Did you know that application downtime can cost an Australian business $2000 in just one hour? Because of this, it’s important that every SMB works to eliminate issues within their networks and systems. In fact, it’s critical that you streamline business in all areas if you want to succeed in a competitive market.

Read on to learn some ways that you can save time and money by optimising all aspects of your business operations.

1. Think About Your Goals and Strategise

Streamlining business requires you to think about the goals that you want to achieve.

Do you want to make a set amount of money in a specific timeframe? Are you looking to sign on more new customers or keep existing ones coming back? Do you want to sell more of a specific type of product to grow your presence in that market?

Answering these questions will let you know where you should begin optimising. For example, if your goal is to sell $5000 worth of apparel, you’ll want to spend time making sure that your online apparel pages are working well. Working on contact form streamlining isn’t necessarily what you need to do to meet this goal despite being independently important.

2. Understand Processes and Workflows

Up until this point we’ve been talking about processes. Each process is a series of tasks that move together to complete one goal. Workflows are similar, but they’re made up of multiple processes rather than multiple tasks.

To make it simple, processes are made up of tasks. When all of these tasks are complete, the process also is. It then becomes part of a workflow chain and, when other processes are completed, the workflow is too.

Understanding this distinction helps you to streamline business because you know how every task and process works within a given framework. It provides you the chance to eliminate unnecessary processes that don’t play a part in a larger workflow.

3. Integrate Processes

A workflow can be made up of 5 processes or of 50. There’s no minimum or maximum number. However, fewer processes mean a shorter workflow (and fewer tasks within each process make them shorter).

When you assess all of the things that your business does daily, you may find that some tasks or processes can be grouped together. Do this when possible to shorten the length of time that you spend on one thing. When you do this, you open up more time for other aspects of your business.

4. Look at Your Metrics

Metrics are quantifiable sets of data that let you assess your performance as a business. You can see how quickly each process is moving and where there’s any holdup. You can also assess the ROI for every piece of software that your business uses.

Before altering anything within your business, generate visuals that showcase your business’s recent ups and downs. Look for trends and figure out what’s working and what isn’t. This lets you see what tasks and processes need more optimisation than others.

You can then funnel your budget into areas of business that yield a higher ROI. You can cut down on those that don’t generate much revenue. This is a surefire way to save money that you could spend in other areas of your SMB.

5. Integrate Metrics Into Plans

Once you’ve determined your metrics, it’s time to start planning your next steps. You already know the goals for your timeframe. It’s time to create full run-downs of what your processes should look like with the tools that you plan to use.

When looking at metrics, you should:

  • Determine where you’re getting a strong ROI
  • Decide whether that strong ROI helps you to meet goals
  • Whether you need to reassess your goals based on the metrics
  • What tasks/processes are yielding no ROI (that you can eliminate)
  • What processes don’t fit into your workflows (and how you can integrate them)
  • What tasks are holding up entire processes (so you can get automation tools and similar software to speed them up)
  • Whether certain employees/departments are holding your business back

These factors will give you an idea of what you should be doing for the next quarter or year. Outline what you need to do in the coming months in an online document. Make it accessible to everyone within your company so they can streamline their day-to-day operations.

6. Assess Your Communications Processes

When people within your organisation struggle to communicate, processes are sure to move slowly. In fact, poor workplace communications cost around $37 billion yearly across the globe.

There are many reasons for this, the primary one being that people cannot collaborate on projects easily. If someone needs to complete a given task before the next person can begin theirs, it’s essential that there’s a way to inform the person behind the subsequent step of the process.

Make sure that you’re not losing time because employees cannot communicate easily with each other. Communication must be interdepartmental and transparent. Managers and higher-ups should also have access to employees during all work hours.

7. Implement Helpful Collaboration Tools

Once you’ve assessed your communications processes for weak spots, it’s time to implement tools that better allow for collaboration. This means downloading and integrating applications that make communications quick, efficient, and simple from any device. This will allow employees to contact each other at all times and collaborate.

However, it’s also important to know that employees don’t always need to manually communicate with each other. Tasks in a process can be automated easily with the appropriate applications. Some processes won’t require human intervention at all.

Others will, but automation tools can notify the person who needs to perform the next step when it’s time to begin. This means that employees don’t need to spend a lot of time each day trying to talk to one another and collaborate timeframes for tasks.

8. Automate Everything You Can

Automation isn’t just meant for communications. In fact, it’s set to grow by over 22% per year until 2027, so it’s making its way into just about every area of business. Some day-to-day activities that you can automate include:

  • Sorting and replying to emails
  • Deploy hardware around the workplace (computers, printers, copiers, etc)
  • Initiate software (applications for web management, sales, metrics tracking, etc)
  • Deploy and manage fleets (for industrial or transportation-related applications)
  • Automatically build custom task flows and workflows that work for your business
  • Perform repetitive activities (security assessments, backups, plugin deployment)
  • Integrate new software with older systems
  • Perform updates and backups to your network automatically

These are all great ways to streamline business without even hiring a single new employee. Plus, automation makes for a more consistent and predictable business strategy. This means you’ll be able to better understand the direction that your company is headed in.

9. Optimise Your Customer Service

Customer service can even be automated to optimise the use of your resources. When you use AI services, you can save time for those who would otherwise be fielding phone calls. You may even save money by not needing to hire as many customer service representatives.

Like most automated processes, customer service can be humanised to make it more appealing to customers. Make sure that you have a good balance of personality and efficiency.

10. Talk to Your Employees

While you likely have a pretty good idea of what’s happening within your business, employees have a whole other perspective. They see smaller day-to-day problems that management may not notice when looking at the bigger picture. This means that talking to those who work on daily processes can largely benefit your business.

Encourage employees to reach out to management with any ideas about how to make things better. Let them be anonymous. Look into criticisms that they have about business functions and see if you can assist them in improving the problems they find.

11. Optimise Web Design and Development

Since 76% of consumers look for a business online before physically visiting, it’s important that you have an updated website. This means getting professional web design and development experts to optimise your page.

These professionals can look into your website mechanics to make your page load more quickly and efficiently. They can ensure that images and video content are embedded appropriately into a page. They can also update your website to keep it looking fresh and engaging.

When you work with the right provider, you also will get automated learning management system extensions. Third-party platform integration and UX optimisation also make the site easy to use. This in conjunction with the basic web design functions will keep customers engaged and interested in your services.

Streamline Business Operations Today

While it can be challenging to streamline business, there are many things that you can do to make your operations more efficient. Now that you know what some of them are, it’s time to begin using the tools that make process and workflow streamlining a success.

We’re committed to helping you optimise all of your digital systems, find growth opportunities, and bolster your web presence. Set up a consultation with our experts to learn how we can work together to grow your startup into a behemoth.