As an independent franchisee, it’s handy knowing you have the support of head office if you run into any major difficulties. But you’re also in charge of how your small business runs, and you need to take care of your store as best you can. A business process audit can dive into all your processes, revealing what works well and what needs improving. This essential guide will help take your business to the next level.
What are the benefits of a business process audit?
Putting together a business process audit should is a great way to support managers and team members, ensure your services, products and processes are always up to date, and clarify how you can run your franchise better.
When conducting your audit, it helps to keep the following goals in mind:
Analyse all potential risks and verify best-practice procedures.
Provide greater transparency across all levels of management.
Investigate the suitability of certain processes and how they relate to your store’s success.
Find new ways to improve business practices.
Gain greater insight into decision-making processes and how improvements might lead to a better bottom line.
‘Map’ your business processes
You’ll want to start the audit by selecting a framework that will cover all your business processes. Depending on how much time you have and which method of learning you prefer – visual or written – you can design the business map as either a typed-up report or as a visual representation with lots of images to demonstrate different aspects of your company.
The map should cover every process from start to finish, defining each step of an activity or the life cycle of a particular product. Basically, you want to define:
- What your business does.
- Why it does it.
- What the standard is for success.
- Who is responsible.
- What steps will occur.
As you map each process, integrate the above five steps to build a consistent representation of all your business activities.
While some small business owners like to keep things simple with a written audit report, it’s worth checking out other ways to map your business processes. And the good thing is that you don’t need to be an artist to create a visual account of how your company runs!
- Flowcharts: Whether it’s a top-down flowchart, deployment flowchart or detailed flowchart, they are graphic and in-depth illustrations of your processes that are easy to follow from start to finish.
- Swim-lane diagrams: Also known as cross-functional maps, these charts let you easily show the sub-processes in any business activity.
- Value-stream mapping: Lets you analyse the current state of your business processes so you can design the future state of a series of events from beginning to end. Very useful for lean-management companies.
Focus on what’s important
An audit is both a formal and technical way of understanding how your franchise manages its business processes. To ensure you’re covering all bases, be sure to take into account the following when creating your audit:
- Your company’s strategic objectives.
- Any and all goals.
- Recommended procedures.
- The performance of specific processes.
- Ways in which you measure those processes.
- How adequate your procedures are so you can hit the desired level of effectiveness.
By keeping these in mind, you’ll be able to see any roadblocks straight away and then focus on which processes need revisions in order to get back up to speed.
Find the time to conduct audits regularly
There’s no doubt that auditing your business processes takes time – and as an independent franchisee, you’re sure to know that time is precious! However it pays to invest a few hours at least every year to help keep your business going from strength to strength.
If you’re struggling to find enough hours in the day, why not use all the online tools at your disposal? Whether you want to automate employee attendance records or need a digital assistant to streamline your day-to-day tasks, there’s a solution that can get you back to what’s most important: building the best business you can.