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Is Process Documentation the Key to Growth for Start-up Businesses?

Updated: Apr 3


Start-up Business Current State

If you are a start-up business, then you may have an organisation chart that looks something like the image below.


a high-level organisation chart with 'you' in every role
Start-up Orgnisation Chart

At this stage, formal organisation charts might not even be on your radar, as your focus is solely on survival. However, as your customer base grows, you'll find yourself spread thin across various responsibilities, potentially impacting product or service quality. This is where the need for assistance arises.


To facilitate growth, you need to start delegating tasks by recruiting individuals to fill your current roles.


Start-up Preparation for Growth


To kickstart this preparation for expansion, I recommend creating an organisational chart envisioning your business at its full potential. For instance, if you're in the tech industry, your chart might feature positions like Sales and Marketing Director, Technical Director, and Finance Director, each overseeing respective teams.


High-Level Tech Start-up Organisation Chart

The Sales and Marketing Director may have three direct reports: a Sales Executive, a Pre-Sales Technical Support person and a Digital Marketing Executive.


Sales and Marketing Organisation Chart

Your Technical Team may have a Technical Director with a Senior Developer responsible for two Software Engineers and a Tester.


IT High Level Organisation Chart

A Finance Director might head up your Finance Team with two individuals reporting to them: one focusing on accounts receivable and the other on accounts payable.



High Level Finance Organisation Chart

These recruits will require guidance on executing their duties effectively; therefore, conveying your business processes to them becomes paramount. The next step is to document the end-to-end processes that span the business. If you uncertain about where to start, the APQC's Process Classification Framework (PCF) offers a comprehensive breakdown of key organisational processes.


A Single Source of Truth

The easiest way to document the processes is to use a process mapping tool and then store the processes in a process-based management system. This way, when you recruit someone into a role, they have the processes and relevant documentation available to them to perform their job, essentially a single source of truth. This upfront effort in documentation saves valuable time later, allowing you to focus on strategic endeavours rather than training recruits.


Here are some examples of end-to-end processes for a small tech company:


  • Sales: from lead generation to closed sale, managing technical projects, contract and subscription renewals, partner management and executing marketing plans.

  • Finance: handling invoices to payments, procurement to payment processes, managing payroll and pension.

  • R&D: from building to releasing products, addressing defects and sprint planning.

  • Customer Success: managing inquiries to closure, handling complaints and measuring customer satisfaction.

  • HR: covering recruitment, onboarding, performance management, training and development and off-boarding.

  • Operations: encompassing quality planning, assurance and control, supplier management, risk assessment, incident reporting and investigation

  • IT Services: handling incident management, problem management, service request management, change management and release management.


In summary, documenting your end-to-end processes provides a roadmap for your business' growth, enabling you to scale operations while preserving quality and efficiency.


If this resonates with where you are today as a start-up business owner, and you would like assistance in developing and documenting your processes, feel free to reach out. We specialise in solving such challenges and can provide the support you need.





Reference: Michael E. Gerber, The E-Myth Revisited, (New York, HarperCollins), 175





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