Many owners of small businesses believe that Business Process Management solutions are made only for big corporations that have complex processes and a huge number of employees and supporters. For that reason, these tools are usually seen as options that can only be taken into account when the company has grown to certain degree, this is, are seen as a luxury item only available for companies that have certain amount of incomes and need the solution for maintaining their competitiveness against their big competitors. However, each day it is clearer that this perspective must change.
The first thing to consider is that a small business that hope to grow must base its growth strategy in something more solid that the desire of expansion and its good will:
The statistics are grim. Research suggests that only one-tenth of 1 percent of companies will ever reach $250 million in annual revenue. An even more microscopic group, just 0.036 percent, will reach $1 billion in annual sales. In other words, most businesses start small and stay there (Dahl, s.f.).
Why, in spite of the huge efforts and complex strategies that many small businesses design, actually just a few can grow beyond certain limits? It can seem paradoxical but many times that effort and energy devoted to growing the business can actually be the reasons for its stagnation: an effort that is not directed clearly towards actually essential actions for the business, becomes an unnecessary waste of energy that ends up exhausting the managers of the project.
Besides, this effort disorder is finally seen by customers, who begin to lose reliability in the organization, feeling it has no clarity on where it goes or what it can offers to them. For that reason, entrepreneurs as Keith McFarland and many others have always emphasized that even more important than having a great amount of available energy, is to have a clear strategy with transparent steps moving towards the success of the project. Thus, efforts will actually get results and won’t get lost in weak actions.
For instance, many big companies use BPM for establishing how is Pareto’s Law behaving. As we can recall, this law states that 80 percent of profit of a given activity comes from 20 percent of customers. Thus, companies use the solution for discovering the specific group of clients giving the highest profit. In this competitive environment, small businesses should understand this 80/20 proportion as soon as it is possible, because a continual growth comes from this.
If a small business can quickly recognize what kind of customers are more interested in its products and services, it will be able to adapt its commercial and selling strategy to focus it on this group of customers and thus it guarantees a continual growth, because all the company’s efforts will have a positive answer from customers.
BPM and growth in employees’ number
It is also clear for any business’ manager that the growth of the organization will end on having a growth in the number of employees working in it. However, when the number is too big, usually more than 50 people involved in the processes, it begins to appear that many activities have failures, usually because communication becomes harder and the leadership that was easy before, gets lost .
In this case, a BPM solution is a key for a business willing to go beyond its limits: only a tool that can hold together all the activities and all the participants will help the business to get expanded without collapsing. It is important, however, to understand that using BPM only when there are more than 50 employees is not the right strategy, because for getting there you must already have a strategy for communication that allows an organized connection between processes.
A visible and organized growth
This all means, in general, that for a business to grow there is the need of having complete perspective of its processes. You need to detect how is growing the business, step by step, how are more employees being integrated and how the complexity begins to grow. With a BPM solution, managers can not only have this perspective, but also will be able to project this growth from the beginning, due to the process design that BPM has available.
Business Process Management represents for small businesses a guarantee for success and a manageable growth, that can be measured with clarity. The understanding of a business changes: it is no longer an unpredictable risk depending on chance and efforts, and it becomes a manageable process. This means that small businesses are called to manage intelligently their resources and energies for transforming these in expansion and incomes, and not to put the energy in disorganized activities waiting to achieve a profit without guarantees.
For this reason, it is important that small companies assume this new way of understanding businesses and search BPM solutions that are adaptable to their needs and budgets, that will certainly be different from the ones used by big companies. This is, flexible solutions that can allow the use of specific features and don’t force the company to buy and use the whole suite.