How to Streamline Time-Consuming Tasks in a Growing SMB

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Every growing business has a set of must-do tasks required to keep the daily operations churning. At the same time, it must also be thinking about the future and finding time to innovate. While the status quo can feel comfortable, it’s not an effective growth model.

To drive growth in your SMB, it is imperative to find a way to balance these two priorities in an already jam-packed day. If there was a secret sauce, we’d all be lining the streets around the storefront’s door. Unfortunately, no, we can’t consume a sauce or wave a wand to magically make more hours in the day, but we can reset and find new ways to make the most of the hours we do have by streamlining time-consuming tasks.

In this article, we’ll discuss several strategies your growing small- to medium-sized business can implement to maximize your operations. Specifically, we’ll look at things like:

  • How to be more efficient in managing your business
  • Ways to optimize your workflow to get hours back every week
  • Tips for avoiding draining business tasks
  • How to better streamline your business…right now

If you have questions about optimizing business processes and streamlining tasks like HR, get in touch with our team at The OIS Group. We offer SMBs a full business review free of charge.

Consider Outsourcing Your HR to Help Efficiently Manage Your Business

 Change of any kind is hard. Even changes that will save you time and money can be met with some resistance, yet changes are necessary if you want to grow your business.

 For many organizations, one area of change that can yield significant returns is leveraging an outsourced HR provider or professional employer organization (PEO) to manage their people functions.

Managing HR tasks in-house can be time-consuming and resource intensive. Relinquishing some day-to-day control and management in this area can help you scale your business operations most efficiently as it keeps your management team from getting bogged down in (necessary) administrative tasks. Not only can you be confident your HR tasks are being handled professionally, but you also have more time to focus on what you do best – growing your SMB. Here are some questions to consider when deciding if a business task or role can be outsourced.

  • Are you an expert at the task? If the role or task in question is not one of your or a team member’s core competencies, it’s likely a good candidate for outsourcing.

  • What are the costs and benefits of outsourcing? Estimate the total cost of performing the task or role in-house, considering salaries, benefits, overhead, equipment and other expenses. Then, compare this cost to the potential cost of outsourcing.

  • What value does outsourcing add in driving your company’s growth? Similarly, you want to try to quantify the impact outsourcing will have on your SMB’s success. How will it enable you to remain agile and scale your business?

  • Are there any regulatory or compliance requirements inherent to the task or role? Consider whether the task involves complex regulatory or compliance requirements. Outsourcing providers often specialize in handling these complexities, which can therefore reduce your risk.

Outsourcing parts of your business can be an effective way to gain efficiencies in your SMB while also reducing costs. Many employers find it to be a win-win. In addition, there are other steps you can take to save time on routine business tasks, including optimizing your business processes.

Optimize Your Workflow to Get Hours Back Every Week

Business process optimization (BPO) is a practice SMBs undertake to improve efficiency in any given area. Through process optimization, businesses big and small can eliminate redundancies, streamline workflows, reduce errors and gain a competitive advantage by cutting the fat from their processes. A good place to start is with your workflows.

But First, What Is a Workflow, Really?

A workflow is a series of steps that follow the same sequence each and every time it’s performed. When done correctly, the workflow takes a task from point A to point B consistently and predictably every time.

For example, you likely have a workflow for onboarding new employees. From extending an offer to getting them up and running at their desk, a sequence of events must take place, and that sequence of events should look the same no matter who does it.

The challenge with this is that many workflows rely on manual processes. Manual processes take time and they’re prone to errors. To speed up your workflows and thus gain more time back in your week, you should consider automation to optimize your processes.

When you’re ready to optimize your workflow or implement business process optimization, you may wonder where to start. Here are some key areas to focus on as you seek to optimize your business processes:

  • Identify key areas needing BPO – Before taking any action, you need to identify which areas of your business you’re going to optimize first. Dig into the data to see which processes will benefit most from improvement. The more specific you can be, the better. This goes for both naming the issue as well as setting goals for optimization.

  • Document current processes – If your current workflow isn’t written down, do it now. Even though you’ll be making improvements, seeing the current process on paper will help you spot inefficiencies and redundancies.

  • Prioritize improvements – Once you’ve identified areas that can be improved, assess their feasibility in relation to cost and impact. Prioritize the biggest-impact initiatives as you redesign your workflow.

  • Implement process improvements – Next, put it in action. Test your redesigned process with a smaller group before rolling out a larger implementation program. Once any kinks are worked out, expand its implementation.

  • Monitor progress – Review your goals and monitor your progress by quantifying your efforts. If certain tactics aren’t working, refine and try again. Optimization often takes several iterations. Don’t get discouraged if early attempts aren’t hitting the mark.

In terms of optimization, there’s no denying that improving one singular process is certainly beneficial, but businesses stand the most to gain when they seek to optimize processes across their entire organization. Every little improvement makes a difference. SMBs should continually review their processes to ensure ongoing optimization. BPO is not a one-and-done exercise.

5 Things You Can Do Today to Better Streamline Your Business

 We live in an age of efficiency, and nowhere is that felt more strongly than in your business operations. If you feel like your business is reaching a plateau, it’s time to reset.

Now is the perfect time to reevaluate your operations and implement process changes that will lead to improved business performance. Here are a few ways you can hit the ground running. To learn even more tips, check out this post.

  1. Optimize your workflowsBusiness process optimization is key to streamlining business operations and improving efficiency. Begin by analyzing your existing workflows and identifying bottlenecks or inefficiencies. Then remove unnecessary steps, automate repetitive tasks and implement efficient tools or software.
  2. Outsource non-core functions – Consider outsourcing costly and resource-intensive processes like HR and payroll. Outsourcing can reduce costs and free up your team’s time to focus on strategic tasks.
  3. Automate – Technology is the great time saver, yet most organizations are not utilizing nearly enough of its capabilities. Automate whenever and wherever possible starting with the low-hanging fruit.
  4. Implement (or review) your standard operating procedures (SOPs) – Efficient businesses have standardized procedures in place for common tasks and processes. Your SOPs should be well-documented and clearly dictate how to perform specific activities. This ensures consistency across your operations, reduces errors and gets new employees up to speed quickly.
  5. Establish Easily Measurable KPIs – Know what your goals are and how you will measure success. Be sure to communicate them and monitor your KPIs regularly so you can track performance and make data-driven decisions.

By starting with these strategies, you can focus your efforts and improve your outcomes. Moreover, by pairing these tips with the following productivity boosters, you can take steps to avoid draining business tasks altogether.

 Lastly, Boost Your Overall Productivity with These Tips

 The drain we feel from some business tasks can be profound. When a simple task that should take only 5 minutes ends up costing us an hour, not only do we feel upset about our lost productivity, but we are also zapped of energy to do more. It’s a double whammy – we’re both frustrated and tired.

What’s more, in many cases we know which tasks are draining us, but we don’t always know the solution, so we’re stuck facing them again and again. Below we share some strategies for eliminating the draining business tasks in your life and tips to prevent future ones from emerging.

  • Audit your hours – First, it can be helpful to do a time audit. Track your team’s hours for a week. How are employees spending most of their time? Hopefully it’s on strategic tasks, but chances are good that a lot of time (likely more than you care to admit) is being spent on draining business tasks. The goal of this exercise is not to micromanage everyone’s time. Rather, it’s to gain data and insight into ways to improve efficiency and productivity across the board.

  • Automate repetitive tasks – Once you know where time is being lost, you can take steps to streamline your business. Automating repetitive manual processes is a good place to start.

  • Outsource where appropriate – The best use of everyone’s time is when we all focus on tasks in our wheelhouse. It’s no surprise that if asked to do a task you’re not an expert at, it will take longer than for someone who knows what they’re doing to do it. The work may also be prone to errors. This is why SMBs looking to improve efficiency choose to outsource. When you outsource services like HR, you and your team are able to refocus your energy and resources on strategic initiatives that will grow your bottom line.

  • Prioritize tasks – Those who wander may not be lost, but without a plan, they’re wasting a lot of time hemming and hawing over their next steps. If you don’t face each day with clear priorities, you’re expending a lot of unnecessary energy. Focus on high-priority, high-impact tasks first and outsource, delay, or eliminate low-priority ones.

  • Implement time-management techniques – One of the reasons business tasks become draining is because they take way longer than they need to. To nip brain drain in the bud, consider exploring time management techniques like the Pomodoro Technique, time blocking or the two-minute rule to stay focused and avoid procrastination.

Lastly, it’s always important to prioritize balance. Establish clear boundaries for your work hours and personal time and avoid the temptation to work on draining tasks during your downtime. By taking breaks and having personal time, you can recharge and refocus on your next day’s priorities.

 

For help maximizing your SMB’s resources, contact us at The OIS Group. We’re here to ensure you’re making the most of every minute so you can drive even greater business success.

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