Startup Essentials: Stop Overcomplicating Your Processes

Let’s face it; we all overcomplicate things. But when you’re just starting as a new company, you can’t afford to waste time overthinking and complicating simple processes. You’ve got the gift of a clean slate. Meaning you’re not like the more prominent, older companies who have thousands of employees learning new CRM software. You’ve got you and maybe a few other people heading up your main departments.

You can get things right from day one, or at least you can implement the best processes to get you on the right track.

We’ve got a rundown of some tips and tricks of the trade to help you get your business working smoothly so that you can worry about overcomplicating dinner instead.

The gift of a clean slate.

The stats have it

Paper or digital? There are millions of studies out there that show how much time digital processes save you, from filling in forms 40% quicker than paper ones to reading Kindles vs books. Time wasted is exaggerated when you’ve got fewer people working for you — so many small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have learned to adapt to digital from day one.

Digital processes save a lot of time. For SMEs, where everyone wears five different hats, digitalization is a lifesaver. Which makes sense when you see the stats behind how many small companies have already adopted digital. 95% of start-ups have digital plans, while only 87% of traditional companies have embraced digital.

UK and European SMEs are taking more readily to digitalization than our US friends across the pond. 63% of EU (UK) businesses have made the jump and digitalized ‘over half of their documents’ according to a study in 2019. Which is a considerable amount when you consider only 48% of US SMEs have switched.

Unfortunately, the same study found that around 40% of companies across Europe are oblivious to the digital solutions that already exist. So let’s change that.

people sitting at table writing
Unsplash: dylan-gillis

What should I be doing?

Your business processes are the core of your company. They make things run smoothly and ultimately give you the results you want to see, and the product your customers want to purchase. So, why not speed things up a bit? Digitalising your business processes mean that you can achieve bigger, better results in half the time.

How to stop overcomplicating your processes and score more deals.

Sounds good, right? But, how do you do it? Simple, automation.

  1. Stop with all the paper processes – Automate.

Automation is a word you’ve 100% heard millions of times, but don’t really know how you actually automate. Start with something simple like using software to handle supermundane tasks like managing documents, contracts and invoices. Hundreds of solutions exist to help you do this — like Signable.

Signable uses software to automate the sending and signing of contracts and documents and then safely stores them in the cloud for easy access.

Less time spent — less human error — more time for you to automate some more.

  1. Customer-data Automation.

It’s no good automating some of your customer processes and ignoring how you store your customers’ information. For example, imagine you’re a property management company, a tailored BPM for you would allow you to automatically store property info, process requests and questions from customers so that you can quickly access and get those all-important conversions.

There’s a multitude of BPM software solutions out there, Zoho creator and Bpm’online studio, are great for small business as they’re scalable and can be used for everything, from customer acquisition to streamline workflows.

  1. Store what’s important in The Cloud.

Aside from the new contracts you send and get signed, what do you do with the ones that already exist? Store them in The Cloud of course.

Cloud-storage is a great way of keeping everything safe and accessible, plus it doesn’t involve clogging up your over-worked Macbook. It also makes collaboration incredibly easy, offering a live workspace that everyone can contribute to. Some programs are more imaginative than others but see Google Drive, Box, and Amazon Drive.

  1. Analyze what you’re already doing.

Obviously, you may not be at the point where you know your processes inside out. You need to make sure you know how things are currently running so you can not only automate them but make the steps better. Making the steps better might mean you need to outsource to make sure you’re changing in the right ways.

If you’ve already got a digital process in place that works, leave it for now. Don’t fix what ain’t broke, right?

  1. Combine your communication.

As your business grows, face-to-face communication becomes pretty hard. Plus, sending simple information or updates via email just isn’t as fast as it needs to be. Not being as fast as it needs to be is where an internal communication app comes in very handy. No, we’re not talking about Facebook messenger. Apps such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, and the new Facebook Workplace (might end up being a Google+ tool) offer instant messaging for all sizes of businesses.

You’re able to talk within teams and the whole company by setting up different channels or groups. Even if you’re only five employees strong, in time-sensitive scenarios (like setting off the office alarms) — you’ll really be glad you’re not emailing.

6. Budgeting software.

58% of financial advisors plan to invest in new technology this year, with the top reason being the hope to serve more clients. If the top dogs in finance are saying they should invest in software this year, maybe you should, too.

Zoho Books – £6/month

Zoho Books is a very affordable accounting software. There’s also an incredible plethora of Zoho tool add-ons. To name just a few, Zoho subscription, and Zoho Inventory that help customize to your company’s financial needs.

Features:

  • Custom Invoices
  • Expense Tracking
  • Projects and timesheets
  • Recurring transaction management
  • Sales approval
person sitting at laptop
Unsplash: christin-hume
  1. Marketing – Get yourself a tool that does everything.

Did we mention Hubspot yet? We should have. It’s incredible and has helped our start-up manage and record so many aspects of our business. Most notably, their email marketing feature is gold dust. They came out with an all-new email template builder. The template builder helps you make pretty much anything your heart desires (email wise).

You can track and input your emails into very extensive workflows, meaning you can manage your new and existing customers’ flow of information down to a T.

Hubspot – From £42/month

This starter plan isn’t bad at all and includes everything you need to get going:

  • Ad management
  • Live chat
  • Contact website activity
  • List segmentation
  • Email marketing
  • Ad retargeting
  • And so much more.
woman looking at phone sitting at art desk
Unsplash: bruce-mars
  1. Keeping your employees – Perks, and Benefits.

“8O% of employees would choose engaging benefits – including flexible working, benefits schemes, and access to discounts – over a pay rise.” This ultimately decreases your employee turnover and prevents you from losing valued talent.

Perkbox allows you to not only offer a range of perks and discounts but also to track who uses what. They also have very affordable medical benefits.

What’s next?

  • Once you’ve outlined a strong digital business plan, keep checking it. Constant improvement will push you ahead of your competition and keep you efficient.
  • Think about the upcoming Millennial consumers. More than half of Annalect’s survey respondents (52%) consider a brand’s use of technology before making a purchase, and 39% say they are loyal to a brand that uses up to date technology.

If your digital business plan doesn’t work at first, keep at it. You might not stumble onto the best BPM (business process management) or digital tool first time around but try a few options. There are loads of options not mentioned here — do your research.

What works for your company might not be anything that’s worked for many others, and vice versa. But, if you take anything from this article, just start doing something now — you’ll thank yourself later.

(This post is not sponsored)

Sophie Torry-Cook

Junior Content & PR Executive

Sophie works for Signable, an electronic signature software provider. Their main aim is to help all sizes of businesses be more efficient for less. Check out their features here. When Sophie’s not writing about eSignatures, she’s in the charity shops and making short horror films. 

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