When we hear about streamlining business processes, we often think it means making any process related to the business more efficient. Although this notion is not wrong per se, it doesn’t actually describe what ‘streamlining a process’ actually means. What are we doing when we try to streamline the different workflows of our company? Essentially, we are removing any unnecessary steps. We’re simplifying all the activities.
What are the potential benefits of streamlining processes in your business?
Although the benefits can vary greatly depending on the type of strategy adopted, working towards efficient workflows will always be a good thing. However, some of the potential changes could include:
- Improved internal communication and coordination
- Increased productivity across the business
- Easier and simplified new employee training
- Better understanding of customer wants and needs
- Increased cost efficiency
What should SMEs have in mind when trying to streamline their processes?
- Determine which processes you want to simplify and write them down.
You might already know which areas of the business you need to change, whether because they’re costing you too much money or because you can tell how much energy it takes from your team. Try to decide which activities to want to simplify, and then write them and each step involved down. Make sure you ask for input from whichever member of the team usually deals with said process, and they’ll have a much better understanding of what is done day-to-day.
Once you have all this written down, it will be much easier to decide which steps you can simplify and how.
- Outsource if you need to.
No enterprise needs to be an expert in absolutely every area of business. Do you have a solicitor’s firm but have no idea of accounting matters? Do you own a beauty salon and you absolutely hate cleaning? You don’t have to be in charge of absolutely every area of your business.
In fact, a good way to simplify tasks is to leave them to the experts, those who can do something quickly and will even thank you for the new business. Even when it comes to the action of streamlining business activities, there are many consultants specialised in this area who could offer unvaluable help with the task at hand. Never be scared to ask for external help!
- Automate as much as you can.
One of the good things of the 21st century is that we have all the necessary technology to make life as easy as possible. Automating tasks is a very effective way to reduce costs, as well as making sure everything runs smoothly – there’s no such thing as human error in the machine world!
There are different things you could automate – from email marketing to accounting, even payments. One good option would probably be to consider an Open Banking platform for payments, as this will also allow you to efficiently use data from your consumer base to better understand your customers’ needs and wants. Open banking will also make other processes much easier; in case you need to apply for a loan, for example, an Open Banking platform will allow you to have all your books in one place, making it easy to pass these on to the loaning entity.