Whether it’s onboarding new hires, managing contracts, or negotiating deals, our processes define how we work. But often, these processes don’t serve us as well as they could.
Inefficient processes can create delays, slow down projects, and breed frustration. And while it’s easy to say “We’ve always done it this way,” if you don’t take the time to reevaluate your workflows, you could be missing out on opportunities to work faster, be more productive, and increase revenue.
So strap in and explore the process improvement strategies and quick hacks that will help you win back time and work efficiently.
What’s a process improvement?
A process improvement is anything that enhances or refines the way you do business. Think of process improvement like greasing a squeaky wheel. With a little time and attention, it can make for a better ride all round and prevent further maintenance further down the line.
Process improvement is all about identifying any inefficiencies in your organization and implementing changes to improve them. Broadly speaking, business process improvements should save time, reduce costs, minimize effort, or improve customer and employee experiences.
Small changes can make a big impact when compounded over days, weeks, or years. Just ask ISCA, who replaced pen-and-paper signing with eSignatures, resulting in savings of more than 300 USD per month.
It can be challenging to know where to start. Thankfully, we’ve put together some business process improvement strategies that can help you make big improvements, fast.
Process improvement strategies
1. Go paperless
If you’re still locked into the time-consuming habit of printing, filing, and sending out documents manually, then going paperless is a journey worth taking. Let’s face it, we don’t really need paper anymore, and eliminating as much as you can is a sure-fire way to reduce costs and increase productivity.
The benefits of digitizing your documents include:
- More secure data and information
- Reduced time editing and sending documents
- Shorter hiring cycles
- Faster communication with employees and clients
There are a whole host of tools to help make the shift to paperless processes easier. For example, using eSignatures means your customers can easily sign documents online, cutting out any unnecessary paperwork.
Creative marketing agency Collier.Simon adopted eSignatures to help them create a more efficient hiring process, all while maintaining the fast-paced motivation that their clients expect. With eSignatures, they now have the functionality to get key documents sent and signed in a matter of seconds, which makes onboarding a breeze for both internal teams and new employees. Plus, without paper holding them back, they can get their SOWs signed sooner, which helps them get projects kicked off up to 20% faster.
2. Get your documents in order
No matter how big or small your business is, we’ve all been guilty of storing files on our desktops at some point. But there’s a better—and more secure—way.
Document management systems help you organize and access content in one collaborative space, so you and your team don’t waste hours chasing down files that are hidden in obscure folders or email attachments.
Google, Microsoft, and Dropbox all boast sophisticated solutions for secure, cloud-based document storage that mean you can access your files anywhere, on any device.
Take VivaReal for example. As Brazil’s largest online real estate portal, the company handles an enormous amount of documents, client reports, and more. But after substantial growth, they needed a better way to house their data and facilitate collaboration between employees.
To keep up, they adopted Dropbox Business to manage their documents. Now, all new files are synced to the system automatically. This means everything is in one place. So sending reports, sharing files, and collaborating across different devices is simple and intuitive.
3. Improve time management by tracking your work
Time-tracking can help you regain control over your day.
Once you’ve set out the work you need to complete, you can match it up against how much time you actually spend completing it. Tapering your expectations against your actual productivity can be illuminating. And when you know how much time you’re spending on specific tasks, you can plan ahead and manage your time better in the future.
We recommend starting small. At the end of each workday, take five minutes to note down roughly how long you’ve spent on specific projects. Once you’re comfortable, you can gradually ramp things up by adding tasks and tags to your entries or using a timer to be more precise.
If you want to make things a bit more streamlined, tools like Toggl and Clockify have a lot of great features like calendar integrations, custom reporting, and background tracking that are worth considering if you want some extra functionality or additional insight into how you and your employees spend their time.
Moving to daily time-tracking can improve accuracy and cut leakage by over 80%—so get in the habit of recording your day—so you can make the most of the time you have.
The road to better business processes
These are just a few of the many ways you can begin to improve your processes, make life easier for you and your clients, and ultimately, win you back your time.