A First-Grader's Guide To Business Process

Written by Kevin Lai

Have you ever tried to describe your sales process to a potential investor or new hire? Or tried to explain why it rains to a child? The communication concepts are the same.

Water cycle flowchart

The water cycle is a process just like any other. Its cyclical nature and multiple inputs/outputs create quite a challenge to teachers and parents alike. To truly understand the water cycle requires knowledge of physics, chemistry, geology, meteorology, and more. Try explaining the details of sediment transport to a young child, or anyone else for that matter, to understand the concept of futility. The beauty of the process diagram is that it abstracts away those minute granular details in exchange for conceptual clarity and mass appeal. This is not coincidentally its downfall as well. Any trained scientist would surely cringe at this oversimplification. For the sake of communication, though, we have to remember that we are talking to first-graders... I mean businesspeople.


An investor isn't going to have time to go into the details and complexities of your sales pipeline. He or she wants a quick overview of the process and the bottom line. A new hire in the sales department, similarly, needs a firm grasp on the overarching sales strategy. I'm not saying to treat these people like children but you should leverage the ability to quickly and powerfully summarize your business (and life) processes using clear visuals to help you communicate.

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