Tackle these all-too-common workplace inefficiencies before they take a bite out of your business performance.
It’s the small business owner’s version of a nightmare: What seems like endless streams of client emails mixing with scheduling back-and-forths with staff members, interspersed with pre-planning queries from your accountant for the coming tax season…
In the meantime, your eCommerce platform has decided that it’s no longer on speaking terms with your old accounting system. And no amount of technological couples’ counseling is going to get that relationship back online before your quarterly reports are due to your investors.
Sometimes, it can feel like this is more than you signed up for. Yes, you knew you’d experience business growing pains at some point in your rise to the top. But you don’t have the time or interest in taking even a day, let alone a week (or more likely, several) to straighten out your company’s complicated processes and workflows.
You’re a master of your own destiny but admittedly, you are stuck in the weeds more often than you’d like. And while you may not realize it—because you’ve got your eye on the prize—your company’s inefficient processes and hacked workarounds are not only eating into your focus but could be affecting your business growth and scalability.
Take a moment to consider these three ways that inefficient processes may be hurting your business potential.
Is “Document Disconnect” Limiting Your Business Growth?
When your systems don’t talk to each other, you’re bound to experience significant negative impacts on your organization. These could include delayed business-critical activities like sales contracting and quoting, procurement, talent acquisition and even onboarding. And these delays to “business as usual” can negatively affect revenues, employee productivity and customer experience.
Do you create workarounds just to get your job done each day? Say, for instance, you’ve started to track your profits and losses in an Excel workbook instead of the platform you bought into for that specific purpose but found it too stand-alone from your other tech systems.
But rest assured: You’re not alone! According to this IDC study, 81% of business leaders from organizations of all sizes in all industries around the world suffer from a “document disconnect,” where tools that were meant to work together don’t integrate with each other.
Meanwhile, 43% of workers surveyed said they often have to copy/paste or rekey in information — a time-consuming tactic that can lead to data inaccuracies and subsequent reporting, auditing and compliance risks, not to mention the potential security issue if the information includes sensitive customer data points.
Are Collection Problems Keeping You up at Night?
As you likely know by now: If you don’t get paid in a timely fashion, your cash flow could be compromised. And compromised cash flow can lead to other, potentially make-or-break issues. This includes the inability to pay your staff and/or suppliers, to get products or services to your clients, or worse, to keep your investors happy.
Many factors cause collection problems, such as:
- Inconsistent billing policies (e.g., waiting until a project is complete to invoice)
- Lack of processes in place to automatically invoice at certain project milestones
- Not following up regularly on past-due invoices
- Poor internal communication (e.g., the accounting person doesn’t realize that the sales team has closed a project, and so, doesn’t know it’s time to issue an invoice)
Or maybe it relates to the simple fact that larger corporations tend to take the longest to pay SMBs.
Regardless of the issue, without fluid cash in the bank, your burgeoning business won’t be able to take on new projects or fund new activities. This can affect your ability to grow your business over the longer term. It’s also a reason why one in every four businesses don’t make it past the first year and more than half don’t survive past the fifth.
Are You Stuck in “I Can Do It All” Mode?
If you’re having trouble properly tracking how long one task has taken you because you’re working on multiple things at once, then you’re probably working in “I can do it all” mode. The problem: If you’re pulled into administrative-oriented tasks, you’re pulled away from the big picture goal of business growth.
Further, numerous studies suggest that, in fact, multitasking decreases productivity. Why? Multitasking is less efficient because it takes extra time to shift mental gears every time a person switches between tasks.
This manifests in everyday workplace activities, such as when someone switches from filling out financial spreadsheets to writing emails. Even switches lasting only one-tenth of a second can reduce daily productivity by 40%.
Better Business Processes = Improved Efficiency = Higher Potential for Revenue Growth
In the words of legendary management consultant Peter Drucker:
“Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.”
—Peter Drucker (2013). Managing for the Future, p.156, Routledge
We know that few things are more frustrating than having to take time out of your days to navigate complicated, clunky or otherwise non-productive processes that only serve to sink you further into the weeds of administrative tasks that don’t contribute to growing your business.
Yet, if you find that your organization is limited by inefficient systems that silo your staff or your invoices aren’t getting paid on schedule—or even if you’re feeling like the weight of your growing business rests squarely on your shoulders alone—it may be time to consider integrating more streamlined processes into the workflow mix.
With more efficient processes and workflows in place, you’ll set yourself and your organization up for better, faster and more sustained growth over the long haul.
Take the next step to productivity nirvana: Learn more about the process tweaks that can increase your work-day efficiency here.
about the author
After working for 12+ years on the frontlines of media and marketing, Ruth Zuchter launched her freelance writing and editing practice in 2013. As a multi-talented writer, editor and digital strategist, Ruth specializes in developing high-converting B2B content—from blog posts to research-based eBooks and more—that’s easily syndicated across traditional and digital channels. Connect with Ruth on her website or on Twitter.