Map and track your processes, including APIs, with a spreadsheet

Most business owners will realise the importance of not only mapping, but tracking business processes. We all have processes, even if you don’t know what they are. Processes are just ‘the way you do things’. Even if you are doing custom one-of-a-kind jobs, you still tend to get yourself into some kind of routine, you still have a process. Once you have joined the group of business owners who understand how important it is to know your process, you will then understand just how important it is to track it. This becomes increasingly important when you employ staff. The last thing you want is to have your staff making mistakes because they don’t know what the process is. You need everyone to be ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’. This is where APIs come in. Has everyone done what they should have? What was done on time and what was late? How successful have your projects and processes been? Do you know these answers? Do you know during the job, or do you have to wait until the job is complete and someone can analyse the data? Is it even worse, are you relying on your accountant to tell you this, when they do the year end?

If you have read the first paragraph, and you’re feeling a little uneasy or you’re not quite sure if you’re on top of everything, you may be realising a need. You are not alone, most business owners are in this situation. This is why computer programmers make a small fortune, writing software to help you to manage the above more effectively. Now if you have a company making millions, then you probably have some custom made software, but what are your options if you have a smaller business? You can either buy software off the shelf, and make your business like everyone else’s, or you can use Excel.

Whether you use the macro side of Excel, or just the formulas, spreadsheets are an ideal way to plan, monitor and analyse your processes. When you start your spreadsheets, determine your procedure, and create your spreadsheets with the correct layout. This layout should represent your process, and then when you open the spreadsheet, it will enable you to see your tasks and know exactly what is required next. This will help to enforce your process. You can also obviously input the crucial data as you go along, in order to track what has been done, and what is still required. This will not only enable you to keep all of the data in one place, but you will also be able to put that data to good use. Which brings me to the final point. KPIs. You can use some cunning formulas and conditional formatting, in order to produce your very own KPIs.

  1. See your process laid out in front of you.
  2. Have a central place for all staff (if required) to enter the data for that specific job.
  3. See at a glance what the progress is on any job.
  4. Spot any issues with the job, before they become problems.
  5. Get an immediate analysis of the project, whenever you require.

Yes, all of the above, from a simple spreadsheet. Now yes, it is probably more complicated to make than I have suggested above, but you don’t even need to do that. This is what I do. I use Excel to make useful business software, just like I have spoken about above. In fact, this is my favourite type of job. Not only do I love to create these kinds of solutions, but they also have the biggest impact on my client’s businesses. Is this something that you could benefit from? If so, please contact me, let’s have a chat.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Richard

PS. If you would like some inspiration, take a look at this new video which I made.

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