Starting a business is challenging. We’ve seen data stating that most new businesses fail in the first few years of operation. In most cases, getting the business up off the ground isn’t the hard part. The problems occur as the business grows and attempts to scale. A sole trader has complete control of all aspects of the business. The cracks appear when this sole trader grows their client base and needs to hire a team to service them.
We see fast-growing businesses struggle as they grow in two main areas: process inconsistencies and process inefficiencies.
Process inconsistencies occur when a process is not completed the same way each time.
While sometimes not apparent, common causes and effects from these inconsistencies include:
- The process is so complex that an employee forgets or skips steps. This reduces the quality of the end product.
- If a process is very manual, employees may start doing things their way (consciously or subconsciously). This can result in the end product being confusing for other team members as they may not understand what their coworker has done or where to find essential information/items.
- If multiple team members are completing a task in their own way, it makes it very difficult to teach new starters the official way the business operates. As a result, new starters will be confused and take longer to get up to speed.
To add to the above, if a process is not completed correctly, it may need to be started again, costing the business more time and delaying service to a client.
To minimize process inconsistencies, a business needs to automate as many steps as possible. Essentially, the goal is to reduce the amount of manual steps employees need to think about. Automating steps doesn’t mean you’re trying to turn your team into mindless workers but helping them to get to the end result of a task as quickly and efficiently as possible so they can spend their time on skilled work.
If there are steps in a process that cannot be automated, using a system that prompts an employee and guides them along the correct process is ideal. The harder it is to deviate from the optimal process, the more likely it is that a team member will do it correctly every time!
Process inefficiencies occur when the business is not using the right tools to complete a task. This doesn’t just mean using the wrong software or process, it also occurs when a business uses multiple software when the same process could be completed by one.
The result of these inefficiencies is more time spent on tasks and frustrated staff and clients.
For example, if a business needs to send a document to a client to be signed (e.g. an engagement letter), they may go through the following steps:
- Use a word processing software to write the letter and then proofread for spelling errors. They may have a template ready to use but still need to input all details relative to the client while hopefully not missing a merge field. No one likes getting a letter that says ‘Dear FIRST NAME’!
- Convert this document to a PDF and either send it to the client to manually sign or upload it to a digital signing service.
- Once the document is signed, the business then needs to either save the attachment from the client’s email or log into the document signing software.
The above process required the user to engage with five different systems (Word processing, CRM, email, a document signing service and some form of document storage system) and most likely well over an hour of admin time to complete all steps.
What used to take over an hour can be done in five minutes!
If they used a system such as SuiteFiles, they could have achieved all of the above steps from one window. Typos wouldn’t have been an issue because they could have merge fields automatically populated. Plus, their signed documents could have been instantly filed into the client’s folder once signed!
Such efficient and consistent processes will help a business scale successfully and continue to give its clients the same great experience for years to come.
Want to see how SuiteFiles can reduce document admin across your business? Book in for a demo below!