Time is the one thing that business owners do not have enough of. Automation, integration and outsourcing are all great ways to save time. Business improvement expert Allen Woo outlines four steps that will help you to simplify your business processes.
Your business processes are the tasks or actions you and your team take to accomplish your business goals. These can include everyday tasks like communication, expense management, and transaction management.
You’re not the only one who uses Excel for business process management (BPM). These tasks can become a bottleneck and you should consider using tools that allow you to concentrate on other things. Although business process improvement (BPI) may seem like a burden, it doesn’t have the to be.
Woo says, “With a growing or large team, you need tools to work for everyone, anywhere.” Apps such as Slack and Google Chat aren’t just for tech companies. These apps can help you increase productivity within your company. Zoom and Microsoft Teams are both popular options for video conferencing. This is especially true now that more people work remotely.
Before you decide which communication tool to use, it is important to make a list. Customers and contractors could be included as stakeholders. Prioritize the users most likely to use your product, such as your customer service team, sales team, and project management team.
Next, ensure that the application is compatible with all existing email, project or customer relationship management systems. Verifying integrations will help you decide the best configuration for each scenario.
Automation can save time and money. Automation reduces human error. You can make your team more productive and reduce the number of repetitive tasks. Start by doing a process analysis to identify inefficient processes. Take a look at the workflows of different teams and create a flowchart to help you make decisions.
When you implement a new system, you don’t need to reinvent the process. Software should be flexible enough that it can work with you. These benefits go beyond efficiency. Automation can help you make continuous improvements to your business. Your team will be less distracted by details and can focus on bigger projects that directly impact customer satisfaction or your bottom line.
Late invoices, missed invoices, or invoices that you intended to send but forgot to, can all hinder healthy cash flow. Woo explains that the solution is to improve the process.
Perhaps your team member still prepares and sends out batches of invoices each week. Automating everything will allow you to save time and get paid quicker.
Woo explained how to create invoices with a custom-branded logo that offer a “pay now” option. Woo also mentioned that automated reminders can be set up to assist customers in staying on track. He also suggested that fees could be added to encourage timely payments. It is possible to see if customers have seen their bills. If they haven’t seen their bill, verify that the email address you have is correct.
Accounts payable is the other side of cash flow. Woo stated that it is easy to forget to pay bills until you realize you have to collect them.
But managing utilities, rent, and vendor invoices, among others, can be overwhelming if you’re trying to do it all by hand. Managing payments is another business process that is easier to automate.
Integration is automation’s best friend. Life is so much easier when you fully integrate your systems. Like many businesses, you probably use multiple applications or software to manage your operations. Payroll is a great example of a process that can take longer and be less accurate when your systems don’t work together.
You could automate time tracking for hourly employees by using an application that tracks employee hours. Payroll software could be used to handle direct deposits and taxes. The integration of the two processes will eliminate the need to manually enter employee hours.
Outsourcing is the act of transferring a business process from one company to another. You could, for example, hire another company to manage accounting and human resource management. Many business owners are reluctant to hire another company for accounting and human resources.
Woo suggests that outsourcing experts be considered if you are stuck managing existing processes. It’s a good investment because it will allow you to make better use of your time.
Make sure your team buys into outsourcing before you do. Be clear about the benefits and what your team can gain from outsourcing. To protect your data, it is important to perform a risk assessment. This is especially true if you are going to share customer or personal information.