Invest in Process? Here is Why.

Processes turn startups into legacy companies.

So I met this young enterprising and energetic fellow in one of my design thinking classes. He walked up to me after class and asked for help with business growth. He runs a food delivery service and has been running it for 6 years but the business has been stagnant; pretty much revolving around the same customers and barely making profits. He looked really tired because he came from his office to class and he said that the business still revolves around him and the team cannot deliver as he would.

Small companies (startups) are companies at the seed-stage. During this stage, they experience a lot of learning, testing and make mistakes until they reach product-market fit then exit the startup phase. This exit is possible because the company can replicate itself and its product or service in many places as they want. It is just like recipes that enable anyone anywhere to make dishes, without the recipe nobody can produce the results expected. Startups experience some growth when they are small, but fail to sustain this growth and cannot be successful at a large scale because they don’t have processes that are easily replicable.

Before you continue to read this article, you must first get rid of the perception (that’s if you have it) that processes stifle creativity, innovation and that it is an administrative burden. Yes, most organizational processes can be nerve-wracking and frustrating, but not all are and it doesn’t mean that processes should be gotten rid of, but processes can be designed in a manner that allows innovation & creativity to thrive and it’s not burdensome.

  1. The first reason why you must invest in process is that it is one of the key legs your business needs to grow. Just like a table needs four legs to stand. Every business needs four legs as well: Purpose, People, Process and Metrics. Processes turn startups into legacy companies. Growth means you have attained a product-market fit and you have a business model that can be replicated to acquire more customers in more places. To do this efficiently means you will need to set standards in place so your success is easily replicated without compromising on your values and competitive advantage as you grow.

What will sustain growth are processes and they usually take the shape of Standard Operating Procedures that do not necessarily have to be long, boring documents. Processes should be clearly outlined, easy to understand, innovative, accessible, promote creativity, flexible, and most importantly inclusive to ensure ownership and compliance.

It is one thing to translate your vision into a product or service and then into a business model that makes sense. It’s another thing to translate your vision into a repeatable and teachable business process for scale. Process is as important as product development, business modeling and measuring results. Invest in it if you want to grow!

Adaeze Sokan is the Programs Director at Ventures Platform. She designs and coordinates the implementation of programs and processes that helps entrepreneurs grow.

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