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7 Mistakes That Destroy Your Business Efficiency: An Expert Interview

Lately, we’ve been diving deeper than ever into the real problems companies face while scaling and systemizing their businesses. Whether that’s failing to understand why processes are important, being clueless about how to create processes, or being unable to police process adherence, we’ve covered a lot of ground on our blog. One thing we were short of, however, was the insight of hardcore process experts, real businesses, and our readers.

I got in touch with Jerilynne (better known as MamaRed) Knight, a process consultant of 30 years and an experienced Process Street user. After reading an extremely insightful comment of hers on Ben’s article about operations manuals, I interviewed her over the phone for well over two hours and learned more about the way processes work in the real world than I have from the books or articles I’ve read since joining Process Street in 2015.

Jerilynne has worked for clients of all sizes, from a company of just 10 employees to huge American corporations. What links every company she’s worked with? They waste resources because of grave inefficiencies, and then get concerned about spending money to fix their problems.

“Documented processes are a proven way to make businesses more efficient, but often they don’t want to listen. I remember one executive saying “I don’t know why we have to do this shit. No one reads it”. I leaned forward right up into his face, and I said “do you want to know why people don’t read that shit?”. I told him that people check out the process manual and find it’s too difficult to read, or that processes aren’t applied in a way that slots them into the way people expect to work. There’s no taking shortcuts when it comes to processes.”

In this article, I’m going to share with you a vast wealth of insight, experiences, and tips for improving business efficiency. Here’s some of the most deadly process mistakes to avoid.

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How to Make a Change Management Strategy (and Defuse the Growth Time Bomb)

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As a business you need to be constantly evolving in order to survive and grow. At first you can oversee everything yourself, keeping tabs on everyone to make sure everything’s up to date and running as intended. Then you grow, and suddenly you don’t have time to monitor those changes. For all you know everyone could be saying “yeah, I did that yesterday”, but be cutting corners left and right.

That’s where having a change management strategy will save you.

By analyzing the changes you want to make and seeing how the rest of your company is affected, you can prepare your teams in advance and help guide them through the transition until the new method becomes routine. Whether you’re changing software, updating technology, hiring new staff, or starting a new projecteverything can benefit from a solid change management strategy.

change management strategy - looney tunes bomb

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What is Crowdfunding? The Complete Guide to Getting Started

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Are you a wannabe investor, or an aspiring entrepreneur?

There are now more ways than ever to get those valuable connections to make you and others money. The online crowdfunding world is a network of forward thinking companies and people who want to help them succeed.

In the second installment of our Future Finance series, focused on modern investment and millennial-friendly financing, we’re looking at the particular niche of equity crowdfunding.

In 2012, the total global crowdfunding industry estimated fundraising volume was $2.7 billion. In 2015, this had grown to $34 billion. The industry is booming and growing each year, so it’s about time we picked it apart for you.

In this article, we’re going to look at two key areas:

  1. How you can become an investor through crowdfunding opportunities including platforms available to help you along your journey.
  2. How you can raise investment for your startup through crowdfunding platforms, with expert advice from FlashFunders’s Evan Markiles.

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7 Insightful Company Policy Tips from Basecamp’s Employee Handbook

company policy

While we were writing our guide to writing an employee handbook, it was striking how few public employee handbooks there were out there to read. Obviously, most companies don’t want to expose their internal workings, and that’s sometimes for a good reason. However, you can usually trust startups (excluding Uber and Zenefits) to be transparent about their operations.

And, when it comes to transparency, Basecamp’s handbook is an amazing example. It’s both a useful resource for companies looking to write their own policies from scratch, and a genuinely interesting read. In fact, it might be the first interesting company document I’ve ever read.

The handbook got a good amount of buzz and even persuaded 1Password to build an added security feature based on how Basecamp uses the tool abroad. And so, since Process Street is passionate about keeping companies running smoothly (and yes, that does include documented policies and procedures), I thought I’d share with you a few things you can learn from Basecamp’s handbook.

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Every Timeline Template You’ll Ever Need (the 18 Best Templates)

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Using any of the following 18 timeline templates will cut the fuss out of presenting your data in a way that’s easy to understand and visualize.

Whether you’re showing off your company’s milestones to potential investors, breaking down a project into individual tasks for your team, or just organizing your week to come, these templates will let you forget about formatting and get straight down to recording and using your relevant data.

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Every single one of these is free to use and doesn’t require an email address, account creation, or anything of the sort – I’ve just collected the best templates from across the web in one place for you to have a wide selection. All 18 will be organized into one of four categories:

  • Calendar timeline
  • Linear timelines
  • Project timeline templates
  • Spreadsheet timeline templates

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Micro Investing: Become an Investor With a $2 Budget

Micro_Investing-_Become_an_Investor_With_a_$2_Budget-03For a long time, the world of investing was limited to those with access to significant amounts of capital.

If you wanted to invest, you needed large sums of money. If you wanted investment, you needed someone with large sums of money.

The internet is changing this.

$30 million has been put into one micro investing app, $35 million in another, and a whopping $66 million in a further one. Investors see real promise in these micro investing opportunities, and it’s easy to see why.

These apps aim to open up investing to everyone, no matter your budget.

In the first of our Process Street Future Finance series, where we look at modern tech-driven investment options and how the millennial market is shaping the scene, we’re giving the ultimate introduction to micro investing.

We’ll tell you:

  • What it is.
  • Why it’s hyped.
  • Where it’s going.
  • How you can get started.

Hold on to your 401(k)s, we’re going in!

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How to Organize a Content Marketing Workflow for Your Team

The following is a guest post from Gloria Kopp, a digital marketer and a business consultant from Manville city. She works as a content manager at Paper Fellows and is a regular contributor to such websites as Engadget, Academized, and Huffington Post.

A well-planned workflow is crucial to keeping your content marketing efforts on track and ensuring that you meet your goals.  You may often find that you are receiving content late from your team, that it’s not up to scratch, has been rushed, or just never materializes. The tips in this article should help you to get back onto the straight and narrow.

Before you or your team get stuck into creating more content, make sure that you’ve read through the following points to keep your projects flowing productively.

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The 15 Most Useful Evernote Alternatives for Notes, Screenshots and Documents

Evernote is the Swiss army knife of productivity tools. It does a hell of a lot, but doesn’t do anything amazingly well. Maybe it was designed to replace your need for multiple apps by rolling them all into one, but its feature bloat makes it a pain to use, and there are many Evernote alternatives you can use instead.

We’ve already written a lot about Evernote; everything from Evernote templates to a comparison against Microsoft OneNote. In this article, I’m going to suggest worthy alternatives to Evernote in the areas of notes, screenshots, documents and bookmarking. While technically Evernote does do all of these things, there are more options out there.

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How to Create a Project Request Form (and Why Your Company Needs One)

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Whether you’ve completed a project a hundred times before or you’re faced with a new challenge, having some kind of formal project request form prevents the whole operation descending into a game of broken telephone and wasted resources.

No matter how good your team’s discipline, if all they have to go on when you request a project is a vague message and their memory of the requirements, sooner or later you’re going to have a problem. Either a project will be started which won’t be worth your time or your instructions will be lost in the trickle down to those taking action.

Whilst on manoeuvers, a brigadier commanding a certain brigade stationed in Aldershot passed the word to the nearest colonel to him:

“Enemy advancing from the left flank. Send reinforcements.”

By the time it reached the end of the right flank the message was received:

“Enemy advancing with ham-shanks. Send three and fourpence!”’ – Garson O’Tool, relaying a real-world instance of broken telephone from 1914

project request form - jimmy fallon chinese whispers 1

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FMEA: The Analysis Method to Prevent the £100m British Airways Catastrophe

fmea failure mode and effects analysis british airways catastropheBritish Airways chief executive described the incident as “catastrophic” as 800 flights were canceled and 75,000 travelers were affected.

Flight compensation website flightright.com estimated that British Airways would have to pay around €61m to passengers for refunds alone under EU legislation. Add to this the cost of reimbursing angry passengers for unexpected hotel stays and other inconveniences, and the total financial damage to British Airways has been estimated at £100m.

Why? Someone turned their data center off and on again.

The entire airline was down for almost 2 days. This wasn’t a natural disaster, it was a process failure.

In this article, we’ll explore how to spot process failures before they occur using a system called Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA). We’ll assess an overview and then delve in deeper to ground our understanding and include a premade Process Street FMEA template to help you run your own assessments in future.

This will leave us with three questions in regards to the British Airways affair:

  1. What happened?
  2. Why did it happen?
  3. How do we prevent it from happening again?

We’ll address each of these questions and look at how a company could employ FMEA in practice to tackle this kind of problem before it arises.

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