oops-mistake-accident-1Having great business processes is crucial to business success!

That said, if you do it wrong, the creation of business processes can actually hinder your success.

How can you ensure that your business processes actually help rather than hurt you?

Make sure you avoid these five mistakes:

==> Mistake #1: No Overall Model, Only Details

It’s common for people to only focus on the details of how to perform specific tasks. Unfortunately, if your business processes don’t have an overall model or goal, the details will be disjointed and inappropriately applied by staff.

Many people mistakenly think that the business deals are actually the business – but these tasks are simply details that you need to focus on streamline and outsourcing where possible so that you can actually focus on the model rather than the details.

Every business process should be part of a bigger business model or philosophy. The process is the “how” of running a bigger system. Just having a bunch of “hows” without a “why” is a recipe for disaster.

==> Mistake #2: The Processes Are Technology Based

Great businesses use technology. Writing businesses for technology is important. That said, if your processes are completely reliant on technology to work, then you’re laying a very weak foundation.

Let’s say you have an expense tracking process. The process should focus on the step by steps of tracking expenses, rather than the software itself. That way if the software ever fails or if you ever switch to a new system, your employees will know how to perform the actual tasks, rather than just push the right buttons.

Technology changes – sometimes overnight. Technology is critical to your business but you have to have the ability to swap out tech on the fly without your business falling apart.

==> Mistake #3: Not Enough Details

Your business process documentation should be detailed enough that a person new to the job could operate the process with a little guidance.

It’s common for people who’re competent in a task to write documentation for others in a way that could only be done by people who also have competence in that task.

Instead, documentation should be written in a very step by step manner. It should be written for a new trainee, not for someone who’s more experienced.

==> Mistake #4: Documenting Untested Processes

Not everything in your business should be documented. In fact, you should only document a process once it’s been proven and refined to its most efficient form.

If you spend time documenting processes that haven’t been proven to work yet, you’ll spend a lot of time documenting things and then throwing them out.

Documentation should be done to help train people on things that work. Wait until your processes are proven before doing this.

However, this means you have to pay attention to these processes and to getting them working rather than hoping they’ll eventually fall together.

==> Mistake #5: Neglecting Human Relationships

Finally, remember that processes often involve human beings.

Say you have a process for handling fulfillment when you’re shipping a new product. The documentation might cover how you handle order volume, how to get samples from fulfillment and so on. However, the documentation might not include how to actually interface with the people who run your fulfillment house.

The human element in processes is a crucial element. Make sure you’re not neglecting it.

Teach it, encourage it, hire for it, and foster it in your team!

These are five of the most common mistakes business people make when they’re automating, documenting or designing business processes.