Leveraging systems and workflows to organize your business’ activities has never been more important. Business leaders like you desperately need unstructured time to contemplate your company’s development and create new content and initiatives – after all, you have targets to hit! Unfortunately, this cannot happen if your hours and mental capacity is wasted on tasks which could be performed more capably. Inefficiencies can occur when performing many different types of activities, but they are the most detrimental when performing routine and mundane tasks which do not bring you notably closer to your goals. The good news is by appropriately leveraging comprehensive systems and workflows you can increase efficiencies, improve customer service and ultimately enhance your brand’s reputation.
1. Increase Efficiencies
The first step you should take in leveraging systems and workflows is to clearly identify what predictable and habitual tasks you must perform each day to keep your business running smoothly. These could be easy tasks such as working through a mandatory checklist, returning client phone calls, or checking email. These could also be more difficult actions such as thinking through your meetings/engagements, planning business travel or working on financial/accounting to-dos. Either way, the first and most important step in increasing efficiencies is identifying actions you perform on a repetitive basis and evaluating when/how/if you can group them to either minimize redundancies or discover loopholes.
This sounds simple, but the truth is most people do not structure their actions to purposefully elevate productivity and save valuable time. Have routine contract or monetary issues that need to be addressed, but take hours on the phone? Make those calls while driving to or from work rather than when you are in front of your computer with a fresh cup of coffee in the morning, at your most energetic and industrious time. Need to hold routine meetings with key clients? Ask if they can meet you on the fringe of site surveys or other professional errands to reduce travel time (this is also a great way to discover new meeting venues). Hate the grueling hours eaten up using manual processes for documentation and compliance? Leverage updated technology to minimize paperwork, reduce errors and garner access to automated services which are not available via manual means.
I want to be clear here: if you have thought the words, “data entry” in the last two weeks, the chances are high you are not using the latest and most efficient information management system to capture your business’ content appropriately. Additionally, most likely you are not maximizing the real benefits automation and statistical tools to improve your other, less repetitive and more highly specialized services (especially if you’re re-typing or re-framing information). As a notable side bennie, using an information management system that (a) is populated by your clients vs. you or your staff and, (b) has superior functionality will also provide metrics on performance indicators, inventory and even execution of other important and less dreary tasks. A quick way to figure out the types of technical tools or system options to manage your workflow is to run a quick online search with terms specifically related to the types of data or procedures you want to better manage. The web is awash with innovative and easy-to-use applications and tools!
2. Improve Customer Service
Leveraging systems and workflows will also enable you to provide better and more targeted customer service. Similar to increasing efficiencies, reducing the time spent on mundane tasks will widen the capacity for you to curate solutions and better serve the most important people in your business – your customers! However, MOST imperative point to remember – leveraging systems and workflows will enable you to qualify, track and deepen relationships with your most valuable clients. An easy example of this is using a simple or complex customer relationship management tool to track information about clients, what services they use, feedback they’ve provided on your services and how and when your company has interacted with them. Especially in a world where growing personal relationships with clients is so relevant, knowledge capture and use are key. Clients who feel understood and valued are more likely to provide return business, recommend you or request downstream services. A more unique example of leveraging systems and workflows to improve customer service is creating purposeful business ecosystems for onboarding new clients. Having a defined process through which you identify, engage and execute timely follow-up with potential clients can communicate your company is serious, responsive and (best yet) indispensable to client success.
Enhance Your Brand’s Reputation
Employing systems and workflows successfully will augment productivity and advance customer engagement – improvements that will lead to the best downstream outcome yet: boosting your brand’s reputation. Continual improvement and honing of how you conduct business – in a timely fashion and in a way that places the customer at the center of your business ecosystem, is noticeable. Effective systems and processes also allow you and your staff the power to make positive evolutions or changes to your unique core competencies because by definition systems are organized to bring clarity and value to resulting deliverables. Pragmatic approaches to solving problems attract attention, and can escalate your brand reputation and resultantly, market position.
A Final Thought – Fine Tune
Leveraging systems and workflows to organize your business activities is one of the chief methods for making it successful. It enables direct and positive impact when executing your vocation, but also creates minutes or hours in each day to pursue higher-level business endeavors. Everyone needs more time – and arranging the most routine tasks to occur effectively is the best way to accomplish this.
A final thought on this front – effectively employing systems and workflows is an iterative process, which means it’s important to constantly evaluate how you organize your activities and make small changes and improvements. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments as your business scales – lean into making modifications. Some action item taking too long? Combine it with another action! Find yourself fearing the tedious task? Choose a system or process to handle it better! Outsource it!