It seems to me any activity which starts one place and ends up somewhere else is a process, and certainly the management gurus push the idea all the time.
Unfortunately small business guys like us are more interested in customers, and less interested in management consultants, and their ideas to make us spend hard earned money on stuff we don't need.
For small businesses of all types the very thought of process implies rigidity, conformity and discipline. That's not what we're about. We're into anything which makes the world go round for customers, because that's when we make our money.
But funnily enough we all use processes even though that's not how we think of what we do. We'll all have found ways of achieving our goals, trying different ideas and finding what works, and what doesn't. And the way we do our thing becomes a process - our process. It just works our way.
Our process is a distillation of our resources, skills and interests. We dip into our kit bag and, for each individual customer, come up with a way of winning deals and delivering to satisfied partners - customers, partners, vendors, associates, employees.
In fact the smaller business only has one Unique Selling Point and it's that ability to be flexible with what we have.
That very flexibility is a nightmare for software vendors, because no two small businesses will use the same process. In which case they can't build software to suit. Whatever they build will only fit a tiny minority of the market.
That's why we built Front Office Box to work the way it does, with business process templates. Our templates include ways to:
- Plan what we want to achieve, with milestones and actions
- Assign and schedule tasks to people
- Monitor progress, comparing it with the plan
- Review our relationship with external parties and internal resources
- File relevant information where we need to find it.
We built a framework anybody could use to manage their business activities without forcing anything other than the basic principles.
Our user interface is a series of templates - for addresses, plans, actions, schedules and for reviewing the current situation.
We built it that way because our users told us quite plainly - they didn't want CRM. They wanted something like CRM but which helped them manage their entire business.
That's why Front Office Box is a set of templates for best practice business process.
What you do with it is up to you.