Want A Quality CRM For Your Small Business? Start with a Process Flow Diagram First.

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When it comes to choosing an affordable CRM for small businesses, we suggest the first thing you do is go with the flow (a process flow diagram, to be exact)! Regardless of the size of your organization, be it a “mom and pop” store whose employee database consists entirely of mom and pop, or a small retail chain with an online presence and a much larger employee database, creating a process flow diagram is the first step you should take towards automating your business.

Charting Your Automated Path to Success

You may be wondering what exactly IS a process flow diagram and why is it so important? We’re so glad you asked! A process flow diagram is a chart that serves as a visual representation of a particular procedure within an organization. Essentially, it showcases the steps that need to be taken in order to achieve a specific result. A thorough process flow diagram (or PFD) is essential to the success of small businesses, particularly those with a high API (Automation Preparedness Index - the number that determines a company’s readiness to move forward with automation).

Imagine a small bakery that specializes in unique cookies (we’ll call it Crumby’s). Crumby’s is a small family-owned business that is looking to open a second location. The recipes they use are variations of those the Crumb family matriarch developed in her kitchen decades prior. While the ingredients may vary, the methodology remains the same. For instance, one of the most important things to remember when baking delightfully delectable cookies is that the wet and dry ingredients must always be mixed separately before being combined, baked, and devoured. Suppose everything is just thrown together haphazardly in a bowl. In that case, the ingredients won’t be properly and evenly incorporated, which could result in some really crummy Crumby cookies. So, it’s easy to understand why it’s not only important to HAVE a documented process, but to follow it as well! As such, the first thing the owners of Crumby’s should do before opening an additional location, training their new employees, and moving forward with a custom CRM is to develop a process flow diagram that details everything from ordering the necessary ingredients, to making and distributing the cookie and tending to financial matters.

Cooking Up a Process Flow Diagram

It is not unusual (particularly in small businesses) for the owners and other key players to wear multiple hats. One day, Ms. Crumby may have to don a chef’s hat and fill in for their baker; the next she might need to throw on a hardhat and perform some minor construction repairs. Ok, probably nothing quite that drastic, but you see what we’re trying to say here. Typically, in a small business, many individuals have more than one duty to which they must attend. But what if Ms. Crumby comes down with the flu and is unable to tend to her duties? How would anyone else possibly know how to perform all her tasks? You guessed it…a process flow diagram!

Now, Ms. Crumby has many endearing qualities. She is a phenomenal baker and salesperson, but accounting is simply not her forte. That’s where Ms. Butterling comes in. Ms. Butterling handles all the financial aspects of the business. She is, in essence, their Accounting Department. There is also Mr. Waterson, who tends to all the marketing and customer service aspects of the business. Without marketing, people wouldn’t know the bakery exists; without the kitchen staff, there would be no cookies to sell; and if no one is in charge of the finances the bakery obviously won’t be in business for long. So, even though their organization is small, there are obviously some clearly defined departments within the company. And each of these departments is interdependent on the other.

Although the bakery has minimal staff, it is important that each of the departments communicate clearly and effectively with one another in order to ensure a successful business endeavor. Part of the process flow diagram is detailing how communication should be handled. There needs to be well-documented discourse to ensure success. Writing messages down on a sticky note and posting it on the door to the walk-in cooler simply won’t suffice.

Don’t Settle for a Half-Baked Process Flow Diagram

Developing an effective process flow diagram may seem intimidating but it doesn’t have to be. It is always a good idea to have an external person help with the development of your process flow diagram so that there is a fresh set of eyes to focus on the details that might otherwise be overlooked. P2 Automation takes the CRM for small business practice to a whole new level by investing the time to build Process Flow Diagrams for businesses that don’t have them. Once a solid PFD is in place, P2 Automation can then create a custom, affordable CRM to match.

You might be thinking that this level of service is financially unattainable, especially for a small business but P2 Automation’s products are the same overall price as our peers in the industry. And we work hard to ensure the process is correct from the beginning, so you won’t need to put out fires later. Learn About Our Software Development Process | P2 Automation, LLC and discover how we can help you implement an affordable CRM for your small business.

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