New and established businesses alike go through trial and error to find new ways to be more efficient. In your day-to-day, you probably follow the same steps over and over again to do things like creating a report, onboarding new clients, or manufacturing a new product. You’ve seen how these processes work and maybe they’re flawless – or maybe you notice some dysfunction. When certain processes are failing and inefficient, it results in missed deadlines, unhappy customers, and wasted time and money. Through creating streamlined processes and refining as you go, your small business can manage operational workflows more efficiently.

How to improve your processes

1. Map out each of your processes
As you go throughout your day, notice all of the processes you use for everything you do. Make a list of all these processes and decide which ones could use some improvement. The best, tried and tested way of mapping out your process is by grabbing a pen and paper. Flesh out each piece of the process, making sure to explain each phase in detail and making note of substeps and people needed for these steps.

2. Investigate each process
Take a look at each of your processes. In this step, you’re going to identify flaws and inefficiencies. Ask yourself: are any steps too time-consuming? Are costs going up or quality going down at a certain step? Do people usually get stuck or confused at this step? How can you fix these steps? Is there something you can add or substitute?

3. Rework your process
Streamlining your business operations starts here. Take the inefficiencies you noticed in the last step. Now that you know what’s causing problems, you can begin to come up with solutions. Common solutions to problems include:

  • Removing unnecessary steps – if there are steps that aren’t helping the cause, find a way to cut them out.
  • Adopting new methodologies – changing the way you do things could be the answer to a more efficient process. Do some research to see how other people are doing things to get some new ideas.
  • Trying out a new tool – See our list of recommended tools below! Technology is your best friend when it comes to efficiency. With the right tool, things can get done faster and maybe even be automated.

4. Do a run through
Make sure your processes work and are actually more efficient by doing a run through the next time you’re completing a task. Take note of any roadblocks or hiccups you encounter so you can go back to the drawing board. Keep in mind, before you roll out these processes company-wide, they should be perfected and easy to understand. 

5. Review and refine
After you roll out your new processes, monitor how things are working. See if they’re performing as expected and are meeting your goals. Get feedback from your employees to see what they think of the new process and if anything could be improved. Chances are your process isn’t going to be perfect right off the bat. Take some time to refine and try again!

Recommended tools

1. monday.com – monday.com is great for any size team. It’s perfect for keeping track of client work and multiple projects.
2. Slack – communication is key, and Slack offers user-friendly chat features for you and your team members to have open conversation so you’re not going back and forth over email.
3. G Suite – the G Suite apps like Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides are perfect for keeping your important files organized and accessible amongst your team members.
4. Freshbooks – Freshbooks is a great tool to manage finances and have everything you need for accounting in one place with a user-friendly interface.
5. Calendly – trying to figure out schedules and meetings over email is a hassle. For easy scheduling, Calendly allows you to coordinate schedules right in the interface so you’re not going back and forth.

Need more tips on how to improve your business operations? Check out our operations resources.