How To Scale Your Business By Automating Processes
Let’s start with making something clear: to scale your business is not the same as to grow it.
Growing your business may simply mean that you are acquiring more customers and closing more transactions. That’s great. But if it simultaneously creates the need to hire extra people and increases operational costs accordingly – you are probably not scaling.
To scale your business means to significantly increase the revenue while maintaining operational costs relatively low. Most of the times it requires your business processes to become more efficient.
One of the most obvious ways to go about it is business processes automation (BPA) within your company. This can be implemented in various ways, such as using workflow management software, designing organizational habits or simply outsourcing certain tasks (e.g. outsourcing software development).
Let’s take a closer look at the various ways of automating business processes. They can help you scale up your business within a matter of weeks.
Make good use of BPA software
Business processes automation software (or workflow management software) is one of the most popular solutions for automating business operations.
The point of introducing it is to let computers manage the work which is a) repetitive b) requires a sequence of predictable steps. Examples of tasks that can be successfully managed by BPA software are hiring procedures or customer service queries. The main benefit of workflow management software is that it spares your team the most mundane tasks, so they can invest their full potential in the activities directly related to growing your business. BPA software can also prevent human error from disturbing well-established business operations.
Automating business processes can be an undertaking in itself if you have a well-established system in place. Otherwise – if you still need to work on designing your business operations and workflow – BPA software can help you with such tasks as:
• Business Process Improvement;
• Business Process Re-engineering;
• Business Process Management.
The key is to use workflow management software that really answers your needs. At Ideamotive we can not only design ideal BPA software for you but also help you think through your current workflow and find space for improvement (or even re-design business processes for you). Simply contact us and ask for assistance.
Design working habits within your team
No matter how many tasks you assign to the workflow management software, a big portion of the company’s work will always require human input. The question here becomes – how to make the human workflow possibly most efficient, without missing out on the creativity and well-being of your employees (i.e. without trying to turn them into robots)?
Our advice is simple. Be intentional about designing your organizational habits that constitute a big part of your company’s working culture. Those habits are already there anyway, as they are the human way of automatically responding to similar situations. Why not take advantage of it and make them as beneficial to your company as possible?
Charles Duhigg described the general structure of all habits in his eye-opening book “The Power of Habit”. He calls it “the habit loop”, which is acted out in the following three steps: Cue –> Routine –> Reward. Once a habit is internalized by an individual, those steps are carried out without fully engaging the brain in the decision-making process. This way the brain’s “operational power” can be saved for dealing with more complex or simply new tasks.
Your employees likely encounter similar tasks or situations (Cue) throughout their working process, based on which they learn to adopt certain behaviors (Routine), in order to solve the situation or arrive at a point of conclusion (Reward). Good news is, even when a working habit is well-established, there is an easy way to change it to your business’ advantage.
In order to make it happen, you only need to replace the “Routine” part of the habit loop, while leaving the “Cue” and “Reward” exactly as they were. Obviously, you will want to put in place a routine which will contribute to increased productivity and, consequently, help you scale your business.
The simplest illustration of how this can work is promoting the use of keyboard shortcuts among your employees. This means they would need to replace their routine of using a computer mouse or touchpad with the new routine: applying keyboard commands. According to calculations done by Brainscape modifying this single habit would save an average American employee 8 full workdays per year.
By adjusting the working habits of your employees, you optimize and automate the business processes carried out by humans. This is also called “good business practices”. If adopted by the whole organization, they can make your business scale at an exponential rate.
Outsource what you can
Do you know the best-selling book “4-hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris? His advice on productivity is largely based on the idea of delegating tasks. As an entrepreneur, you have to value your team’s (and your own) time and skills. Find a way to assess what actually costs you more – outsourcing certain tasks or carrying them out within your team?
In more cases than you might think, outsourcing is the least costly option. That’s because, as a business owner, the most precious resources you have are your team’s potential and skills. Therefore they should be primarily spent on tasks that the team is experts in.
Outsourcing software development, project management or accounting are among the most popular areas for delegating tasks. What is the point of doing it yourself, if you are not expert in those fields? Someone else is likely to do those things faster and better, while you and your team will save time and resources for what you do best.
From your operational perspective, outsourcing is a way of automating business processes, too. The only difference is that this time tasks will not be performed by BPA software, but by humans – experts in a given field.
The most important for you is that one more area of running your company will now “take care of itself”. And this means more time and energy for your team, to develop your unique vision and scale up the business even more.
Ready to upgrade and scale up your business?
At Ideamotive we are prepared to help you scale your business holistically. We can provide all the necessary support: from redesigning and automating your business processes to delivering BPA software tailored to suit your needs. Contact us to tell how we can help.
We have been working hard to develop our own optimal business processes and automate project management as much as possible. We are currently preparing a whitepaper to share our best business practices. To stay up to date and get notified when the whitepaper is out – follow us on Faceboook or Twitter.