Three Techniques to Streamline Your Business’s Inefficient Processes

Business owners begin with a dream and motivation. They're willing to sacrifice time and money to get their businesses off the ground, tackling a seemingly endless list of obstacles that stand in the way of success. The unlucky ones fail, while the lucky ones survive. However, even these lucky ones are held back from true success by sheer entropy: the process of survival has spawned a thousand processes that the owner is accountable for. Activities like bookkeeping, recruiting, hiring, training, communicating, invoice scheduling, etc., don't directly lead to the business's runaway success, but all are vital and require significant time investments. For a business to truly soar, its leadership must streamline and automate as many mundane, inefficient business processes as possible.

Identifying Inefficiencies

Some inefficiencies are easy to identify, but others may not be so apparent. Oftentimes business owners are oblivious to what's causing ineffectiveness, making it difficult to correct the issue.

One common problem, however, is that on the surface everything appears to be in good working order – everything is in its place, everyone has their assignments and everyone is busy doing their jobs; but in reality, there is no fruit and poor, ineffective results.
The major source of this problem is that highly skilled and highly paid staff spends far too much time working on insignificant tasks that don't yield much fruit. This cost business owners money. Highly skilled and highly paid staff members should contribute to generating sales – not to a company's ineffectiveness. These not so apparent problem areas include missing deadlines, misplacing key documents, having to repeat the same tasks and other inefficiencies.

Most businesses that function ineffectively are likely victims of the Pareto Principle, which is based on 80% of a company's negative results being associated with 20% of their own inefficiencies.

If you are a business owner and find yourself struggling to get your business to function properly, you may find the three techniques below helpful in streamlining your business' inefficiencies.

1. Identify and Correct Bottlenecks

One major problem that is certain to create inefficiencies includes areas that create bottlenecks. In other words, when a process that is associated with a series of other processes has a limited capacity or the inability to function properly or in a timely manner, it has a negative effect on the other process, thus slowing them down. The point at which the bottleneck occurs must be addressed so that it and all of the other areas can flow and function as normal.

2. Automate as Many Systems as Possible

Nothing speeds up a process like a new software program. Software and technology can replace the day-to-day, time-consuming, tedious tasks with efficient processes and systems that can free up your staff's time, allowing them to be available for more important tasks that improve outputs.

There are other forms of software available as well, such as Business Process Automation (BPA), which is a systemized software program designed specifically to streamline complicated tasks while facilitating the process. Automated systems have been known for not only boosting productivity but for also saving businesses time and money.

3. Perform Relevant Assessments

It's very important to perform relevant assessments of your procedures and processes to determine exactly how long it takes to manually complete a process from beginning to end. Checking in with staff members is a great source for gathering this type of information since they work on the day-to-day tasks hands- on and are very familiar with each setback, bottleneck and inefficiency. For specific data, consider investing in a business intelligence dashboard that can keep you updated real-time with important efficiency metrics. After this initial assessment has been performed, you can then see how much time and money is being saved as a result of implementing the new automated system.

Research suggests that inefficient systems are responsible for many businesses losing up to 30% of their annual revenue; it is extremely important for businesses owners to identify and resolve their inefficiencies quickly to improve productivity and increase sales.

Lewis Robinson

Lewis Robinson is a business consultant specializing in social media marketing, CRM, and sales. He's had the opportunity to manage his own startup businesses and currently freelances as a writer and business consultant. He can be contacted at ljrobinson.crm@gmail.com.
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