By Hanan Awaad
Small businesses, solopreneurs and freelancers utilize man processes to provide their customers with products and services. You might call these processes steps or tasks. Usually, the processes you use are repetitive and produce the same outcome every time (or at least this you aim for). However, when your business processes are inefficient, problems start to appear. When your customers are unhappy with your products or services, when the number of complaints is increasing, when you miss deadlines, or when your bottom-line indicate losses, then you need to rethink and find ways to simplify and tighten up your business processes. A small change of the workflow or a simple modification of a process can result in improved results.
Here are the symptoms that you need to simplify and streamline your business process.
INCREASING NEGATIVITY IN THE WORK ENVIRONMENT
Do you feel stressed out? Cannot you manage your inbox? Does your team keep missing deadlines and exchanging blame and accusation? Do you feel as if a dense cloud of negativity is lingering in your office? Do you start your To-Do list with tasks from the day before? Do find many errors in the work? Do you feel that you rework tasks and duplicate efforts? Are your customers dissatisfied?
If you answered yes to any of the questions mentioned above, then inefficient processes might be the direct cause. Once you start redesigning your business processes, your workflow will run smoothly, and neither you nor your team members will feel overwhelmed and burnt-out.
Inefficient business processes create bottlenecks in the workflow causing delays and in worst-case-scenario failing to deliver. Also, outdated routines erode your or your team efficiency.
YOUR PRECIOUS RESOURCES ARE WASTED
The usage of time, effort, money and other physical and non-physical resources is indicative of how efficient your business processes are. When you invest all needed resources, and you do not get what you planned for, it is as if you throw your valuable resources in the drainage. Business consultants refer to this state of the businesses as a “leaking boat” and the first step to stop the leakage is by improving your processes.
YOUR INTERNAL OR EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENTS ARE CHANGING
Some business consultants declared the death of the “competitive advantage” as no matter your advantage is, your competitors will work hard to provide what you provide and even exceed the customers’ expectations.
Observe the trends in your niche market, listen to your customer’s and team feedback, and gauge the internal culture. You may notice slight changes in the time being, so, be proactive and review the new technology, invest in your skills, review your procedures and workflow and initiate some simplification.
While you might be tempted to do some temporary or minor changes according to the concept of “if it is not broken, do not fix it”. However, the market shifts we notice and the severe competition and the changing economies to knowledge-based economies necessitate some sort of a thorough analysis.
THE TIME IS NOW:
When there are changes, when negativity increases and when the boat is leaking, it’s time to reassess your business processes. Find best practices in your field and implement them in your business. Uncover the deviation between what is planned and what is actualized, and make yourself and your team accountable. Listen to your stakeholders, diversity in opinions may enrich your decision-making process if accounted for the right way.