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4 ways to streamline your business workflow

4 ways to streamline your business workflow

Posted 09th April, 2019 by Michael

Running a business of any kind is difficult. It’s even harder when inefficiencies exist in your day to day operations.

It’s estimated that businesses can lose as much as 20 to 30 per cent of revenue every year because of inefficiencies.

At the micro level, meanwhile, studies suggest that all workers lose at least 15 minutes in every eight hour day because the way they are doing things isn’t slick enough.

Cue: workflow processes.

These procedures are there to help you find the best way to take work from initiation to completion. They’re the methods for getting things done that are shared throughout the company.

Unfortunately, these processes can sometimes hinder more than they help. On occasion they can be too complicated, distracting staff from their ends while they obsess over the means.

They can also go out of date. The workflow processes that you used even a year ago may not be suitable for your current climate.

In this blog we’ll look at the ways you can achieve a more streamlined workflow, and introduce some useful tools to use throughout the process.

4 ways to streamline your business workflow

An overhaul of your existing workflow processes may seem daunting. Fortunately, by streamlining a few key areas you can massively improve their effectiveness. You’ll need to start by examining the way you currently operate.

1. Assess your current processes

Assessing how well current processes are working will help you identify the areas that may need improvement. You can start by taking a workflow inventory. Be as thorough as you possibly can, and include even the most seemingly minor of tasks.

For example, you could look at the way employees complete their timesheets, or even the way you actually schedule social media posts. If it takes regular time and effort to complete, it’s a valuable process and requires your attention.

Keep an eye out for anything unclear within your current processes, and identify the factors that could harm the effectiveness of your business. From here, you can begin to rank each process you’re evaluating on its importance – processes that relate to client communication should be considered very important, for example.

You should also look to break down your processes into more manageable chunks. Remember, overcomplicating tasks makes them difficult for employees to understand. Employees that feel engaged with their work are 38 per cent more productive. This means keeping it simple is always the best approach.

2. Take feedback on board

Feedback is one of the most useful tools for improvement in your arsenal. Take the time to solicit feedback from your employees. They spend more time with your existing workflow than anyone else, so will understand it inside and out.

A good way of doing this is by holding regular process reviews. Ask employees to complete relevant procedures mindfully, identifying any areas for improvement. They’ll probably spot things you missed, and will likely have ideas on how to boost efficiency.

Plus, asking for input will also help your employees feel valued, and their happiness plays a huge part in productivity. A study on sales people found that staff who feel appreciated are up to 20 per cent more productive. In short, taking the time to listen to their opinions could lead to great things.

3. Introduce automation using tools

There are a number of tools available that can help you automate your workflow. Tools such as Jira offer advanced features to help streamline complex business processes. Capabilities vary dependent on your chosen software, but most workflow solutions will enable you to automate simple steps – and boost visibility with graphs and charts.

You could also decide to automate more manual tasks, such as posting on social media and your email marketing efforts. While these seem like relatively simple tasks, using management tools like MailChimp and Sprout Social will speed up the process. This will free up time needed to work on other areas of your business.

4. Refine and adapt frequently

When making changes to existing workflow processes, it’s important to test them regularly. You’ll need to evaluate how your new methods stand up in the live workplace environment. This will give you a better idea of how effective they actually are.

Don’t be discouraged if things don’t work out straight away. After all, as the old saying goes – practice makes perfect. Be ready to make further adjustments as needed, and take it as a learning exercise. As mentioned above, gaining feedback is a great way to see how your efforts fare.

Moving forward, try to review your processes on a regular basis. Small adaptations require a lot less effort than complete overhauls do, so it’s important to stay on track. Hold reviews regularly, and always be on the lookout for effective solutions. Remember, even the smallest change can make a difference.

Conclusion

Despite original good intentions, workflow processes can often become overly complex. Fortunately, effectively streamlining your existing methods can prevent this. A simpler workflow will mean you are able to save time, improve overall efficiency, and boost productivity.

In this post, we identified four ways you can improve your existing workflow. Let’s recap:

  1. Identify areas for improvement by assessing current processes.
  2. Ask employees for advice on how to improve.
  3. Use automation tools like Jira to simplify complex processes.
  4. Be prepared to frequently update your strategies.

Categories: Tips, Blogging, Marketing, Small Businesses

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