"The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency." Bill Gates reminds us that well-designed processes are more critical than technology.
Even the best and most expensive technology won't solve problems if your processes are disorganized, uncoordinated, and separated. In other words, technology alone won't fix inefficiencies.
You are the elite of the coaching business with impressive tech stacks. However, an ecosystem, whether in nature or in tech, is a complex interconnected system. Can you say that your internal operations are harmonious?
This includes not just finance, backend operations, and marketing, but also the culture, values, well-being, and development of your employees, as well as the impact of your services on your clients and community. When integrating tech, ensure that it supports your business mission.
When you have a long list of standalone tech, it's difficult to keep track of what's connected and what's not. It can be challenging to remember important information like passwords and to-do lists when they're scattered in different places like sticky notes.
With each new launch, it feels like you're starting from scratch. The technology you're using may not be making your life any easier, and you might even feel like hiring an additional person to manage it all would be more efficient.
When you have a cohesive ecosystem, you have more free time and white space. Your tech and operations flow together, which means you're in the daily details of your business much less.
Your tech is clear and interconnected, building upon itself. Your team works cohesively to create seamless experiences for your clients. This empowers your team, and everyone's roles are clearly defined. With all the free time you'd have, you could accomplish more, and your DOO or OBM could focus on other tasks besides answering operational questions from your team.
Most people think of their client journey as their process. However, process mapping is not just a single process, but rather a two-dimensional visualization of the entire business. This blueprint can educate how the business is run moving forward. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) created by a Director of Operations (DOO) or an Operations Manager (OBM) are just portions of the process map.
So here is an example of a process map that I did for our clients, and we're going to walk through a couple of the pieces here.
When creating process maps, it's crucial to record every step of each process, which can seem overwhelming, but it's necessary to understand how the business is functioning. It's important to ask "And then what?" for each step to ensure that the process map is granular enough.
Highlighting decisions made by clients and team members during a process outlines an ideal state for both parties. For instance, identifying the decisions a client needs to make when choosing between VIP and general admission options, or the preferred course of action for team members when they have questions, means less decision-making in the long run.
By outlining the ideal response, those responsible for making the decisions can be empowered to make them independently, leading to increased trust and efficiency.
Highlighting decisions for both tech and people is crucial in creating replicable processes. It allows you to outline an ideal response to decisions that need to be made during a process, whether by clients or team members. This not only empowers them to make the decision themselves but also allows you to trust them to move forward confidently.
I color code my process maps to easily distinguish automation from manual work. This reveals inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and ambiguous decision-making, allowing for smoother and more efficient operations. Collaboration is crucial to uncovering pain points and gaining a detailed understanding of processes. Team members can share their experiences and suggest improvements. This can lead to identifying tasks that can be automated, freeing up time for other important work.
Identify processes and inefficiencies, then fix issues. Predefine decisions for questions or decisions that need to be made. Highlight tasks that can be automated and audit tech tools to ensure they support the team's work.
By laying everything out, you can determine if your business is an ecosystem working together or individual silos. Assess if your team is using tech effectively, if processes support goals, and refine as necessary due to changes.