One of the most important targets you should work towards in your business is to improve the speed and efficiency of your internal processes. By doing so, you will likely increase the productivity of your company, be able to serve more customers, produce more products and services, as well as maintain a higher level of morale.
As with any obvious advantage in the business world, however, improving the efficiency of your internal processes is easier said than done. The reason for this is that there may not be any obvious areas of improvement.
When you have already set up your workflows to be as effective as they can be, it isn’t easy to jump in and find clear faults that need correcting. Similarly, if there are faults, they are probably going to be tricky to fix.
One of the best ways to ensure that your business processes are as efficient as possible is to systematize them.
This means ordering your existing workflows into an organized system, able to be repeated accurately with minimal time loss or resources expended.
For example, you could create an automated onboarding system for new employees, helping them to be trained properly without you needing to waste the time of another staff member or cause disruption to the wider team.
Alternatively, you could establish an efficient accounting system that allows you to process finances with minimal delays or time-consuming inputting and calculation time.
Here are a few useful ways you can systematize your business processes:
Establish a simple accounting system
One of the best ways to systemize your business processes is to create an internal accounting workflow that allows you to quickly input the relevant financial information without having to get bogged down in endless spreadsheets, calculations, complicated invoicing, and other related issues.
This example is especially important to consider if you run a small business. Chances are you have a limited accounting department (perhaps you even do it yourself) and can easily get dragged into hours of financial work – trying to chase payment from clients, get contractor invoices and employee salaries paid, as well as taxes filed in the correct manner.
The result is far too much time and resource being poured into what is supposed to be a mere formality. Instead, you should consider creating a dedicated system that streamlines the process and, if possible, automates key stages of the process, such as invoice financing vs invoice factoring.
Once you have done this, you can start to reallocate staff resources elsewhere.
Analyze what your most frequently completed jobs are
If you are wondering where to start in order to systematize your business, then a good place to begin is by analyzing your current internal workflows one by one.
By studying your most used workflows, you can pick apart what works, what doesn’t, and how each process can be improved by using a system. These are likely to include many customer service tasks – such as answering frequently asked questions from potential customers – accounting, the production process, and even sales.
Many of your employees will be relying on their own personal skills and experience to complete relatively common tasks rather than relying on a reliable system that allows them to navigate any potential issues quickly and helps them focus on more critical jobs.
This can put a huge dent in your company’s overall productivity, leave your most talented staff members stuck solving menial problems that you didn’t employ them to work on, and risk putting team morale into a nose-dive.
If you have analyzed your existing internal processes and you are still struggling to find any obvious issues or ways that they can be made into a simple system, then consider asking your employees directly.
Opening a channel of productive communication will help you understand what it is your staff members need to do their jobs correctly, what process-related problems they are struggling with, and which productivity buffers can be removed.
When you talk to your staff about this, you can then work together to create an easily replicable system that can be used again and again to great effect, cutting down on time wastage and ensuring that they are an improvement on the workflows that went before.
Automate client and employee onboarding
Integrating systems that create standard operating procedures (SOPs) for your business is ultimately about quality control. When your employees are repeating the same tried and tested approach every time they tackle a particular task, you know that they will be working in the correct manner, at the right speed, with the desired result.
This is like gold dust for a business owner because you won’t need to micromanage your teams or worry that standards are dropping behind your back.
A great example of this is with your client and employee onboarding processes. These are time-consuming but vital processes for the continued health of your business. Therefore, you should make them as efficient and error-free as possible.
With customer onboarding, for instance, you could integrate a chatbot that answers their questions on the website and then points them to the landing page where your products are listed.
The copywriting used should then persuade them to purchase the product, at which point, if they have any outstanding doubts or have encountered issues with a product, they can contact a human customer service attendant.
You can even script this part to ensure that any query is dealt with quickly, efficiently, and professionally.
Similarly, when you recruit a new employee, it can be easy to get distracted by training them and educating them on company policy, dress codes, and other operating procedures.
To solve this issue, you could record a video training course that walks them through every stage of the onboarding process and then send them a PDF document with the necessary standard operating procedures included.
At this point, it is worth pointing out that systems should not fully replace human interaction but should remove the tasks that are unimportant or not worth an employee’s time.