Small Business Brief

Business Advice

7 Easy Tools for Business Process Improvement

Here we discuss ways to help you with your business process improvement. Read here to see 7 tools you can use to streamline your business and make life easier.

One of the secrets to lasting success in the business world is building loyal customers. And as the marketplace becomes increasingly globalized it is more important than ever to build loyalty through performance.

How can a company differentiate itself from the competition in a digital world? A continual focus on business process improvement will allow your company to evolve to meet the needs of your clients.

Process efficiency can be overwhelming. But if you start with these key aspects of business you will see how streamlining in one area can directly impact your company as a whole:

1. Invoicing

Are you getting paid? Are you getting paid on time?

If not, your company has very little chance of surviving. But many companies don’t realize that their own invoicing system may be to blame when it comes to outstanding monies.

Unless you have a streamlined system for generating and processing invoices you may have to watch your line of credit increase with a bank. Making it easy and fast for customers to pay allows your company to pay your own bills on time.

You will find that many clients have their own needs when working in the arena of business to business. And when it comes to working directly with consumers you want invoicing done fast.

Improve invoicing with integrated software.

2. Accounts Payable

Even with the best invoicing process you still have to track your outstanding accounts. Great invoices are only one step in making sure your company gets paid on time.

With a clear process for accounts payable you can minimize your time for outstanding payments. You can also automate contact with customers and integrate their services with your accounting software.

Unless you are getting paid consistently and on time you may have to stop service or product delivery for customers.

In addition, accounts payable should be an integrated forecasting tool. Your company will want accurate numbers on prospective sales as well as outstanding accounts.

3. Marketing

What are the process improvement steps for marketing? Like all business functions, your company will need to identify objectives and then measure your performance against goals first.

But before you tackle a new approach for marketing and business development you may want to check their relationship to operations.

While it may seem more complex, there are ways to streamline the performance of your company overall by focusing on marketing.

Whether you are trying to generate leads from Facebook or design your next content strategy, marketing should inform how your company does business.

Use marketing as a tool to shape operations, client offerings, and new retention strategies. Getting marketing and operations out of their silos will improve performance.

4. Meeting Setting and Time Management

For the overall performance of your company, there may be no bigger priority than time management and meeting setting. This focus alone requires an understanding of the priorities of your company and the core values of your leadership.

Whether you are devoting time to internal employees, business partners, new clients, current clients, subcontractors, or other business facets, your time is limited. Working efficiently and with the right tools means incorporating a process for managing time.

While video conferencing, shared calendars, and other integrated software can make meeting easier, it can also act as a distraction.

Make sure your time management process reflects the core values of your company.

5. Customer Communications

We live in a new digital economy where customer experience has to be the primary objective of every company. AI, machine learning, and digital tools have allowed businesses to tailor each client interaction to the needs of their customers.

Unless you stay in touch with your customers and potential clients regularly there is no way to understand their changing needs.

And unless you have a clear client communication process it’s impossible to stay in touch. Too much communication and you may become white noise.

Too little communication and you may be forgotten altogether.

Use a regular newsletter or social media blast can help you track their buying preferences and online behavior. This will help you craft new marketing campaigns.

6. Relationship Management

Successful business owners and management professionals know that true business prosperity depends on relationships. Unless you maintain quality relationships with your current and prospective clients your business is doomed to fail.

Even if you offer an exciting new product or lower prices you cannot succeed without quality relationship management. That’s because your competition will be working to capture your market share.

Besides, relationship management pays off in terms of investment. It’s 5 to 25 times more expensive to get a new customer than to retain a current one.

Invest in CRM software to automate relationship management and improve the process. CRM software can improve business development, partnering, and current client retention.

7. Payroll

Paying bills and taking care of clients are musts for a healthy business. But unless you spend the same amount of care in getting your employees paid you may face huge problems internally.

You may watch your essential talent walk out the door for competitor firms. You may also face stiff interest rates and require loans if you mishandle paying your employees.

Make sure your payroll process is clear, measurable, and effective in order to head off any issues down the road. Some companies have integrated fingerprint and timeclock technology in their payroll process.

Other companies integrate payroll with invoicing to accurately track hours. Your back office personnel can waste valuable time if you don’t have a good system for payroll.

Business Process Improvement Through Outsourcing

One obstacle many businesses face when trying to improve is cost. They want to improve their business and streamline processes but hesitate because of the upfront investment.

For businesses on a tight budget, it may seem that there are few options to getting more efficient. Their leaders know where they want to start business process improvement but often wait too long.

Outsourcing may your best bet. For many businesses, accounting, marketing, and payroll are not their core competency. In these cases, it makes more sense to outsource.

Learn more about outsourcing now.