4 Valuable Ways to Streamline Administrative Processes
For some reason, there’s this notion that running a business is exciting and glamorous. Television shows have profoundly romanticized the idea of being an entrepreneur, leaving many people thinking that this will somehow be their routine. The reality, however, is that it’s hard to run a business, and twice as hard running a successful one.
While running your business certainly isn’t as hard as hand-tilling your vegetable garden, there are processes that may make you feel overwhelmed, overworked, or just not as proficient as you know you could be. It’s always hard when starting out, and it gets even harder when the business starts growing.
That being said, you must find ways to boost operational efficiency if you want your business to remain competitive. Here are the best ways to streamline your administrative processes to gain operational efficiency:
1. Delegate Tasks
When starting out, many small business owners have their hands in every aspect of their business operations. Many administrative tasks are not only time-consuming, but they are also tiring. As time goes by and the business starts to grow, it becomes apparent that one person simply cannot shoulder the load of all the responsibilities that go into keeping a small business thrive.
One of the best ways to ensure operational efficiency as the business grows is to delegate administrative tasks to qualified or proficient individuals within the company. Consider those administrative tasks as hats that you must pass over to new executives and managers that join the team.
Before delegating administrative tasks, be sure to vet your team carefully to ensure that you’re delegating tasks to the right people. If you don’t think that no one is detailed-oriented enough to handle, let’s say, bookkeeping or invoicing, you should consider hiring someone with that skill set.
2. Go Paperless
Sorting through stacks of documents may not take lots of hours out of your day, but it’s nevertheless time-consuming. Paperwork can rapidly heap up and increase wait times, both internally and externally. And when you’re done sorting through the paperwork, you have to file it, shred it, or throw it away. Wouldn’t you rather decrease the amount of paperwork you get in the first place?
Assessing your paper usage is often one of the quickest ways to streamline your administrative processes. You may find that while some of the information in the paperwork is necessary, you don’t necessarily need to keep paper copies.
One of the ways you can reduce the unnecessary paperwork is to opt-out of receiving paper copies in the first place. Documents such as bills, invoices, bank statements, etc can be avoided altogether. You can ask to get the information via an online account, app, or email. You can also encourage candidates to apply for vacant positions online instead of sending in hard copies.
Alternatively, you can digitize the document management process and reduce the amount of paperwork you have to deal with. You can choose a document management solution that can allow you to scan, organize, store, and share documents. Going paperless will not only help you to streamline administrative processes, but it will present several benefits, including:
- It eases the retrieval of documents by putting relevant information at employees’ fingertips instantly.
- Besides making information more accessible, it also makes it easy to share.
- Digitizing documents helps you to save on floor space as digital files take up less space compared to documents that have to be stored in file cabinets and storage boxes.
- Opting for online banking services enables you to access your accounts 24/7, enabling you to view your account balances and pay bills conveniently.
- Switching from paper invoices to electronic invoices will save you money on paper, envelopes, and postage.
- Sending invoices via email makes it easy for you to track and get paid quickly.
- Registering with the Electronic Federal Tax Payment Systems helps to streamline your tax payments and makes it easy for you to access your payment history.
- Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online enables you to get the EIN immediately, unlike when you file a paper Form SS-4.
Ditching paper and using digital collaborative tools not only reduces unnecessary paper in the office, but it also makes it easier for your staff to share information, which ultimately streamlines some, if not all, of the administrative processes.
3. Automate Repetitive Administrative Tasks
Everyone working in the corporate world can attest to have spent their valuable time on routine tasks they’d rather not perform. Whether it’s checking your email constantly to ensure that you haven’t missed a message or keying in data every day like clockwork, we’ve all be there. Luckily, many of the administrative tasks can be automated, including:
- Employee onboarding process
- Invoice processing
- Payroll processing
- Accounting reconciliation
- Customer support
- Sales/CRM process
- Ticketing process
- Task assignments
- Leave approvals
- Social media management
- Expense tracking and approvals
To make your work easier, you should consider using workflow management systems to automate the above administrative processes. The good news is that there are a plethora of powerful softwares, tools, and apps available today that are specifically designed to help small businesses scale their business processes. Automating these monotonous processes with such solutions will not only save you and your team lots of time, but it will also save you thousands of dollars.
4. Outsource Complex Administrative Tasks
Outsourcing is an option that many businesses have to take at least once in their evolution, particularly when the time to scale a small business to accommodate growth comes. In case you don’t already know, outsourcing is the practice in which businesses entrust their business functions to external vendors.
After deciding that outsourcing is a viable option, the next question is – which administrative processes will you give away? To get the answer, you have to determine which tasks you are able to handle in-house, and which ones are too complex or too time-consuming to handle yourselves. The administrative processes that are commonly outsourced include:
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- Human resources
- Sales and lead generation
- Customer support
For a small business that is experiencing growth, outsourcing can help ensure that crucial processes are executed proficiently and consistently.
Some people believe that as long as you’re working hard 24/7, you must be doing something right. In this day and age, however, you don’t just need to be the hardest working, but you also need to be the smartest working. That means that if you can outsource something, go ahead and do so. If you can automate something, then do it by all means. Streamlining your business processes through the above four ways will enable you to focus on things that are central to the growth of your business.