Your small business should be regularly assessing, analyzing, and improving its business operations for maximum efficiency. Things change over time, both internally and externally. This is why streamlining business processes should be a regular task for your business. Even a miniscule improvement to a process can result in much better efficiency.
Here are the 5 signs that you need to reassess and streamline.
1. Email Overload
If you and your staff are swamped with emails and the inboxes are getting piled up, something needs to change. This is a sure sign that a business process needs updating. Maybe automation or an FAQ can help by fielding questions before your customers email you. Whenever you’re not keeping up with emails, look at the process and see where you can tighten it up.
2. Somebody Doesn’t Understand
Sometimes a business process needs to be improved in order to make it clearer. If someone in your organization isn’t performing their job well because they don’t understand, you might need to improve the process. It may simply be that the employee doesn’t understand the overall goal or the context into which the task fits. For example, your blog team might be blogging without direction because they don’t understand the finish line of the project.
3. Repetition or Duplication
If two people are doing the same thing or, even worse, someone is performing the same task multiple times, a business process needs to be simplified. You need to cut out the duplicate. In this case, you need to break down each task into steps and look closely at the steps to determine which can be removed.
4. Resources Going Down the Drain
You might find that somewhere in your business you’re investing resources that aren’t bringing the expected results. It’s like you’re paddling along in a leaky boat and you need to find the leak. The resource that’s getting wasted could be money, time, labor or effort.
To take the blog example from above, you might have a team investing a great deal of time blogging, but you’re not seeing the traffic you expect. You need to do something to bring better results, or find a shortcut to save your team time, like automation or repurposing.
5. Your Staff Is Stressed
Finally, a major warning sign is that everybody is stressed. You often don’t see the inefficiency in the workflow, but you can see the result when your employees are getting burned out. You can discover this problem if you’re touching base regularly with your staff to check up on them and see how they’re doing. If your employees are stressed, you need to look at the work they’re doing and see what’s causing the stress. This is where you need to streamline.
Streamlining your business processes isn’t hard to do at all. Everything isn’t done at once. Changes are implemented gradually by taking one task at a time, tightening up the one task, implementing, and monitoring. Once you’ve made one improvement, you move on to the next.