards. Using this approach can help identify if a sizable process needs to be broken down into several processes too.

2. Map the current process. It is important to map out the current process so that you can easily see areas of the process that are clunky. This is particularly important when there is a team of individuals carrying out a process that needs to be transitioned with minimal impact to a new process.

3. Consult with others to identify efficiencies. One of the key reasons for mapping processes is to identify efficiencies. If you are struggling to identify efficiencies, engage with others; fellow colleagues, team members, other business owners or get help from an expert who will be able to view your processes with fresh eyes. Someone outside of your business will be able to ask why things are done in a certain way and these discussions are likely to lead to efficiencies being identified.

4. Be consistent in the language you use. Process maps should make ways of working transparent and consistent for everyone involved in the process. Consistent language is a must for making a process easy to understand. A small change in the language used within a process can impact on this. For example, if a form is called ‘Initial Enquiry Form’ in the process map, then further down the process, it is referred to as ‘Enquiry Form’, it is likely to cause confusion. Also, whilst I’m talking about consistency, be consistent in the shapes and colours used, decision points and actions should be represented by different shapes.

Some of these tips may seem like common sense but it is very easy to get bogged down in the detail of your business processes, particularly when you are so familiar with your business. If you would like external support with your business processes, I offer a free 60-minute consultation which provides you with clear next steps for moving your business forward. Get in touch.