Benjamin Brandall – Process Street

All posts by Benjamin Brandall


BPMN Tutorial: Quick-Start Guide to Business Process Model and Notation

Business Process Model & Notation (BPMN) is like a flow chart on steroids.

It’s the one true way to graphically map your processes and is a globally-recognized, standardized method. In other words, it’s information any business looking to draw reliable process maps needs to know.

When you map your processes (especially with a standardized method like BPMN), you start being able to:

  • Get a clear vision of exactly how everything in your business works
  • Save time by eliminating unnecessary tasks
  • Reduce the rate your employees forget, overlook, or wrongly execute work

So, what exactly is it?

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The Complete Guide to Business Process Management is Here!

Processes aren’t just paper inside folders full of useless information no one looks at. They’re the blueprint for how your business works on a day-to-day level.

How do you create reports? How do you check in with your team? How do you conduct and record your meetings?

The answer any efficient business will give you is that you use a process.

We’re well aware that the most dominant literature on business process management is extremely boring and un-actionable — reading guides on BPM is the equivalent of opting to take a tranquilizer.

So why, when processes are so important, hasn’t anyone ever put together a clear guide for businesses of any size?

That’s what we thought, and that’s why we’re publishing this 112-page ebook.

Download the Complete Guide to Business Process Management

Without processes, your business is a ticking time bomb, prone to error and impossible to scale.

Companies that implement processes have a 280% higher success rate on their projects (95%) versus those that don’t (25%).

On a day-to-day level, you can use processes to:

  • Record the one best way to do work, making it faster and cheaper to train new hires
  • Stop making mistakes because of human error and oversight
  • Reduce operating costs by rocketing efficiency
  • Build scalable systems that help your business stop dealing with urgent work, and focus on growth

What’s in the book?

Learn why processes are essential

Processes protect your business from failure. If you don’t measure what’s working and what isn’t, you can’t make any informed changes. You can stab in the dark, but you might never find out why what you’re doing does or doesn’t work.

Processes also act as the blueprint for your business to scale. Sharing detailed and comprehensive knowledge with new and existing employees is the only sure-fire way to keep your business running properly without wasting time on training, missing deadlines, or simply forgetting how to do things.

There are plenty of studies on why processes are effective, and some post-mortems from history’s greatest failures that show how errors can be easily avoided by systemizing tasks.

  • Surgeon, writer and public health researcher Atul Gawande found that implementing a checklist in the operating theatre. 78% of staff actually observed the checklist to have prevented an error in the operating room, and 80% said the checklist was easy to use and improved the safety of care.
  • Disasters such as Chernobyl and the Challenger shuttle could have been avoided if the people involved with these organizations had implemented and enforced processes. In short, all human error incidents are a result of not following the proper process.
  • Zenefits is living proof that your business will go off the rails without the right processes in place. While they saw explosive growth, their operation was unsustainable and eventually came crashing down — an embarrassing, devastating failure.

Time and time again, it’s been proven that documented and enforced processes are vital if your business is going to do anything but fail.

But where do you start? Start with our business process management guide.

Learn how to create processes

There’s a right way to create a process, and there’s a ton of wrong ways.

George Boorman, the man responsible for Boeing’s watertight pilot process, sums it up nicely:

“Bad checklists are vague and imprecise. Good checklists are, above all, practical.”

That’s the high-level overview, but in the business process management guide, I give you the step-by-step process you’ll need to create processes for anything from scratch.

Processes don’t need to be complex, and, depending on their exact purpose, they don’t need to be 100% comprehensive. They can be fully automated, semi-automated, or fully manual — the important thing is, they exist and are accessible by the people who need them. That’s the only way to reduce human error and lower the rate that your team forgets to do their work or vital steps in their workflows.

In the guide, I teach you how to create the processes you know your business needs. It contains step-by-step instructions for every level, from basic to advanced.

Learn how to map and optimize your current processes

The only way you can be sure you’re running the most optimal process is if you fully understand how it works at every stage. When you hire a process consultant, they’ll come in and interview your team about how they get work done. Then, they’ll map the existing process and work with the team to optimize it. That means smashing bottlenecks by cutting out useless reviews and approvals, minimizing the amount of paper (or data) moving from place to place, and automating as much as possible.

Processes are the kinds of things that sound complex but are actually just a necessary step

This guide — written by analyzing best practices from process experts — will teach you how to do it without hiring an expensive consultant.

Now you can use techniques that are usually the reserve of big businesses that can afford the high price tag.

Learn how to outsource your processes

One of the major benefits of having a documented process is that you can outsource it without much friction. That helps your business scale because you’ve already worked out the most efficient way to do the task.

Another way to approach outsourcing is to hire a company to handle one entire side of your business. Some companies hire IT service providers or bookkeepers as an alternative to hiring a specialist in-house. To use an example from the world of corporations, IBM handles all things IT for Coca Cola. To use an example from Process Street, we hire an agency that recruits virtual assistants and handles their payroll. That means we don’t need to hire a recruiter or an accountant for a big chunk of our staff.

This ebook contains step-by-step guides to getting your processes ready to outsource in house, and ideas of what you could save money on by hiring agencies.

Learn what to do when your processes fail

Sometimes you have to rip everything up and start again. The corporate term for that is business process reengineering (BPR). Almost every business has had to make major changes to their operations at some point, whether it’s Ford, Google, Taco Bell, or countless smaller businesses that haven’t had case studies written on them.

One example might be moving from paper to a centralized company database. Enterprise Engineering Institute describe the improved process:

“In the new situation the buyer registers an order in an online database. The buyer no longer sends a copy of the purchasing order form to the creditor administration. When the goods arrive at the store, the storekeeper checks in the database whether the received goods correspond to the purchasing order form.”

Drawing from every case study on we could get our hands on, this ebook contains numerous examples of how real businesses have impacted their bottom line by changing their processes.

Get the ebook for free

Everything you need to start documenting, mapping, and optimizing your processes condensed into one handy book.

Download it now:

How to Onboard a New Virtual Assistant: 2 Real Processes We Use

For startups and small operations, virtual assistants can be vital.

The general idea is: instead of hiring a full-time specialist or wasting time on data entry, you hire a VA.

It sounds easy. You just hire a VA, right?!

But what happens after that is the hard part. Straight after hiring comes the onboarding and training. That’s the part where you get your new VA up to speed with how your company works, and how the tasks, rules, and responsibilities are going to be different from the other companies they’ve worked for.

You’ll need to explain how to use your stack of tools, and how they can work as efficiently as possible. It’s also a process for you: you need to remember to check in, make sure everything’s set up properly, and review their performance.

In this post, I’m going to go over some of the key things to keep in mind when onboarding a virtual assistant, and share two of our internal processes with you.

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55 Insanely Useful Startup Blogs: VCs, Sales, Marketing & Design (2017)

At Process Street, a lot of startup blogs are required reading for our team.

It makes sense, because your startup will be informed and improved by what it reads, and every team needs to stay on top of what’s being spoken about.

In this post, I’ve compiled the 55 best blogs for startups (plus one recommended article from each) in these categories:

  • Venture capitalist blogs
  • Marketing blogs
  • Sales blogs
  • UX & design blogs
  • Customer success & support blogs

… All focused specifically on advice for startups.

Here they are:

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How to Automatically Generate Tweets with Images and Hashtags for Your Buffer Queue

Want to add every post on your blog to your Buffer queue, complete with images and automatically generated hashtags?

Recently I realized I hadn’t added my old blog posts to Buffer, and needed to go back and queue them all up. While I was doing it, I decided I could grab the images and use a free API to generate the hashtags for me!

So, I thought I’d record how I did it so I can tell you, too.

In this post, you’ll learn to:

  1. Export a CSV of your posts from WordPress
  2. Tidy up the CSV to include only URLs and titles of your posts
  3. Automatically include hashtags in the tweet text using Aylien
  4. Use import.io to scrape images for your tweets
  5. Push the tweets and images to your Buffer queue using Zapier

Oh, and by the way: all the tools used here are used in their free versions. 🙂

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Are Your Useless Tools to Blame for Bad Project Management?

Is bad project management causing you to abandon important projects? Should you blame the tools you use, or does the issue go deeper?

A new report published by software comparison company GetApp reveals the dire state of project management in 2017.

GetApp’s research indicates that companies offering project management software fall short as one-stop solutions, forcing companies to rely on several tools used in conjunction.

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8 CRM Workflows to Destroy Data Entry and Close More Deals

CRM Workflows

As part of a sales team, you don’t get paid to fiddle around with the CRM. You get paid to close deals. But that can make work stressful for everyone, especially when just keeping the CRM up to date can feel like a full-time job.

It’s time to put an end to data entry, concentrate on running your sales operations more efficiency, and win bigger deals.

So, how do you start doing that?

At Process Street, we’re fanatics when it comes to automation, workflows, and systems.

That’s because we know that the foundation of an efficient business — one with lower running costs and higher output — is a solid set of processes. That’s not just for things like finance and HR. It comes down to the nuts and bolts of how you and the rest of the sales team uses your CRMs.

CRM expert David Young explains:

“Customer interactions that rely heavily on manual processes can be hit or miss. A key benefit of automation is providing a consistent customer experience. Workflow automation allows you to develop standardized response protocols and ensure that they’re followed. A good process, that is consistently followed, will almost always translate to more positive customer experiences.” — CRMSwitch

In this article, I’m going to show you how to spend less time searching, updating, and making sense of the disorganized data inside your CRM.

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How to Build a Minimum Viable Process Pack for Your Startup

I know, you want to cut out admin work. You want to cut out time wasted on bullshit that doesn’t directly impact traction.

It’s hard to pull yourself away from product and marketing for any extended period of time to focus on how efficiently your startup runs internally, but it does have to be done.

Srinivas Kulkarni, writing for ZDNet, reports:

“While it’s very easy to say that when startups are founded, there’s a lot of freedom, liberty and access in terms of work and building the product, technology or service that they offer, it is also important to realize that most startups fail because they don’t learn from their and others’ mistakes. It’s imperative that the experience comes from a process.”

A lot of the problems processes solve can seem like they’re easily fixed on the day they crop up, and it can seem like there’s no point in writing down how you do work when you’re too busy to even get it all done…

But any good startup will scale, analyze the ways it gets work done, and will try to improve its efficiency — that’s just what organizations that succeed do.

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The 31 Best Business Podcasts for Entrepreneurs & Startups

Podcasts are an awesome way to passively expand your knowledge, especially while you’re walking, in the car, on the train, or doing work that doesn’t require a ton of mental energy.

At Process Street, we’ve compiled a list of podcasts that we personally listen to and would recommend to anyone interested in business, entrepreneurship, marketing, and startups.

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I Analyzed 12,844 Tweets to Find How Top SaaS Companies Do Twitter Support

I’ve covered our internal support process and analyzed SaaS support and success before, but when it comes to Twitter support, there’s not much data out there.

From what I’ve learned in this study, I’d say that could be because it’s not something the company wants to do.

Is it a necessary evil, brought about by frustrated customers, or is it companies meeting customers on their level?

When you think about users interacting with companies on Twitter, you probably imagine companies trying their best to calm down users so angry they need to vent their frustrations publicly.

I got the idea for this study when I saw the sheer amount of damage control Outlook have to do on Twitter because of their product, and set out to analyze other software giants and how they do Twitter support.


Since Twitter is entirely open to the public and can’t be edited, I thought it was begging for a study on how SaaS companies support their users on Twitter. That’s for a couple of reasons. One, because no one has published data or written a post like this before. And two, because I enjoy writing studies on SaaS companies, like this and this on pricing pages, and this on landing pages.

Here’s my study into the effectiveness and uses of Twitter support at SaaS companies.

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