The first hectic months of building a new business require quick decisions and flexible reporting. As small business owners focus on getting the company up and running, much of the daily processing may be manual. But as the business evolves, procedures can change as well. When is the best time to invest in technology to help with process improvements? How can business process improvement be accomplished early on, when simply meeting production deadlines is still a full day's work?
Target Essential Processes
When thinking about where to start automating, consider the daily tasks required to manage the business. The goal is to increase the efficiency of repetitive, time-consuming activities that aren't going away. Employee hiring and management is one area where automation can help, especially for new businesses. The work required to create job descriptions, screen candidates, and bring new employees on board can be automated in order to streamline the hiring process. This allows companies to find and employ the right job candidates quickly when new hires are needed to help with business growth.
Make Financial Tracking Easier
Many entrepreneurs don’t have financial backgrounds. They simply have an idea and decide to take the plunge and strike out on their own. But – as anyone who's started a company knows – accurate financial tracking is essential for tax reporting, obtaining outside investment, and securing loans. Accounting systems and mobile apps designed for small businesses can be installed in minutes. Catered to those without a financial background, the programs are often user-friendly and available for a low monthly subscription fee.
When It's Time to Automate, Start Small
When it comes to business process improvement through automation, Small Business Computing recommends starting small. Focus on one minor task and find a way to make the process more efficient. For example, switching from paper to electronic invoicing is one function that you might consider tackling first. Whereas paper invoices can be lost or damaged, electronic invoicing provides records that can be saved digitally. Mobile apps also now allow invoicing on-the-go to ensure customers receive bills in a timely manner.
Find the Time for Business Process Improvement
Prioritizing business process improvement shows a long-term commitment to company success. The benefits of automation can make up for the time used to implement a new process. Set goals and devote time each day to work on process improvement. If management is caught up in operations and unable to work on the integration of new technology, consider bringing in short-term help on a per-project basis.
With many cost-effective applications available, small companies should take the time to find the best products to fit their processes. Technology isn't an area where entrepreneurs can afford to fall behind; it's essential to think about business improvements early on and continue to seek out ways to make production more efficient.