All over the world, more and more people are realizing the need to detach from the old and archaic belief that one has to go to school to succeed in life. In this regard, many people are joining the world of business and their careers as businesspersons are growing rapidly. Such people provide the much-needed drive and will to make it in the world of business to budding entrepreneurs. Therefore, the last few years have, seen more interest in the world of business than ever before (Havey, 2009).
To most budding entrepreneurs, starting a business project begins with coming up with a viable idea. However, these marks only the infant stages of the business and more often than not, some upcoming entrepreneurs are not usually prepared for the events that follow up right after setting the business in motion. The idea together with the necessary actions and precautions pave way for a successful business venture. Business processes are part of these actions and precautions. Business processes are defined as the pre-set objectives together with the means and guidelines set by the business owners to spearhead the process of meeting the goals and objectives of the business (Draheim, 2010). Thus, business processes require to be kept under scrutiny. This fact gives rise to the term business process management. It involves well laid out guidelines and approaches to be made in the process of adhering to the business processes.
At the end of every financial year, every entrepreneur would like to look at the business ledger books and see a considerable margin of profit made. This may sound easy at face value. However, profit making in a business requires more than just laying out the guidelines for an operation. Implementation of a business process or business processes may result in a significant improvement in the operations of a business. On the other hand, the same processes could be the reason behind the failure and downfall of a business (Duckert, 2011). Therefore, a proper implementation of business processes could be the decisive factor in determining whether the business rakes in profits or plunges into losses. Business processes are categorized into three basic groups: management, supporting and operational processes. Management processes refer to the strategic processes and procedures laid down to aid in achieving goals. On the other hand, supporting processes include the regular and routinely activities that contribute to the success of the business. Operational processes entail activities such as manufacturing, processing, distributing and selling. All these three processes interact to yield the desired results in the business operations (Blokdjik, 2008).
The objectives set by a business have to have a number of characteristics. They have to be obtainable, they need to be realistic and most importantly the objectives need to be acceptable (Havey 2009). Acceptability in this light refers to both the customers and the employees or workers in the business. Getting employees to work towards attaining certain goals requires that they be involved in the process. This entails letting them in on the business expectations and spelling out the roles and duties of each employee. With this accomplished, the employees go about their business knowing adequately the mission and vision of the business. To the customers, the question of ethics comes in. The objectives set by a business need to be in line with the societal demands in order for the business to gain trust and loyalty of the clients. This is especially true for certain controversial issues (Harmon, 2003).
The objectives set at the beginning of a period are the criteria that would be applied when measuring and evaluating the performance of the business at the end of the financial year. These objectives need to be in line with the customer demands and desires. Businesses exist because of customers. Their absence would render a business null and void in the first place. For this reason, all businesses need to make it a point that all products and services are tailored to suit the customers’ wishes and desires. The role of business processes is closely associated with making customers happy with the service. Good management processes, such as setting up customer care services go a long way in enhancing the relationship between the customers and the business. Customer care services allow clients to interact with employees who help them in tracing their objects of desire. They are also able to make wise and informed decisions by seeking assistance from the employees. The benefit of customer care services does not apply to the clients only, but also to the business itself. Through their interactions with the customers, the customer care agents are in a position to share with the clients and find out more about their wishes (Draheim, 2010). Such information proves crucial in giving a business a cutting edge over the rest of the businesses. Through the same customer care agents, a business cannot conduct market surveys and obtain invaluable information on consumer fashion and trends. This also provides a business with crucial information that goes a long way in improving product and service delivery.
One other management process that has catapulted growth of businesses over the past few years is embracing technology. Technological advancement has resulted in improved service delivery and improved quality of products. By implementing the use of gadgets and electronic aids such as computers, businesses have been able to improve their efficiency in service delivery. Not only are the new gadgets that have arisen out of technological advancement fast and efficient, but they are also accurate. Therefore, fewer mistakes made amounts to general efficiency in the business and with it, improvement in operation levels. The gadgets used in businesses also allow for convenient storage of business information and data (Duckert, 2011). The information can easily be obtained when needed. This factor also contributes to efficiency. In addition, computers and mobile phones allow for easy communication with the customers with electronic mails and short message services (SMS) coming to mind. With the fast evolving world communication has been the difference between a successful business and a business headed for failure. Communication enables a business to market itself and consequently sell its products and/or services. Consumers react to what they see and hear and if a word about the existence of a business does not reach them, they are not likely to respond positively. Application of communication strategies has been phenomenal in bringing a number of businesses into winning ways. Indeed, the research has demonstrated that a business that engage in widespread and comprehensive advertising and marketing campaigns sees a lot of activities and turnover (Draheim, 2010).
Supporting processes have played a huge role in transforming the business world. With clients laying a great deal of emphasis to the people who serve them, most businesses have taken to employ highly qualified, reliable and efficient staff to uphold customer loyalty. Employees who get to interact directly with customers such as cashiers and accountants have been seen as a gateway into the business. Therefore, organizations are going out of their way to ensure that employees who work in such departments are some of the best. This has in turn catapulted the need for higher education as people seek to gain special advantage in their careers (Harmon, 2003. Crucial departments such as the department of finance are now managed with a shrewdness that has not been witnessed before. Highly qualified accountants are hired to oversee the financial running of the businesses. Other professionals and experts such as human resource managers are also increasingly finding their demand unusually high.
Operational processes are particularly important for business and organizations that have specialized in the production of goods in preference for services. Such businesses go through a number of processes and activities to avail goods that appeal to their customers. Some of the activities they engage in, including manufacturing and processing call for a high level of efficiency. In this regard, most businesses have adopted to incorporate emerging trends to boost their production techniques. It is now common to see companies investing in state-of-the art machinery and appliances in order to boost their production capacities (Blokdjik, 2008). The machines have also been used to improve the quality of goods produced. Another emerging trend is on the location of the business. Businesses increasingly see the need to invest in areas where they can maximize on the economy of scale. Most businesses are setting up their plants in close proximity to densely populated areas and markets to increase the chances of their products getting to the customers in time. This also has an economical bearing where the company needs not to incur a lot of transport costs in moving the goods from the manufacturing plants to the market.
As a consequence of of all these thoughtful business processes aimed at improving the performance of businesses, there has been a negative association with them. These processes are a key to the business success. However, when they are not appropriately applied, the aftermath is usually devastating. They could lead the business to an early extinction. In other words, business processes could make or break a business (Havey, 2009). In management processes to begin with, errors of omission or commission could mean doom for the business. For instance, when a business takes up the use of a particular gadget or appliance, it may turn out to be too expensive for the business in the end. Maintenance costs and purchase costs could mean extra expenditure for the business. When such appliances are numerous thereby warranting the need to spend many resources on them, they could lead to a business bankruptcy. Obviously, a bankrupt business cannot stay in existence for long.
Electronic gadgets and other appliances could become liabilities in more than one way. When a business makes these their main tools of trade, the business may run into technical huddles. For instance, when computers are used to store business information and data, the data needs to be kept safe and easily accessible. However, due to technical challenges, a computer may break down leading to the loss of vital information. Retrieving such information may be an uphill task if not impossible altogether. The stakes are raised even higher if the information in question is essential for the continued existence of the business. For instance, if the data lost contained the transaction details of the business, it may lose out on a number of important references, factors which may contribute to the failure of the business. In addition, some of the gadgets and appliances that have appeared due to technological advancement may be tampered with. Information and data stored in them may fall into the wrong hands (Duckert, 2011). A person with ill motives could use such information for the sole purpose of hurting the business.
Hiring customer care agents to help in improving service and product delivery to the clients may be a great idea. Indeed, it can be the main reason for increased turnover in the business. However, this all depends on the staff members employed for that duty. As it is, customers like to feel appreciated. They also feel at home when they are accorded cordial treatment. If a business hires customer care agents who are insensitive to customer feelings, it could well be digging its own grave. Since they are the connection between the business, the clients and the business environment, customer care agents wield a lot of power in the hands. Inappropriate utterances and misconduct by them could earn the business a bad name thereby turning the business’s fortunes around. In addition, hiring customer care agents who are not dedicated to their jobs could prove detrimental to the business. Imagine being served by someone who has all the moodiness in the world written all over his or her face. No client would relish such an experience.
Operational processes, such as relocating a business, could mean different results. For businesses that relocate to towns and other densely populated areas, the joy of improved business deals could be short-lived. Soon, the business may be marred with cases of failure to pay taxes, rates and fees for other services characteristic of towns (Harmon, 2003). All of a sudden, the business will have to pay a fee for its garbage, waste collection and disposal. Together with other expenses, this could culminate into a full-blown budgetary requirement. For a business that is only getting its feet on the ground this could come as a significant setback. In other instances, it could result to the closure of the business altogether, especially when the management realizes it cannot keep up with the high rates and taxes. Furthermore, relocation comes with a great deal of expenses of its own. The business may have to contract the services of movers and incur other costs related to transport of the merchandise. The machinery will need to be reinstalled on reaching the new plant, bringing forth additional costs. In the end, the expenses incurred by the business during relocation could dig a hole in the business’s pocket, leaving it struggling to survive.
Communication devices are as important for the growth and expansion of a business as they can be the major contributors to the downfall of a business. The business can get good publicity and at the same time bad publicity. When the fortunes of a business are soaring, there will be people who would be displeased by the way things turn out. When information about the business falls in the wrong hands, the person to taint the name of the business in a bid to topple it may use it. For sensitive businesses such as the food industry, a slight taint of the name is depicted by a massive loss of clients (Havey, 2009).
It is a fact that for a business to conduct its operations maximally and efficiently, it has to hire qualified and relevant personnel. Such a step is necessary for progress. However, premature engagement in hiring well-trained staff that undoubtedly comes with a high price tag leads to additional expenses to the business. The business has to deal with the task of paying out exorbitant salaries, allowances and compensation schemes. These could amount to drawbacks especially at times of financial turmoil. As the business seeks to cut expenses to enable itself to meet the demands of its employees, it may miss certain crucial aspects of the business process (Draheim, 2010). This could cause the business to crumble.
Business processes are essential for the growth and progress of a business. Even then, a great care must be taken to avoid leading a successful business to a failure. The management of every business together with the staff members needs to take it upon them to ensure the business venture is successful.