Process Design 101

by | Dec 18, 2019 | Planning, Strategy | 0 comments


On December 5th, I sat down with three startup founders working out of the Georgetown Venture Lab. We spent an hour eating Mediterranean food and talking about process design.

So nerdy. So fun.

It was a challenge to figure out where to focus when I was working with three vastly different companies at the same time (nice validation that working 1:1 for most of what we do is the best way).

But there were plenty of takeaways that could apply to all of them at once, so here, just for you, are a few of them:

It is 100% possible to grow a service business without diving headlong into either an agency model or a course model

Breanne Dyck at MNIB Consulting taught me a great exercise for thinking about this.

When you’re ready to grow a business beyond yourself, there are so many options available to you beyond just hiring a bunch of people to do exactly what you do or turning your work into a course.

You can do those things too, of course, but the way I think about it is that you don’t have to build a meal with just one ingredient. You can turn part of what you do into an agency, add a streamlined training for another part, and borrow elements from all these methods to construct a truly unique, high-tough offer that you can grow:

  • Memberships
  • Delivering your service to a group
  • Raising your prices
  • Automating elements of your service
  • Reducing the scope of what you do

Process Design is essentially about breaking down what you do into little pieces and then deciding the best way to tackle each step

You don’t have to be an organizational nerd like me. I promise.

Let’s say you want to have a consistent way to off-board clients. You can start with a list of the pieces you want:

  • Feedback from the client
  • A testimonial or case study
  • Results data
  • A way to say thank you

For each of these, take a moment to think about the best way to tackle this for your clients.

So, for testimonials, you might decide to create a simple form for people to fill out so it’s really easy for them to give you what you need. It’s tough for people to sit down, look at a blank screen, and write something for you, so prompts will make it easy.

Then, you can make a simple email template that you can send to everyone.

Add the link to the form into that template, commit to sending it each time, and presto! You have a piece of your process created.

There is no magic bullet software. It doesn’t exist.

Sorry, guys, but it’s true.


Software can do all sorts of great things for you, but every tool out there has limitations and things it should do but doesn’t.

If you have a great process and load it into a high-quality software tool, your business will run more smoothly. You can relax when your friend tells you about a different one that’s WAY better. Chances are – it isn’t. If what you have is working fine, your energy is better spent elsewhere.

And if you don’t have a great process, software tools won’t be able to help you much. You need to do that part first to get the most out of the tools you buy.

Tell me – what part of this is most interesting to you?

Until next week,