The Right Time To Streamline Your Workflow

The efficiency of any office or operation depends on workflow. The better a manager clearly defines a regular process, the more efficient his team becomes. This saves overall work time, making the team more effective and able to do more with less stress or frustration. At the end of the day, efficiency leads to bigger bottom-line profits. To streamline work processes and improve workflow, assess the entire operation from top to bottom, looking for areas of improvement.

“To need a process and not install it, is like paying for it, without getting it.” – Ken Stork

 

If you don’t take the time to refine your business systems and processes, you will be paying costs across every area of your business. Without your systems and processes refined,  documented and delegated well, you will find that you’re paying a cost across five key areas. 

 

DOCUMENTATION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: Let’s face it, professional knowledge and intellectual property are messy businesses. Valuable ideas don’t flow in a smooth, orderly manner from inventive minds. They come in fits and starts. They are hammered into useful products only through great vision and persistence. Likewise, the transformation of ideas into valuable intellectual property is an exercise in the management of chaos. If your systems and processes are not documented and laid out for everyone in plain black and white, there will be too much knowledge of business operations locked up both in your own mind and in the minds of your team members. Unlocking that information is to maximize it. 

 

OPTIMISATION OF BUSINESS PROCESSES: The second cost that you’ll be paying in your business if you have not refined and documented your systems and processes, is that of optimisation. Optimising a business process requires more effort than simply purchasing new software. It requires taking a critical look at an organisation’s operations and minimising the resources required to get things done. You might have a clear idea of what might be happening but if you haven’t mapped that out, and then look for ways to improve and optimise your processes, there will still be opportunities for improvement that are never possessed. There will still be money and time being wasted. There will still be confusion and inconsistency. So the optimisation of your operations relies on you prioritising the development and streamlining of your systems and processes. 

 

ABILITY TO AUTOMATE: The next cost you’ll be paying is in your ability to automate. Automation necessitates a certain amount of clarity about an effective system in the delivery of your products and services. If you don’t know the tasks involved and the people responsible for running the process, you can’t design and automate the workflow accurately. Unless you have a very clear picture of what the process looks like manually, you will not be able to build an effective automation of that process.  The insights you gain from analysing an automated process can clearly show you the gap between your process as it is and as it should ideally be.

 

OUTSOURCING: The next cost you’ll incur by not refining your systems is in your lack of ability to outsource. For most small business owners, outsourcing means having someone outside the business do work. But the inevitable question arises: how you do you make sure the quality stays the same? How can you possibly outsource a task that is not optimised, strealined or clearly documented? You can’t possibly pass on a task if you don’t have a clear idea of exactly what a good job looks like, what needs to be done to complete that task and how the person will know that it’s been done well. So, the opportunity to outsource can only be realised when you’ve got your processes documented and your tasks optimised. 

 

DELEGATION: Whether you’re outsourcing to third party suppliers, or whether you’re delegating to people in-house, a good job is one that is documented so well it can repeated by another. If the task is not repeatable by someone else then you simply cannot create a growing business. It is vital that if you’re growing a business bigger than yourself and you’re on a mission to roll out your products and services nationally and even globally, you stop and take a look at the infrastructure that you’re relying on to sustain that growth. It’s absolutely vital that you install the processes that you need because the last thing that you want is to be paying for processes without actually getting them. 

 

Streamlining your business removes wasteful or redundant steps to improve efficiency. In business, time is money, so a small business achieves key financial and operational advantages from streamlined operations. You reduce costs, attract more customers through nimble response times, drive higher revenue and compete effectively. When is the best time to streamline your processes? Asthe Chinese proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, and the second best time is today.” 

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Time Poor? Simple Strategies To Get A Full Work Day Back Each Week

As a small business owner, you’re probably intimately familiar with the feeling of always juggling endless tasks.  Between administration, managing employees, marketing, chasing leads, taking care of clients, managing your web presence, and all the other activities that are necessary for business owners in our busy world, there’s hardly any time left to actually do whatever it is you started your business to do!

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“Watch the little things; a small leak will sink a great ship.” – Benjamin Franklin

 

FAST FACT:

 17% of the time at work is lost with people simply looking for things they need to do their job. 

 

SEVENTEEN PER CENT!!

 

When you consider the time taken for breaks, that percentage in real terms equates to about one full day of work time. It is spread out across tiny moments throughout every working week, but if you could add up all those wasted moments, you would find they are stealing a full day of productivity from each person at work. Dare I say it, even you!

 

When you look at it like that, it’s plain to see that developing systems that make it easy to find things saves time and increases efficiency. Effective time management is one of the most important skills for a small business owner. The best you can do is make sure your time is well-managed, so you can pack as much productivity into the time you have as possible. Making the most of every minute will reap significant rewards in your quest to expand your business.

 

A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING: Put things away where you found them. This is a golden rule of resource management. If you’ve got more than one person sharing resources, you need to have things on the go readily available for quick deployment. This rule is absolutely essential when it comes to physical equipment. The amount of time that people spend looking for simple things like staplers, replacement printer toner, or important documents cost more time than you dare to imagine. Managing their storage and retrieval well will make such a difference.

 

GO PAPERLESS: To really ramp up your efficiencies, throw out your shoebox filing system and commit to storing as much as you can online. You don’t need to have piles notes, receipts, invoices and other such information. These documents can be electronically scanned and filed away for accuracy and efficiency. The time you use to spend opening envelopes, recycling paper, shredding sensitive information can be saved if you set up electronic access, and finding them again is a piece of cake when they are all at the click of a button. 

 

CENTRALISED STORAGE: Set up a simple online storage system so everyone can access what they need. Whether you have in-house staff or a team spanning the globe, the cloud makes data-sharing as easy as sending a link, eliminating the cumbersome process of emailing large files. If you make it a routine practice to back files up along the way, a centralised storage system will save you time going through individual computers to find a certain file, or look for a specific document from a piece of paper in your pile. With the time you save you could take on more work, or do less if you choose … spend more time enjoying the time bonuses you create.

 

AVOID DUPLICATES: Everything should be done in the original and there should only be one version. Working in the original document is my preference, but if you’re working in version two, three or four, set up a specific folder that stores the older versions securely and without confusion. If something needs to be referred to, across other documents or other systems, then simply insert a link from where the information is needed back to the original file. Do not have multiple versions of the same document or information across different locations because maintenance is difficult, if not impossible. And confusion is a thief of time.

 

If you’re getting bogged down with endless tasks or find yourself feeling burnt out before the day even starts, it could be a sign that something is wrong with your current routine. There may be little you can to do make that to-do list go away, but the more efficiently you use every hour you have by developing systems for your business, the more successful you’ll be at managing those hectic days.

 

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If this article has struck a chord with you, please go right ahead and message me. I would love to hear more about what you do, and how I might be able to help you transform your business into the Freedom Machine you have wanted all along. Let’s establish a proven system in your business to create team certainty and sustainable expansion which open pathways to the lifestyle choices you’ve worked so hard for. No matter where you are, I am only a message away. And to make stalking me really easy, here is my website 😀 https://www.kerryannenelson.com/