StrategyDriven Business Performance Assessment Article

Ways to Identify Issues in your Business Process

StrategyDriven Business Performance Assessment ArticleEffective processes are how businesses develop and grow. Without these, it makes it difficult for you to make improvements and in turn make your business more successful. Managing processes and identifying what is and isn’t working quite right can be a time-consuming process depending on the methods used, but a necessary one. We have listed some ways in which you can identify bottlenecks within your business process effectively and how to use this information to make improvements.

Create Solid Business Goals

In order to overcome any issues in terms of business process or business in general – you should make sure that you have clear identified goals. In order to do this, it’s a good idea to have a meeting with the management team in your company and discuss what these should be. Your business goals should be able to be summarized on a one-page document. Normally businesses use SMART objectives. This stands for:

  • Specific – clear idea of what you want to achieve
  • Measurable – the goal should be measured, to help you identify whether or not you have achieved it
  • Achievable – make sure you have the cash and the level of resources needed to complete it
  • Relevant – it needs to be related to the goals you want to achieve. For example, increasing your profit margins, increasing your workforce, or pushing your brand out there
  • Timely – there should be a realistic timescale as to when you want to achieve your goal by

Once these clear objectives are set, it will allow you to evaluate your processes properly.

Use Kanban Boards

Have you ever heard of Kanban before? You may want to read this definition of Kanban by Kanbanize, for more in-depth information, but essentially you can outline your process on Kanban board cards which gives you a visual workflow process. Here you can see all the different stages of the specific process you are tracking. Within that, you can add limits to specific users too. This means that you can keep your key members of staff being torn away from their work and being distracted with other tasks by setting limits to the number of cards they have. This means that they can really focus on the elements of the business you need them to. By making sure you have every stage of your process outlined on your Kanban boards at a granular level, you will be able to spot any bottlenecks easily. It’s simple, if there is more going into one section than going out, that needs to be resolved. By pinpointing the exact area, this allows you to implement new improvements to this very specific area of the process.

Staff Appraisals

Staff appraisals are a great way to identify issues with your business process. In a busy working day – it can be difficult to find the time to speak to individual employees about their role and responsibilities in the company. By undertaking regular staff appraisals – this gives you time dedicated to that employee, to find out about their individual experience in the workplace and where they fit. Here you will be able to uncover areas that they may feel that they need further development – so you can make sure that they are trained effectively in order to undertake their tasks either internally or externally. You will also find out if there are any specific interests or skills that aren’t being used within the business currently that could be of use to you. It can also be difficult from a management level to be fully aware of everything that goes on in the day to day running of the company depending on its size or scale. Appraisals allows for feedback from the employees, where they can let you know if there’s anything they think that would improve processes moving forward that you may not have thought of.

Don’t just Resolve Problems – Look for Opportunities

Resolving issues within processes is all well and good, but it’s important that you also look for opportunities along the way. Identifying these key points could actually trigger a much bigger change within your business for better outcomes. Areas where you could be looking and creating new opportunities for include: better customer service, improved collaboration and communication between team members and improving the relationship between management and other team members. Developing upon these opportunities will improve the overall success of your business.

Keep Measuring and Refining

There is always room for improvement. Just because you have resolved a specific issue which has your process working better in that instance, it doesn’t mean that will always be the case. It’s important that you keep on top of processes on a regular basis. As your business grows things will change, so it’s essential that you keep monitoring and reviewing your processes to ensure they are still effective as they once were and fix as you go. That’s why something like Kanban boards can be incredibly useful. They are easy to modify when changes are made and allow for continuous evaluation. They are great tools to use to be in-keeping with business growth.

Have a Contingency Plan

When evaluating and resolving processes you also need to think about what happens if things aren’t running as they normally would. For example – will things still run as smoothly if someone is on holiday for 2 weeks, or if they have maternity/paternity leave scheduled in? These are common things that companies can forget when creating and evaluating processes. As well as identifying problems and resolving them, you also need to be on the lookout for potential problems that may not have arisen yet but could do. That way you are taking preventative measures and have everything covered no matter who is on holiday. We firmly believe in the phrase “failing to prepare, is preparing to fail”.

Review your Goals and Objectives

As your business grows and evolves, your goals will change. If not already in place, it’s always recommended that you have regular review meetings to not only evaluate whether t hey have been met or not – but whether these should be changed to either be more realistic – or to coincide with business growth. It could be that you have decided to introduce a brand-new product or service, or that you have new departments to think of, or it could be that you want to eliminate a part of your business all-together. Whatever the change may be, it’s important that you review your goals and objectives as these come along and implement the appropriate processes.

Hopefully now you have some more information as to how you can identify problems in processes within your business, and some useful tools that will allow you to do this. Make sure you have clear goals, have your processes outlined clearly on Kanban boards or similar software, speak to your staff – and of course look out for problems that could arise, not only ones that are currently occurring. Just like with anything, there is always room for improvement when it comes to running your business.

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Are You Looking for Advice to Improve the Performance of Your Business?

It does not matter what type of business you have, sometimes it starts to feel a bit stale and as though it needs an uplift of some sort. This can often be achieved by better performances from your employees, who may be feeling a bit lackluster from doing the same job every day. They may need motivation to help them improve their techniques, and you may need help to assist you with improving your management skills.

Align Them to a Common Goal

Aligning your staff towards a common goal is vital if your business is to grow and succeed. This process often starts at management level, as if you involve your managers in the strategy, it will soon be passed on to the rest of the staff. The manager’s role includes the task of supervising the employees in their group to ensure that work is finished on time and on budget. This will happen if team members are working together, which has been proved by using this strategy at Rolls Royce.  They have seen improved collaboration, enhancing its reputation for luxury and quality, and a report by the Harvard Business Review showed that 70% of employees were in favor of working this way.

Communicating your vision for the future of your business can have very positive results.

Deal with the Problems

If a member of staff informs you or their manager about a problem, no matter how minor it might seem, it should be dealt with as soon as possible. Do not shrug your shoulders when someone tells you they have lost the My Favorites Toolbar on their computer, go to Myfavoritestoolbar.net and find out how to correct it. This might seem a trivial matter to you but dealing with their minor issues as well as any major ones will make them feel that you value them as a member of your team.

When a member of staff does not feel they are taken for granted, they will work more efficiently and help towards that common goal.

Keep Them Informed of Progress

Once the goals have been set, you should keep your employees informed of the results. Knowing if they are performing well can help them to aim even higher, and if they surpass the level of business that was being aimed for, they will all feel much happier in their work. Also, in letting them know what has been achieved, you are still involving them and that matters where employees are concerned. Keeping staff regularly informed of the progress of the plans, and when changes happen, helps to maintain engagement and make them more productive.

You should listen to their opinions as well. When they are working with your customers, they may well have ideas that you, sitting in your boss’s office, would never have even thought of. Do not fall for the mistake of not realizing just how clever some of your employees are, and what a help they can be to your business if you just listen to what they have to say.

It could be that your product or service needs improving to help your business grow, but first of all, look at how you can improve the performance of your staff, as that could be all that is needed.

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Steps For Optimizing Your Company’s Processes

Whether your business or company venture is new or just in need of being redesigned, then keeping on top of rules for optimization is crucial to effective business management and room for growth. In business, time is money, so, in order to maximize sales, longwinded and time consuming processes and procedures must be avoided.

Processing documents digitally can save you a significant amount of time, providing the software you’re using is running as efficiently as it can and you’re utilizing your business’s capabilities for success. Optimizing how your business runs concerns more than simply improving software; however, having said that, it does a long way in helping your business succeed. Over the course of this article you will learn how best to optimize your company’s business processes.

Healthcare Processes

Make tired processes an act of the past and ensure that your staff can do their job to the best of the abilities and giving them the adequate tools to do so. If you work in healthcare or any medical practice, then you’ll know the importance of having efficient coding and billing processes. As complex as the procedure of billing can be, once you know the best medical billing features to look for in software, then you can save yourself time and resources. Open Practice Solutions offer fully integrated revenue cycle management to help your company succeed, which can be found at www.openpracticesolutions.com. You want your software to be doing the very best it can to take some of the pressure of you and any other the billing and administrative staff.

Optimizing business management wherever possible will give rise to easier processes, and ones that once fully understood by those using them, will speed up time it takes for a claim to be paid.

Identification

Once you’re aware of which business processes need attention, then you can get the overhaul underway. Figure out what the desired goal from changing processes needs to be, and make firm steps to getting these changes made. Identify which of the processes is most important and change that first, even if getting this altered is the most challenging business process to oversee the change of, do it with speed and accuracy. Throughout the time it takes you to implement change, always have the desired outcome at the forefront of your mind, address potential areas of improvement by brainstorming with those on your team and if a general consensus is that a qualified candidate needs to be hired, then prioritize this and begin the process of finding the candidate by conducting application reviews and interviews.

Process Mapping

Map your processes as you go. You can list the procedures you’re going to undertake by categorizing them into a list of importance, relevance to finished and completed outcome, and how they stand by way of priority. Start with the processes that needs the most immediate attention and work through the process map. By effectively mapping, you can visually keep track of what is being taken care of and which processes still need to be finished. Understand who is a part of the process and what their specific role and feature is in the redesign process.

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How to Move Your Business Forward

For any business, there can be times when your market starts to slow down. There could be a number of reasons why this happens, but the important thing is what you do as a business to keep your company moving forward. If you are a new business, it can be a scary experience, especially if this is the first time and you haven’t put a strategy in place. However, here are a few ideas that can help you to focus on the important things and encourage you to keep going.

Fight Your Fear

Seeing the market slow down can be a worrying time for any company. You want to do things to try and boost your exposure, but you are wary of doing something that will cost money. While being cautious is a good thing, you need to weigh up your options and see where your opportunities are. Instead of becoming too fearful, try to analyze things objectively and decide the best way forward. If you find trying to be objective difficult to do, ask a friend in business to take a look for you.

Do Your Research

Before you can start to do something about your company growth, you need to know what areas you have to target. That is why you need to do your research not just on your customers, but also on your competitors. You should also be thinking about what has caused the slowdown in your market. Is it anything that you can work against? Is there a way that you can use it to your advantage? See where your competitors are going and see if there is an area they aren’t currently occupying. That might be the angle you need to start your company moving forward again.

Researching your customer’s feelings are also a good way to see what’s changed. Send out a survey on your social media accounts or try to email your existing customers. Their feedback could be the key to finding out which way to go.

Look Within Your Company

At these times, it can be a good thing to take a look at your operation to see if anything can be changed or improved. Assess and decide if there are any processes that can be managed in a better way or if there are members of staff who would be more efficient in other areas. It doesn’t mean you have to release any staff; it just gives you the opportunity to take stock of the company. It can also be a good time to look ahead and see if there are any ways you can save money, just in case things don’t improve. Look at your suppliers – are there any that could renegotiate their arrangements? Are there any contracts that are losing your company money? If there are, you might have to consider stopping them and putting your resources elsewhere. It also means that if you manage to save a little money without losing staff, you can then reinvest that money in marketing.

Have a Strategy

Once you have done your research, you should be able to think about how you are going to keep your company growing. Why have your customers stopped using your company? Is it the same for your competitors? If your competitors are doing better than you currently, then try to see why that is, what are they offering that your business is not? It may be a simple thing that you can do which will start to grow your customers again, or perhaps you can offer a different service where you see a demand. Try to devise a strategy that can be adjusted to suit a variety of conditions. For example, set limits on the amount you spend on bonuses or overseas trips, these can be raised or lowered depending on how well the company is achieving.

Consider New Approaches

Part of your review of your company may have shown that you need to think about offering a new approach to your customers. If you have always dealt with them in person, then maybe offering an online service would entice them back. Perhaps you need to offer some new additional services that have become popular with other companies. For example, if you are a law firm, then maybe using a Practical Planning System estate program to help people with their will and power of attorney will attract some additional clients. Perhaps you can take advantage of new technology to do more interviews and meetings via video conference instead of traveling to them. Not only will it save you money, but it will also enable you to arrange meetings quickly and increase your productivity.

Change Your Marketing Strategy

Another way that you may be able to get the jump on your competitors is to refocus your marketing strategy. There may be nothing wrong with what you are currently doing, though by adjusting it to other areas, you may increase your reach and obtain more leads.

Take a look and see if there are any areas that you are not currently advertising. It could be that you have never placed an ad on television before, but it might be a good idea, especially locally. This is where you need to be brave and think about the long-term benefits of advertising. Try a limited run, to begin with, and see how many new leads it generates.

Another good idea is to email your old clients and see if they need your services. It might seem unlikely, but there may be people that have been putting something off until the time was right. Your email might be the nudge they need to get it done.

It can be easy to think the worst and try to downsize your company when the market begins to slow down. Though that can be a good way to save money, it doesn’t help attract new customers and drive the market once again. If you begin to panic, it’s important to think about all the things you haven’t done yet and give them a try, but be decisive, because the sooner you get moving, the quicker you will see the results.

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How to Overcome Business Challenges

Every business will encounter various obstacles. It is how they manage the problems that will determine their success or failure in their industry. To ensure you successfully handle every problem, simply read the following advice on how to overcome business challenges.

Listen to Your Gut

Instinct can often be a business owner’s best friend. When there is no right or wrong answer, sometimes the only thing you can trust is your gut. Ignoring it could result in you making the wrong decision, which could pose a risk to your company’s success. Listen to your built-in radar when making decisions and hiring employees.

Streamline Processes

Complex, lengthy, mundane business processes can often reduce productivity and creativity. This can prevent companies from reaching their goals at the fastest possible rate. If your business is bogged down with too many tasks, it is essential to look for effective techniques or software to streamline processes. For example, learn more about the JD Edwards Consulting Company, who can help you implement a single-entry solution into your large or small business.

Adopt a Frugal Approach to Business

Many companies fail every year because they operate beyond their means. It is therefore important to frugally run your business. Embrace a small business mindset, even if you are running the largest organization on the planet. Microsoft is the perfect example, as the company has told its employees to think of them as “the biggest small company in the world” – so you’ll never spend more money than necessary.

Avoid Emotional Pricing

Many startup companies often do not know how to implement the right pricing strategies when first starting out. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs make the big mistake of allowing their emotions to dictate the pricing of their products and services, as they may worry they will lose a sale if they price a product too high and rule themselves out of the industry before they have even started. However, this can result in a smaller profit margin that can slow down business growth. Always price with your head in business and never your heart. Identify your costs and thoroughly research your competition before you set prices, which you should periodically review.

Introduce New Business Strategies

Many business owners cling tightly onto old tools and techniques, because they don’t know any other way to run their company. However, you must regularly review your processes to ensure you are using the right tools and strategies for your business. For example, traditional companies will need to introduce online marketing techniques, such as blogging and social media, to replace or complement their tried and tested offline tactics.

Abandon What’s Not Working

Ensure your success by having the courage to walk away from a product, service, or process, even if you initially believed it would be beneficial for your business. These blinders can often stand in the way of your business growth and profitability, so you must strive to immediately identify what isn’t working for your company to quickly move on.