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The three P’s of business: processes, policies and procedures



By Michelle Post

As business owners, we wear multiple hats: leader, manager, marketing, sales, accountant and many others. We do our best to run our business and not let our business run us, but that is not always the case. We complete daily, weekly, monthly and yearly tasks on autopilot, but do we really know what we do, why we do it, and most importantly, how we run our business?

Processes, Procedures, and Policies, also known as the three P’s, ensure a business is consistent in its running. The three P’s are critical to every facet of the organization, no department is excluded. I refer to the three P’s this way: A process is the “what,” a procedure is the “how,” and a policy is the “why.”

If the three P’s are in place, then a business owner doesn’t have to worry when an employee goes on vacation or worse – leaves. The truth is, the three P’s exist in most companies, but unfortunately in the form of verbal directives, leaving room for ambiguity. The three P’s operate in conjunction with each other but do not replace each other. The three P’s connect the values and vision of the organization and ensure the consistency of the work, as well as protect the employees. Creating clear and consistent P’s develops a more effective and efficient workplace.

Creating formal, documented P’s is not difficult, but it is time consuming. You need to make a plan and work the plan. However, there are many amazing free tools that can help with the creation of the three P’s. For example, your business needs a privacy policy for its website, but you have never written one. Don’t fear. Google, “free privacy policy generator,” and the results will supply a plethora of options. Wanting to create process flows? Try lucidchart.com. It is free for a single user and has dozens of libraries to choose from. The same is true for creating procedures, dozens of free templates exist on the internet.

“Regardless of your organization’s size, developing formal policies and procedures can make it run much more smoothly and efficiently.”

– Ann Snook, marketing writer

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