Workflow Management for Small Businesses
When you started your small business, you probably pictured yourself doing something you love every day – making a product or offering a service – and making a living from it. What you probably didn’t picture were piles of paperwork and hours of mundane tasks taking up your time and the time of your skilled employees. Running any business involves some un-fun tasks, and we can’t make them all disappear. But by implementing strategic workflow management for your small business, you can minimize the power they have over you, freeing up your time to do what you got into business to do in the first place.
You’ve heard it before – time is money. And you’ve probably never felt it more than you have as a small business owner. For you, it is the difference between thriving and failing, growth and stagnation, and expanding your team and laying off employees. Workflow management for small businesses can be a game changer, and workflow process automation is a key ingredient.
What is Workflow Process Automation?
Whether or not you realize it, you are surrounded by workflows. It’s how you operate – the tasks you perform to move data from idea to implementation. They include everything from how your employees request time off or fill out a purchase order, to your complex sales cycle workflow. People often confuse the definition of a workflow with a business process, and the terms can be used interchangeably. The easiest way to differentiate between process vs. workflow is to think of a workflow as how you accomplish a task, where a process is how you achieve a goal.
Workflow automation for small business is a tool you use to improve workflow management for your small business. It means automating manual tasks to improve efficiency and efficacy.
Benefits of Automation for Workflow Management for Small Business
Adding automation to even simple process workflows can give you a quick and favorable ROI. The benefits include:
- Eliminating human error
- Reducing overhead costs
- Increasing productivity
- Freeing up time for innovation
- Empowering remote work
- Boosting employee satisfaction
Workflow Automation Opportunities
Certain tasks are (figuratively) screaming for automation – those that are repetitive, performed often, and/or require layers of approvals from various people and departments. These include:
- Onboarding employees and training existing team members
- Completing and processing paid time off requests, payroll, expense and travel reimbursements, and gathering important employee information for records
- Remembering client and employee birthdays
- Sending invoices and abandoned cart reminders, and order fulfillment
- Filling out purchase and procurement orders
- Scheduling and sending reminders
- Responding to webform submissions, resetting account passwords, and cleaning up email lists
- Assigning leads, and lead and voicemail follow-up
- Managing events and networking opportunities including promotion, registration, follow-up, and feedback requests
- Following up with existing customers to measure satisfaction, encourage referrals, and spur repeat business
How to Create Workflow Automation
Workflow management for small business that utilizes automation is a fairly simple and repeatable process:
- Identify the workflow you’d like to automate.
- Determine the purpose of the automation to ensure you’re planning the right approach.
- Inform your team on the goals and updated workflow, offering training as needed.
- Automate the workflow using software.
- Test, monitor, and improve as needed.
When it comes to workflow management for small business, we believe that technology has the power to radically enhance sales and marketing strategies, improve data analysis, and support profitable decision-making that allows you to scale faster. But technology also has the power to cause confusion and inhibit growth if not integrated properly into an organization. A technology solution is only as good as the people who use or implement it. When you work with Paradigm, together we can design sales, marketing, and workflow processes that align with your strategic objectives and revenue goals. If our expertise, customization ability, and holistic approach can help with your workflow management system design, please contact us today.