As a business owner, you’re an expert at what you do — but could your workflow be faster, smoother, and more efficient? Thinking about how your business operates is a conversation about business processes — and it doesn’t require an MBA to dive in. This article will review the three main types of business processes, with recommendations on how to help your business run better.
A business process is a routine primary business activity in your company’s workflow that repeats.
There are three different types of business processes: core processes, support processes, and management processes.
Business process management techniques, including automation, can help you streamline your primary processes and improve your bottom line.
A business process is a task that your team repeatedly performs to keep your business going. This could be anything from ordering materials to paying bills, budgeting, answering customer service inquiries, hiring and onboarding new employees, or filing your annual paperwork.
Business processes fall into three categories: core processes, support processes, and management processes.
A core process is necessary for your business to make money. This could be anything to do with acquiring customers, rendering your service, and ensuring customer satisfaction. Especially in the early stages of your business, most of what you do during the day is a core business process, also called an operational process.
Sales: Your sales team has to identify, pursue, and follow up with potential customers regularly. This is a repeated and essential core process in your business.
Purchasing: If you sell cookies, buying flour, sugar, and chocolate chips is necessary for your business operations. Navigating supply chains constitutes an operational process that business owners should revisit continuously.
If core processes are the revenue-generating activities for your business that keep the lights on, the support processes change the light bulbs, pay utilities, and hire the handyman. They orbit the primary processes and make sure your personnel and infrastructure can carry them out day to day.
Information technology (IT): How will you make sales calls with the office WiFi down? Electronic support processes are increasingly central to business operations as communication becomes predominantly digital.
Recruitment: As you build your team, the process you use to identify and attract new talent is a support process focused on recruitment. Human resources as a field, including hiring and onboarding, generally falls into the bucket of support processes.
As a small business owner, management processes draw the bulk of your attention compared to other business processes. Management processes involve steering the company in a good direction by making decisions that affect strategy, investment, partnerships, and more.
Strategic planning: If you convene your shareholders or main partners consistently to talk strategy, that’s one of your management processes.
Fundraising: Attracting capital for the next growth stage would fall under a management type of business process.
You’ll be flying by the seat of your pants plenty of times in entrepreneurship, especially at the beginning. But once your business starts humming, the kinks in your workflow can make or break profitability, and that’s when business processes begin to matter.
If the first step in building a successful business is identifying the product and market that meets a specific need, the second step — and the one that counts in the end — is achieving continuous improvement in every type of business process.
Paying close attention to core business processes can transform the numbers that your business depends on. For instance, when you optimize your supply chain, you’ll make more money per customer. And by ensuring your production workflow is as streamlined as possible, your team will be able to get more done per week, month, and year.
By defining and improving support processes, your people get what they need faster. Slowdowns will be shortened when questions get answered quickly. Suppose you can build a hiring process that consistently brings candidates who are a great match. In that case, your turnover lowers, and workplace morale increases. That comes with substantial financial benefits.
With high-quality management processes, your business will make proactive decisions rather than respond to crises. With all the distractions you must attend to on a given day, formalizing reflection and market research is a game-changer for any entrepreneur.
With just a few hours of reflection and adjustments, your business could see fundamental differences that can boost morale and your bottom line. So, where should you start if you’re ready to start improving your business processes? Here are a few business strategies you might use to optimize operations.
Business Process Management, or BPM, is a business management field that proposes several techniques for examining business processes. BPM strategies often emphasize monitoring and data collection, taking stakeholder input, and testing a business process as you revise.
For the more visual thinker, business process mapping enables leaders to put down on paper or a screen the steps involved in a particular business process. Flowcharts are a standard tool in business process mapping. They can help identify new pain points and bottlenecks by thinking through a workflow in more spatial terms.
There’s a thriving industry of companies working to make businesses more profitable by introducing business process automation. This refers to a range of technologies, from Slack to Salesforce, Quickbooks, or Gmail. This is generally called “software-as-a-service,” or SaaS.
There are likely business process automation services that cater specifically to your industry. For example, in the service industry, there are a plethora of point-of-sale systems that automate online ordering or payment.
Taking a careful look at your business processes is always time well spent. You will discover that certain things you do by hand or worry about can quickly be dispatched to a software service, leaving you free to pursue your business goals.
For example, forming your business and keeping up to date on paperwork should only take a tiny fraction of your time. When you bring on Swyft Filings for these tedious tasks, serving as your registered agent or filing your annual report, you gain hours you can spend winning over new customers.
It’s a fundamental tenet of good business management to optimize your time. That means outsourcing tasks you don’t have any reason to do yourself. When it comes time to file your LLC or expand into new states, Swyft Filings is ready to take it off your hands. Perhaps you can use the time you’ll have available to revise more of your business processes — and make more money.
Business processes are typically divided into three types: core business processes, support processes, and management processes. The types of business processes are based on their role in business operations. Examples of business processes include budgeting, hiring, onboarding, production, supply chain and purchasing, and customer satisfaction.n.
Business process management, or BPM, is a field of study dedicated to analyzing and improving business processes.
Business processes are designed around an organizational goal and examine the activities and sub-processes required to reach that goal. Existing processes are put through testing and process modeling to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies. After process documentation and a redesign, the revised business process better meets business needs.
Mathias Weske. “Business Process Management: Concepts, Languages, Architectures.” Accessed June 18, 2023.
TechRepublic. “Identifying core business processes is first step toward customer satisfaction.” Accessed June 18, 2023.
Business Process Incubator. “What are Support Processes?” Accessed June 18, 2023.
IBM. “What is business process management?” Accessed June 18, 2023.
IBM. “What is process mapping?” Accessed June 18, 2023.
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