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Working More Efficiently: Part One

Evaluating and Defining the Process

Nobody’s perfect. Even the most successful businesses have room for improvement in one category or another. Whether your systems could use a simple boost or a major overhaul, the first step toward working more efficiently is breaking down and evaluating your processes. 

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Easier said than done, right? In actuality, this exercise is a great way to optimize just about any aspect of your business. Take customer service as an example. Let’s say your customer service policy is second to none – your mission statement and your goals are laid out clearly and concisely, and you do everything in your power to please your clients on a daily basis. Somewhere throughout the process, however, there is a disconnect. Your employees aren’t always responding quickly and efficiently to incoming queries, creating a backlash from your customer base. 

While it may seem like a good idea to simply hold a meeting and tell your staff that improvements need to be made, this isn’t always the most effective avenue. First, you need to address several key questions:

  • What is your company’s process?
  • Who is involved?
  • What’s not working?
  • Where is there a disconnect?
  • Why is there a disconnect?
  • Why is the process (or one of the steps within the process) inefficient?
  • How can we make it better?

By defining the process and evaluating each and every component, you’ll be able to get a fuller picture of where improvements need to be made. You may find, for example, that it takes a customer service representative far too long to fill out and file a client’s paperwork. In this case, perhaps moving over to an automated computer system may suit your company’s needs better. You’ll never know how you can improve if you don’t know where and why improvements need to be made. 

Don’t be afraid to pick apart something that simply isn’t working. Breaking down your processes will help you evaluate areas for improvement and implement company-wide changes more effectively. 

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