Just about everyone in the world would like to make their day simpler. In the current time-poor business environment, creating easier business processes can free up enough time so that you can focus on your more important tasks. To do this, you need to put your whole business under the microscope to find areas in which streamlining can occur.
It is important to keep an open mind when going through this process, as sometimes people can get stuck in their old ways and not change a process that they consider to be essential, even if it turns out it is not. These tips will help you to streamline your business processes to free up time in your day.
1. Automate Processes
I recently spoke to an event manager at one of the largest convention centres in Australia who told me that when they were first hired, they realised that the process of first contact about an event, to confirming a booking, required entering the same data about the client four or five times into the system! They told me that they found a solution that meant that when a client first made contact, their details were entered into a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, so that later down the booking process, any employee could see easily a note of all the communication which had already been made with the client. This not only saved time and effort from re-entering identical data but allowed them to improve their relationship with the client too.
This can be applied to most areas of a business. Programs that automatically generate invoices and send them to clients, or human resource programs that automatically keep a central database of all employees, are commonly available on the market. These are just two examples of automation, but systems can be found for all aspects of your business.
This also applies to identifying any irrelevant documents or reports you are creating and cutting them back. This could be data that is collected by two departments and then separately reported on, or even just reports that were once vital to your organisation but have since become irrelevant without you realising.
2. Outsource your services
Most services of your business can be outsourced to specialised companies. The list of activities that can be outsourced is almost endless, but the most common are IT services, marketing and accounting. For example, a managed service provider for IT will be able to not only supply you with IT solutions, but also manage them constantly for you. They will monitor, update and repair your systems as well as help you with anything IT related. This option is especially great for medium to large sized businesses as it is often cheaper and more effective than hiring new staff or creating a whole new department.
Typically with an outsourced team you get a depth and breadth of knowledge and capability that can rarely be matched with internal resources – and without having to worry about sick days, holidays, more furniture, payroll tax etc!
Once you begin to investigate the areas of your business that can be outsourced, you will notice that your day is taken up by small tasks that can be given to other companies, freeing up your time to focus on more important issues.
Streamlining the communication in your business is one of the best and most effective ways to reduce the time taken to complete tasks. Streamlining communication is a combination of improving little things to make the bigger picture run more efficiently. Firstly, job roles should be reviewed to make sure they are well defined. This will allow anyone in the business to quickly identify to whom they need to speak about certain issues, rather than contacting multiple people just to find out who to speak to. Using a centralised cloud computing system will also help improve communication within your organisation. It allows documents to be easily shared around the organisation as they can be securely accessed online. This includes creating unified documents so that anyone in the business knows exactly where to find what they need.
Systems are available that allow easier communication between employees, including making groups for projects to quickly and easily contact someone if needed, rather than always waiting on emails – and who really needs more email?
To streamline your business processes, evaluate your business to find where time can be shaved from your day. Do not be afraid to make drastic changes if you believe these will improve the flow of work across the organisation as some people often get stuck in their ways.