Dig Into Process to Be More Effective

Use brainstorming for your whole company.

Wendy Ruyle 11.25.2015

Brainstorming and the design process aren’t just for branding and websites. If you use the discovery techniques we use when we start a design project, you can find efficiencies in your sales or operations methods.

Take a good look at your operations

Get in a room with your full team including any partners in your process such as outside dealers or distributors. Get some large note pads or a white board and outline every step in your product’s life cycle from when it is conceived to when it ends up in a landfill. Is there a design process for new product lines? Where and how is it manufactured? How does it travel across the city or country or world? What happens to it during the time it is being used by the customer? How is it disposed of?

List out everyone who comes into contact with it at every step along the way. Then think about what the pain points are along that timeline. Are materials hard to source? Is it expensive to ship? Does it break quickly? Can it be reused, recycled, or composted?

Now, think about gain opportunities. What can you do to change those pain points? Use different materials? Ship in bulk to distributors? Tweak the design to make it last longer?

You can do the same thing if you are in a service industry. Think about all the ways your customer comes into contact with your service. Where is the service delivered? How long does it last? What can you do to make it easier to access?

Investigate your sales process

Once you’ve tackled your operations, take a deep dive into your sales process. What are all the touchpoints you have with your clients along the way? What’s on your website before your client even knows that you exist? How are leads generated? What collateral do you use for cold leads vs. warm leads vs. hot prospects? What check ins do you have with your client during the purchase or service process? What do you do for a follow up at the end of a sale? A year after a sale?

Do the same thing you did for operations and list any pain points along the way. What do people dislike about doing business with you (or your competitors)? What can you do to change it?

Soon you’ll have a list of hundreds of ways to improve your business. You can’t implement all of them so prioritize them by how easy they are to implement and how much impact they will have on your bottom line. A little digging can sprout some great new ideas.

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