Streamline Your Business The Easy Way

how to streamline your business

Businesses come in all shapes and sizes. Most fail before they make it through their first year. But you’re still here. Your company might not be the biggest or the most well-funded, but it’s come a long way since those first tentative steps you took as a startup. Perhaps you’ve got big ideas about where to take your company next. Before you start planning the future, though, is it time to get rid of some of the baggage of the past? 

Old Technology 

It doesn’t matter when you started your company. Office and manufacturing technology evolves so quickly that the equipment we started with is quite simply out of date. It might even be obsolete. Many tech companies start to remove support for products, apps and operating systems just a few years after it was first launched. So what should you do with that faithful laptop you still use despite the fact the letters have rubbed off the keys? 

You might see value in keeping your old tech, but is it slowing you down? Sure, you know all the quirks and the shortcuts. But are your competitors using the latest tech to do more and do it quickly? Are you missing out on the potential and opportunities that new technology can offer you? If you want to streamline your business, you need to ditch the old tech and use new, powerful devices that can make more happen in less time. 

Old Documents 

Paperwork is a pet hate for most company bosses. They seem to spend their days signing endless bits of paper that their PA has piled up on their desk. Perhaps you don’t even have the time to read it, and instead trust your PA has done that part of the job for you? Of course, signing paper has become obsolete. Tablets with a stylus or touch screen computers mean we can sign a digital copy and instantly ping it back to the document originator. No paper necessary. So what are you going to do with those enormous filing cabinets and mountains of paper? How much paper is costing you space, time and money?

Streamlining a business means getting rid of the bulk. If you must still have paper copies, then why not invest in document scanning services so that you can access a digital version of that document at your convenience. This means all the paper can be stored securely offsite, and you can get rid of those pesky filing cabinets once and for all. You might find that your branding isn’t consistent across all your documentation and customer paperwork. Digitization helps you keep it tracked. Ditch the paper, and maybe you can start to think about a smaller premises for your business too. 

Employees That Aren’t Fulfilling Their Potential 

Over the years, employees can get bored. They have taken their role as far as they can and become rather proficient at it. Now they’re on autopilot and not really engaged with the job at all. They will either start to become sloppy and careless, or they’ll quit and go and do something less boring instead. Either way, you’re not getting much more productivity out of that individual. 

If you want to streamline your business, you are going to have to look at wasted human resources too. Redundancies are not anyone’s first choice, but you might have to shuffle some roles about. After all, technology requires training for use. It might change a person’s job completely. Or it might render a person unnecessary. Chances are your staff are already worried about this. So what’s the best course of action? 

Can you afford to keep this many people on? If the answer is yes, then perhaps you can consider new roles. You might need to consult with the trade unions. Of course, if you happen to be opening up a new role, it’s always worth encouraging your existing workforce to apply for those positions. You might have to offer more training. What’s in it for them? If the pay doesn't go up, perhaps the career prospects or opportunities for the future will be beneficial? 

Streamlining your business will undoubtedly mean asking your employees to perform ever-evolving duties. You can’t stay in the past because you admire the people that work for you. They need to be changing with the times, and their productivity needs to be efficient too. 

Methods & Processes That Aren’t Working Well Anymore 

If your employees are doing jobs that just don’t benefit any part of your business anymore, then you need to audit your processes. If you want to streamline, you need to cut out all the unnecessary tasks and duties. It’s worth inviting your workforce to detail the parts of their jobs that they feel aren’t contributing much. If they’ve been doing the same things for years, they might be quite bored. 

Offer them the chance to come up with alternatives. Most of us can see better ways of doing things when we’ve been working in the same way for a long time. Could you employees propose the changes that will help their role evolve? Can it turn into something more productive and efficient? Is this all you need to run a business?

Chances are that technology, particularly online technology, is being grossly underused. Collaborative working speeds processes up, removes the risk of key person dependency, and gives everyone the chance to be a part of the whole. Teamwork is essential here, but there are ways of developing this working relationship over time. Best of all, your workforce can be anywhere in the world. They don’t need to be in the same room. This can be a very attractive proposition for your employees. 

Of course, taking the employees out of the office might remove the need for a formal premises like that altogether. That is one of the best ways to streamline your business. Imagine the savings! None of those overheads will exist. Instead, you might work from home, or use a hot desk arrangement or virtual office. It will depend on your business, of course. 

Streamlining can be achieved with a single piece of technology that changes the way you all work. This might cut costs, cut workloads, and change every way you work in the business. How can you streamline your local business today?

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I hope you enjoyed this article about how to streamline your lean startup to improve process efficiency. 

Interested in more articles about improving efficiency?

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