How Streamlined Business Process Can Drive Growth
We're a small business, so we know how important growth can be. We've just had a huge uptick in growth, due in part to a good business plan, smart marketing, and a little bit of luck. One thing we can tell you is that, while growth is a good thing, it'a not sustainable without a plan for managing the growth. And it takes some expertise!
Good thing we're in the business of business process automation and document management! There's no better way to handle and encourage growth. Fortunately, we were set up from the beginning to handle growth; we knew ahead of time the importance a framework for process automation and document management. Even so, rapid growth has resulted in the need for rapid change in internal processes, Fortunately, with an ImageSilo® platform already in place, we were ready.
But what about small businesses that aren't "in the business" of process management? Small businesses today are inundated with information, including content created internally as well as documents and files received from customers, partners and suppliers. Without an information management framework, rapid growth in any of these areas is virtually impossible to manage, while growth opportunities are frequently lost as time is wasted searching through file folders and various business systems for business-critical documents.
Another challenge in today's content-critical environment is the fact that the data typically resides across an increasingly complex landscape of applications, network folders and devices. Information management solutions abound, adding further confusion for small businesses that may not have the internal expertise to determine which solution is best for them. Often this leads to a hodge-podge of solutions that are implemented department-by-department without a view to wide-scale organizational transformation. It is organizational transformation of processes that permits, indeed, that encourages growth.
Getting It Right
To help set you up for success, here are a few essentials that can help you create business processes that will drive growth while keeping your business running smoothly and affordably.
- Automate business processes
It's not simply a matter of bringing in more customers to drive more revenue - it's about optimizing your processes and operations so that you can spend more time servicing your clients. Back office procedures, like administrative tasks, billing, human resources, and data entry do not generate growth or revenue. Nonetheless, they are essential to the functioning of your business.
In many small businesses, management manually keeps track of what everyone is working on, sets reminders to follow up with clients, or to meet deadlines for projects, and keeps all the relevant paperwork in a file cabinet and electronic documents on their computer. But what happens if you double or triple your business? Are you going to hire more people to do the paperwork (and cut into your increase in revenue), or is it time to start thinking about how you can optimize your workload with automation? You'll be able to take on more customers and continue to run smoothly in the background. By incorporating document processing and automation into your processes now, your business will be able to grow with ease, efficiency and economy. (We call it the Three "E"s of Growth.)
- Visibility and Transparency are Essential
One of the biggest reasons that small businesses stay small is because the owner is unable to let go of daily hands-on management of everything. Growth requires letting go, but retaining oversight, which is hard, if not impossible with a manual system. However, with the right document processing and process automation solution an owner can tell from a single glance what everyone is working at any given time. Department managers have more accountability and transparency. Things are less likely to fall between the cracks. Having a clear view of what's going on in your business, both in terms of client communications and resource utilization, as well as whether or not you're going to hit your goals is key if you really want to grow.
This requires a strong, dependable framework that will grow with you, that provides accountability, tracking and transparency company-wide. It must also be secure, accessible remotely and compliant with any regulations your organization needs to meet. By streamlining into one smart platform, everything you need to know to make smart decisions is in one place.
- Nurture client relationships
Providing services that makes it easier for your clients and customers to engage and re-engage with you is vital if you want your business to grow. Whether this means web-based forms and automatic data input to your system, automated customer communications, or easy access to the information your clients need, your document management and automation platform should be able to handle it all.
Choosing an integrated scalable platform that serves client needs, as well your business management needs, enables you to build streamlined processes that serve your clients from start to finish, while empowering your team to do their jobs, better, smarter, faster and at lower cost.
Start by checking out the platforms and services that are available for document processing and automation. Paper Alternative offers a Free Back-Office Processes Review or download their E-book How to Turn Complicated Processes into Simple Tasks