When you have clients waiting for deliverables and prospects knocking at the door, working on refining your process doesn’t exactly seem like top priority. It can wait until later, when there is time.
But there never is time. And your process never evolves, and you find yourself winging it when someone asks about what your process exactly is. But the fact is, without clearly defining your process, your business can’t grow to its full potential.
What do I mean by process? It’s having an established, step-by-step way of doing things, and a well-articulated set of internal and external documents and tools supporting it.
There are two reasons why process is so key. The first is efficiency. It doesn’t make sense to have to reinvent steps each time through. It is a waste of time. Having documentation that you can use as a tool saves time, energy and resources.
The second reason is scalability. Just because you know how to draw the right elements together to create a web strategy doesn’t mean that your staff or co-workers can always do the same. And if you leave your company, you take all that knowledge with you.
To grow your team, you have to delegate. If you have a process, you can train people to execute on it. With the right training and analytical tools, staff members can gather the crucial elements needed to weave a strategic plan.
Working out your strategic process is no easy task. Ours is a series of research steps and workshops that culminate in a web strategy. Each step has three corresponding documents: A concise description for clients, a tool to get the step done in the correct way, and an internal “guidelines” document that standardizes deliverables and ensures that they are comprehensive.
These documents are a way of packaging our expertise, and turning it into products that we can sell. They are more valuable to clients that way. Clients know in advance what they are getting and that it will be done right.
It is not just the research and strategy team that needs to carefully articulate its process. Every department needs to. For areas like media, for example, a good process is the single most important factor for success.
It sure beats winging it.