Small business owners often have to play the role of an accountant, manager, marketer, administrator etc to run the business successfully, often due to financial constraints. Hiring new employees to assist in these tasks may not be always practical. For small businesses functioning on a small budget, back office outsourcing is a more affordable solution. It also helps to save time, minimize administrative burdens, and propel the growth of the business.
In a highly competitive business world, small businesses also have to ensure a streamlined workflow for proper and efficient functioning. The better a manager defines the regular processes of a business, the more efficient the team becomes. Streamlining all business processes from top to bottom helps to improve workflow, bring in efficiency and productivity, and allows the business to stay ahead of competitors. Following are some of the methods to streamline workflow.
- Use of advanced technology: Technology is advancing rapidly and it has the potential to make or break a business. Here are some ways how technology can improve the growth of a business.
- Cloud storage: As your business grows, the inflow of data increases and now online cloud storage of data is becoming increasingly popular. Cloud storage makes it easier for users to access data from anywhere in the world, store huge volumes of data, collaborate on a single document in real time and perform back-ups automatically.
- Analytics tools: There are many popular business analytical tools like SWOT Analysis, PEST Analysis etc to measure the strengths and weaknesses of the business. These tools help businesses understand how much they have achieved and also identify the best growth opportunities. It also helps to spot risks and strengthen points that are weak.
- Use of social media: Social media helps businesses to reach out to a wider audience more quickly. It allows observing buying behaviour of consumers, finding potential customers and thereby speeding up the growth of the business.
- Outsourcing: Outsourcing is becoming very popular among businesses now. It helps small businesses reduce operational cost and allows more focus on core activities. Outsourcing data entry for instance, ensures accurate conversion of data into digital format. Extracting and streamlining data for the decision-making process becomes easy with outsourcing. Other processes small businesses can outsource include HR, payroll, customer services, marketing, accounting and other back office functions.
- Reduce the number of meetings: Meetings can take up a huge amount of time as well as money. Conduct meetings only if they are necessary; otherwise meetings can be replaced with conference calls or group e-mails. Before conducting a meeting, check whether it is worth the time or effort. Minimizing meetings helps to save money as well as time which can be spent wisely for productive purposes. If a meeting has to be conducted, make sure to keep it brief and invite only the participants who are necessary to make a decision.
- Evaluate results: Analyzing the results is important for businesses to grow. Identify whether your customers are satisfied, or whether they are complaining about poor customer care or, whether your warehouse team is facing any inventory challenges, whether employees are complaining about slower service delivery and so on. Rectifying mistakes and learning from past mistakes will surely help a business to grow and succeed.
- Prioritize: Once you have analyzed your results, rank your business processes on the basis of priority. Businesses have various departments such as warehouse, customer service, marketing etc. Prioritize your efforts on potential areas that can improve business prospects and ensure streamlined workflow.
Efficiency in business functioning is directly proportional to how organized and streamlined the workflow is. The right distribution of work is vital to keep your in-house staff happy and motivated, and timely completion of business processes is indispensable to ensure efficiency and productivity. Outsourcing data entry and bulk document scanning among other business processes can reduce in-house workload and free up valuable time. Outsourcing, along with the other tips mentioned above should help to streamline your small business workflow and speed up productivity and growth.