5 inefficient processes affecting your business and how to fix them

02 Oct 2023 · 6
In today's fast-paced and competitive business landscape, efficiency has never been so fundamental to running a successful company. Ensuring your business processes are efficient and utilizing new technology can increase productivity, optimize resources, and enhance profitability.
However, implementing and maintaining an optimal workflow can be challenging for large organizations. Thankfully, there are some key areas where you can focus your efforts that could reap great benefits for your business. Below, we have highlighted 5 common sticking points to help you identify your inefficiencies and implement strategies to streamline them. So, let's dive in!

5 inefficient business processes and how to fix them

1. Ineffective communication

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest challenges to workplace productivity is the need for clearer and more concise communication between staff. The odd miscommunication is bound to happen. However, regular misunderstandings can lead to duplication of work, missing deadlines, and appearing unprofessional to clients and other stakeholders.
Confusion can stem from several sources, so you'll need to evaluate your current communication workflows to find the root cause. Over-reliance on emails is one common problem, as important messages can get lost in overflowing inboxes.
Having weekly team stand ups and using an instant messaging platform like Slack for quick internal updates and questions can help keep everyone in the loop.
Another cause of missed or inaccessible information is silos. Different departments can often use independent systems to store data. In principle, it may seem simpler for staff to only have access to the files they regularly use, but it can save time if other teams know where they can access this information if required.
Having one well-organized company-wide database can remove this potential pitfall. With all project and general business details instantly available to all team members, you can stop bottlenecks and smooth out various workflows.
Ensuring filing structures and protocols are easy to understand is crucial when establishing such a global approach. Employees must also know how to access the latest updates, especially internal policy documents. Implementing a centralized system like Notion can be incredibly useful, particularly for remote-first organizations, but there are multiple options on the market depending on your company's needs.

2. Slow decision-making processes

In many companies, managers and business owners can end up with too much on their plate. While some significant business decisions can't be delegated, inefficient levels of micromanagement can creep in if leadership teams are too involved in smaller day-to-day choices. Without suitable protocols, this can significantly impact important business goals if team members are left waiting for answers or sign-offs on tasks.
There will likely be mid-level staff who are experienced and knowledgeable enough to make approvals, speeding up workflow and overall project timelines. You can empower employees to feel confident in their decision-making by giving them clear guidelines and objectives. Produce a flowchart so everyone can easily see where they can take the initiative and when to seek out senior leadership. Ensure you include details of who is responsible for approvals in each case and notify staff if this changes.

3. Outdated technology

Clunky technology and relying on manual processes can be frustrating and waste your and your client's time. Whether it's legacy software systems that struggle to keep up with your business' evolving demands or ineffective data management methods, out-of-date technology can restrict your productivity.
Software as a Service (SaaS) has a cloud-based delivery model where apps are hosted online and regularly updated with new features. Typically available on a subscription basis, this can be an affordable way to have scalability by adjusting your package as needed.
Using SaaS is particularly helpful when organizing corporate trips.
Unmanaged business travel can often result in hidden costs and other inefficiencies
. For example, when organizations fail to enforce travel policies or ask staff to be reimbursed from personal credit cards.
SMBs and larger companies alike are turning to solutions like the travel management platform
TravelPerk
. An innovative business travel tool, TravelPerk users can streamline processes thanks to a centralized platform for booking, expense tracking, and policy enforcement.
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The platform has many handy integrations to make life easier for corporate travelers, management, and finance teams. Plus, the pay-as-you-travel model allows companies to minimize unnecessary expenditures.
With new SaaS tools emerging every day, there is likely a tool that can help run every aspect of your business. From tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), Customer relationship management (CRM) to
managing your expenses and streamlining those endless spreadsheets
, there are numerous pieces of software to help optimize your processes.

4. High operational costs vs. embracing automation

When repetitive manual tasks bog down employees, they spend excessive time and resources that could be better utilized elsewhere. Manual processes are also prone to human errors, which can cause operational disruptions and duplication of effort.
It might seem daunting to change the way you do things, but there are clear cost and productivity advantages to automating processes in the long run, even if it means a bit of extra effort in the short term.
Consider current processes in your company that are overly time-consuming or involve frequent mistakes, as you may gain the most from automating these. Data entry, diary management, and tracking inventory are some easy places to start, or it can even be as simple as creating templates for newsletters or reports.
Training your teams and encouraging them to embrace automation allows them to focus efforts on more strategic decisions and value-added tasks. In turn, this will help to keep your employees motivated and provide them with room to grow, all while reducing your company's inefficiencies.
Looking to streamline operations at your company?

5. Gathering feedback and avoiding low customer satisfaction

Disgruntled customers can be a clear sign of unoptimized business systems. Listening to client concerns and acting quickly to rectify issues is crucial. But, identifying inefficiencies from your feedback can also help you deliver enticing updates to your overall customer experience.
As companies expand, their customer service teams may need help meeting increasing demands. In times of growth, fostering a culture of open communication and continuous improvement is even more vital. Sharing feedback from clientele and actively involving them in the solution-building process can promote loyalty and create a sense of partnership. Feeling an integral part of your company's journey can lead to stronger, long-lasting customer relationships and high-value referrals.

Slow and steady wins the race

An adaptive approach is always key when it comes to business strategies. Paying close attention to the feedback of both clients and colleagues can help you learn what is and what isn't enhancing your productivity. Regular self-audits can help you track your progress, identify new red flags, and ensure you are still headed in the right direction.
Every organization is different, but there are always steps you can take toward streamlining your processes. Never be afraid to get the ball rolling with some small changes. Every big transformation started somewhere.
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