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Congratulations on starting a new business. But keep at the back of your mind that as your business gains traction, tasks will begin to increase, and 8 hours may no longer be enough to produce your products or offer your services. On top of that, you need to be prudent with your resources; every time you identify a gap doesn’t mean you should hire people.
The only way to get things done efficiently is to maximize your productivity. How do you do that? The simplest way is to review and optimize your workflow and business processes. In this article, we have put together 7 workflow optimization tips to help you improve performance and productivity. If you can implement these tips, you would be one step away from scaling your startup and reducing costs. You will also maximize the use of your time.
But before we dive deeper, let’s quickly see why every startup needs to optimize its workflow for improved productivity.
Why Every Startup Should Optimize Their Workflow
Before we dive into the benefits of optimizing workflow, what does workflow optimization mean? The easiest way to understand this business parlance is to break it down to a layman’s understanding. Workflow optimization means making necessary changes in your business processes, enhance your work efficiency, or reducing task completion time.
Workflow optimization is a challenge, especially in our ever-busy business environment. So many things add up to distract startup owners – phone calls, emails, invoices, and 2-minute interruptions. All these distractions put together can take a toll on your business efficiency and productivity.
A startup should have a team that focuses on managing people, making important decisions, and managing processes. Every other thing aside from these three should be automated. When you automated processes, you indirectly solve a problem even before it arises.
Now you know what workflow optimization is, let’s proceed with the tips that will help you to optimize your startup workflow.
#1. Identify Challenges
Workflow optimization starts with identifying your greatest challenges. Identifying challenges should involve both operational and management perspectives. Challenges that you are not aware of will be very difficult for you to resolve. The challenges that your startup is likely to face will largely depend on your niche industry or market. It will also depend on your current weaknesses and strengths. According to research done by IDC, some common challenges facing startup include:
- Incompatible Systems: So many startups have business processes in place, but these systems do not communicate internally, not to talk of communicating with external partners. This is a problem that some startups are not even aware of. If you can resolve this problem, you are well on your way to gain traction.
- Long Invoice Processes: Truth be told, invoicing is a time-consuming and laborious process. If your startup is small, you might not feel the heat at the moment, but you will find it difficult to invoice your clients as you scale out manually. You can keep everything moving just by automating the invoicing process. Not only that your invoicing process will be faster with automation, but you’ll be safe against any accounts payable fraud attempts.
- Poor Collaboration: Nothing grows a startup better than effective collaboration. But the reality is that most startups find it difficult to collaborate. And this is further exacerbated by remote work. As your startup grows, you will struggle to integrate collaboration if you don’t get it right at this point.
If you currently face any of these challenges, optimizing your workflow will be difficult. You should look for a way to resolve your challenges so that you can significantly optimize your workflow.
#2. Set Goals
After identifying challenges, the next thing to do to optimize your workflow is to overcome them. This starts with mapping out achievable goals or objectives. Your objectives should be SMART; that is, they should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. This process will definitely not happen overnight. In some cases, it may take weeks or days, depending on your goals. The bottom line is for you to set SMART goals that will drive your startup workflow.
#3. Try Workflow Software
The essence of using workflow optimization software cannot be overemphasized for startups. You can take laudable steps to optimize your workflow, but using workflow optimization software will achieve better than human actions. Using Connectwise Payments will give you the enabling environment to improve your efficiency and productivity. It also gives you the opportunity to deploy and monitor your workforce from a dashboard.
Startups like yours love workflow optimization software because it helps them to reduce cost and bring down the time their staff members put in to do recurring tasks. It enhances productivity, improves accountability, increases visibility, as well as empowers your employees to keep up with the trends in your industry.
#4. Use Automated Solutions
Every startup should think about automated solutions in addition to using workflow optimization software. Automated solutions will help you quickly identify those challenges we highlighted earlier. The truth is there is an automated solution for each challenge that businesses face.
For example, invoicing tools can help you streamline and automate workflows so that you concentrate on other important aspects of your business instead of spending countless hours drafting invoices for your clients. Another example is project management software. These tools can help you organize files and aid in smooth communication without delays. The point here is that there is a solution for every problem that a business faces.
#5. Think Twice Before Choosing a Tool
Do not just choose a tool that marketers present to you. Remember, your choice of tool can either make or break your startup. Review every tool you have in mind to purchase. You can read up the features of a tool using Google and some independent blogs. Also important is the price of the tool. Check the price and compare it with your budget. If everything goes well, incorporating the right tool for your business will help improve your workflow.
#6. Standardize Processes
Process standardization is at the heart of workflow optimization. You need to bring all your workflow to industry standards. You can standardize processes like employee scheduling, accounting, invoicing, and supply chain logistics. Keep at the back of your mind that too much standardization can stifle creativity.
#7. Document Everything
Workflow optimization cannot be complete without documentation. Documenting all your workflows will help your employees to be abreast with your operations. Documenting repetitive tasks make it easier for new employees to get along with their jobs. If you can get documentation right, then you would be a step closer to running a successful startup.
Give Your Startup the Boost It Needs
Workflow optimization is an important aspect of the life of a startup. It starts with you being the leader of the company and then shifts to every aspect of the business. If you don’t have measures on the ground that maximizes resources and curb waste, your business is likely headed for the rocks. So, ensure you implement the tips we have shared in this post and expect improved productivity from your employees.