It’s guest post week 🙂 Below you’ll hear from Victoria Vessella of Repsly, Inc.:
Growth is always a good thing for an organization. However, increased success usually comes with increased complexities. It’s not uncommon for companies to add new employees, technologies, and offerings to their repertoire as they scale. Simplifying business processes as much as possible is critical for smaller companies that do not have the same manpower as large corporations to manage a myriad of disjointed operations. Honing in on practices that add value and eradicating those that do not allows small businesses to keep their heads above water as they expand and sets the stage for long-term success. In the words of Isaac Newton, “Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.”
Shed the Small Stuff
It’s likely that some of your business processes are cluttered with superfluous activities and multiple steps. A good starting point for achieving business simplicity is to eliminate any onerous tasks that contribute to a burdensome workload. Harvard Business Review contributors Ron Ashkenas and Lisa Bodell explain that by removing petty tasks from your everyday operations, you create a greater capacity to focus on more substantial projects, as well as additional simplification opportunities.
For example, consider how many individuals are involved in your decision-making processes. Are there some people who can be left out of certain conversations? Do you really need “x” number of people to sign off on every proposal? Another area to review is team size. Having unnecessarily large teams causes lags in productivity as several people are trying to coordinate schedules, goals, resource usage, etc. Sometimes too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the soup; it might make more sense to repurpose select employees’ roles to other assignments where they can make a stronger impact.
The Customer Is King
Perhaps the most important factor to keep in mind when simplifying your business is its ability to attract and retain customers. It’s no secret that a solid customer base is company’s most valuable asset. Nevertheless, when businesses grow, they often become caught up in the heat of the moment and accidentally disregard that which matters most – the clientele.
Remember to consistently seek feedback from your customers on how your products and services can be improved. Make returns, exchanges, and customer service requests as painless as possible. In his article for Fast Company, author Howard Belk suggests reviewing all touchpoints involved in the customer experience to ensure that it is streamlined and straightforward. For companies in the B2B space, using a simple CRM is an effective way to keep track of key client data so as to better serve customers and meet their unique needs.
Meetings are a common business process that is filled with inefficiencies. It can be tempting for company leaders to hold regular status and planning meetings in an effort to “stay organized” when they are scaling. However, meetings designed to enhance productivity are, in reality, counterproductive. A recent poll conducted by Harris Interactive Inc. found that 60% of respondents spend more time preparing for a meeting than they do attending it. Not to mention, scheduling them can be a nightmare.
Think twice next time you want to bring your team together to check-in. First, evaluate whether or not you need to hold a meeting in the first place. If it’s decided that group discussion truly is necessary, there are a plethora of other options available which are excellent alternatives to traditional meetings. Social collaboration tools enable multiple individuals or parties to virtually interact and share information in order to achieve common goals. Instant messaging apps allow team members to converse and are more agile than email. They are typically associated with faster response times as well. If face-to-face interaction is preferred, teleconferencing is a useful choice. Check out this LifeHack article for examples of specific programs that your small business can adopt to eliminate senseless meetings.
Complexity is a productivity killer that is detrimental to employee morale. Keep this in mind as your small business begins to scale. Reducing the number of low-value tasks that employees have to perform will generate more time for relevant activities. Putting the customer first at all times helps to make sure that goals are set with purpose. Finally, being strategic about meetings is imperative for efficient business process management. Remember, simplicity in business doesn’t have to be complicated.
Victoria Vessella is a content marketing journalist at Repsly, Inc. With experience working in public relations, she is dedicated to creating high-quality content that is relevant and helpful to readers.