Small Business Process Improvement: 5 Areas to Streamline
Small business process improvement is essential to keep your business operating efficiently. You should assess, analyze and improve business operations on a regular basis.
Do you have an SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) Manual for your business?
If not, you need one.
Some people may call it a Master Business Manual, but whatever the name used, it’s important that you have one. Once you have created your SOP, keep in mind that things change over time, both internally and externally, and the processes will need to be assessed regularly.
Even a small improvement to a process can result in much better efficiency. It’s worth the time to create, test, and maintain your standard operating procedures.
Small Business Process Improvement Areas to Keep Current
1. Email Management
No one likes to start the day with an inbox full of emails. It can make you feel behind in your day before it gets started! That’s why you need processes in place!
This is a common area that can get out of control quickly if it is not maintained carefully. If you and your team are swamped with emails that keep piling up, something needs to change.
Do you have a process in place for managing email?
If it’s out of control, look at the process and see where you can tighten it up.
2. Workflow Efficiency
Sometimes a business process needs to be improved in order to make it clearer. If someone in your organization isn't performing their job well because they don't understand, you might need to improve the process.
It may simply be that the employee doesn't understand the overall goal or the context into which the task fits. For example, your blog team might be blogging without direction because they don't understand the finish line of the project.
Ask your team for input when developing or updating business processes. After all, they are the ones performing the tasks. Better yet, encourage them to write the process.
Communication is a vital part of your business. It includes the handling of email, support desk correspondence, handling customer data within the business, and client interaction protocols. Additionally, it includes how the team communicates with each other.
This is an area of your business that definitely needs to be reviewed regularly. If there’s confusion in your business, it will likely be in your communications process.
4. Business Apps, Resources and Subscriptions
Are you investing in resources that you don’t use anymore? You’d be surprised how many monthly subscriptions you pay for and don’t use.
The resource that's getting wasted could be money, time, labor or effort. For example, you might have a team investing a great deal of time blogging, but you're not seeing the traffic you expect. You need to do something to bring better results or find a shortcut to save your team time, like automation or repurposing.
5. Team Production
Finally, a warning sign that operations in your business need to be reviewed is when everybody is stressed. You often don't see the inefficiency in the workflow, but you can see the result when your team is getting burned out.
You can discover this problem if you're touching base regularly with your team to check up on them and see how they're doing. If they are stressed, you need to look at the work they're doing and see what's causing the stress. This is where you need to streamline.
Business Process Workflow
So, if you don’t have your processes documented in detail, you need to create your SOP immediately. If you have an SOP, regularly review it to make sure everything is current and accurate.
Streamlining your business processes isn't hard. Everything isn't done at once. Changes are implemented gradually by taking one task at a time, tightening up the one task, implementing, and monitoring. Once you've made one improvement, you move on to the next.
In conclusion, small business process improvement documentation is an essential part of having an efficient, profitable business. You may not realize the importance of an SOP until you need it.
There are many benefits of streamlining business processes besides the five we’ve covered here. In our next article, we will cover more areas with details for creating workflow efficiency.
Do you have your business processes documented? If so, how often do you review them? Let us know in the comments below.
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David Perdew is the CEO and founder of NAMS - the Novice to Advanced Marketing System. He’s a journalist, consultant, and serial entrepreneur who has built one of the most successful and fastest-growing business training systems online today called the MyNAMS Insiders Club.
The Novice to Advanced Marketing System is a step-by-step system focusing on Team, Training and Tools to help novice to advanced business people build a Simple, Scalable and Sustainable business.
He took a year off in 2003 to personally build a 2200 square foot log cabin in north Alabama where he and his wife and two dogs and a cat live on 95 acres of forest with four streams and 60-foot waterfall.
The NAMS team includes his daughter, Jen, who is an email marketing and automation specialist. Jen runs the day to day business and is one of the primary trainers in our MyNAMS Insiders Club.