How to Optimize Your Business Processes

How to optimize your business processes
In this series, we have looked at the value of standard processes in your business, how to identify your high-impact procedures, and how to document them. This final article focuses on improving and optimizing your business processes.

You are about to learn how to analyze your processes to find the areas causing you issues. You will then be able to decide upon the changes required and when to outsource or automate elements of the business so it can run more efficiently with increased reliability.

Define the Scope of Your Process

Begin this journey by outlining the scope or limits of the potential changes so that everyone involved understands the constraints around identifying opportunities for improvement.

Understanding the constraints and what can or cannot be done allows you to avoid issues. For example, a possible change might be to invest in some new equipment, but that is not immediately possible due to financial restraints.

Here are some points for consideration:

  • Does your budget have limitations in this improvement process, and if so, list what they are?
  • Do you have the financial resources to purchase new software or technology?
  • Have you room in your budget for increased training resources?
  • Under what timeframe do you expect these things to be accomplished?
  • Are you able to hire new employees if required?
  • Can you make changes to existing job boundaries?
  • Any changes to processes usually start a domino effect on other issues, so it is essential to know if you are prepared for these, if they can be done, and the timeline for them to happen.

These questions must be looked at and acted upon before identifying the improvement you desire.

Let’s look at some examples:

  • If your budget does not allow you to outsource your bookkeeping, you must find ways to keep better records in-house.
  • If the budget does not have room to expand training, you will need to find options with limited training needs.

Defining the scope of your business improvements up front genuinely helps and allows you to confidently say “yes” or “no” to proposed changes.

Common Process Problems

Here are a few common problems you may encounter.

  • A cloud hangs over the improvement, meaning that the process is not defined clearly enough.
  • Too many steps that don’t make sense or are too complicated.
  • Takes up too much time.
  • The resource implications are too costly, not only financially but also personally.

Analyze your Process or Processes

This next step is finding out if you have missed anything, what these issues are, and where they live.

This is a critical factor in your plan. You need to ensure that discovering your missing steps takes front and center to ensure that processes will be efficient and effective.

Here is a simple example:

  1. Write a blog,
  2. Schedule its release,
  3. Ensure it is published,
  4. Promote it.

This “process” looks simple enough, but steps are missing, which will cause issues for someone who lacks knowledge in this area. At the very least, there should be steps for uploading, formatting, proofreading, and editing the blog post.

All sorts of questions will crop up about what to do next (and how). But unfortunately, there just isn’t enough detail and information in that process to enable someone to reach the process outcome.

A more detailed example is the Marriot hotel’s famous 66-Step manual designed just for the process of room prep for a new guest, done in just 30 minutes. You can read about it here.

This specific example details every action required to give a guest the confidence that every room in this hotel chain is prepared with the same level of excellence.

This serves not only the hotel’s needs, making the employee’s job easier, but also allows (because of the level of detail) one employee to accomplish the job alone. The amount of detail needs to be clearly defined and easy to put into practice.

Questions You Need to Ask and Answer

Asking and finding answers to the following questions will assist you through your discovery process.

  • Have you put the steps in the correct order to ensure an outcome is completed faster and easier?
  • Is every one of your steps necessary? For example, can you remove or replace a step, and if so, would this “upset the apple cart”?
  • Have you located where and why the process slows down?
  • When and why do errors happen?
  • What is the total number of employee hours required to complete the process from beginning to end? Can this number be reduced without a loss in the process quality?
  • Can employee hours be reduced by eliminating non-essential work?
  • What efficiencies can be obtained by thoroughly analyzing material costs, resources, paper products, cleaning and packaging methods, etc.?
  • Can you outsource or automate any part or parts of this process?

Search answers from all who are involved in the process.


After locating problems and removing non-essential steps, look closely at the remaining steps and see if any of these could be automated.

Automation usually means increased productivity, better use of materials, better quality and service, and fewer employee hours.

The real trick here is to evaluate automation to ensure it is for the best. But unfortunately, new technology also can mean complicated software, more training hours, and additional personnel requirements.

Have a backup plan if technology fails at any point.

Keep an eye on this and check on it often to see the effectiveness of the automation in achieving your desired goals.

Tools for Automation

When to and When Not to Outsource

Have a close look at whether it makes sense to outsource or whether it does not make sense.

Outsourcing can help in increasing efficiency without the expense of having full-time employees.

Here are areas where outsourcing can make a lot of sense for your business processes.

  • Admin,
  • Customer Support,
  • Accounting,
  • Social Media tasks,
  • Blogging,
  • SEO,
  • IT.

When outsourcing, consider the following

  • What tasks can be easily outsourced?
  • Can your level of quality increase?
  • Can outsourcing increase your Free Time?
  • Could someone else do the job better than you?

Outsourcing has its drawbacks as well. First, you will have to train, which will cost time and money.

Consider all aspects before you outsource.

You can easily find professionals for your outsourcing needs from your business networks on LinkedIn, Freelancer, Upwork, etc.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, if you want to improve your business processes, you should take the following steps: 1) document your current processes, 2) analyze where there is room for improvement, 3) make a plan for how to improve the process, 4) implement the changes, and 5) monitor the results. These steps can improve your business processes and make your business more efficient and profitable.

Data443 Privacy Safe Privacy Management Service by Data443
WPO Image