(BPT) - If you run a small to medium-sized business, you know the challenges: Your to-do list is a mile long, and there's never enough time in the day. Whether you have a staff of two or two hundred, it seems like there aren't enough people to get everything done that needs doing. But the problem may not in fact be how many employees you have or how many hours are in a day - your processes may just need a reboot.
Here are steps you can take to improve your business processes - and a software solution to make many tasks easier.
1. Take stock
Step back to assess where your systems bog down. Are there specific areas that always cause problems? Do certain tasks take much longer than others? Talk to your staff to learn where these pinch points are located. Be sure to let them know you're not looking at team members to blame, but systemic slowdowns.
Another important way to assess trouble spots is from customer/client input. Several companies make tools to create customer satisfaction surveys, which give you useful insights into areas needing improvement from the perspective of your customer or client.
2. Review trouble spots
Once you've identified the most troublesome processes, it can help to go through them, step by step. If possible, enlist someone outside the company to review them with you, as they may spot issues you're unaware of. Ask questions like:
- What is the goal of this process? Is it being met?
- Does everyone do this the same way? Is the process written down?
- Are there too many steps/are any steps redundant?
- Can you identify spots in the workflow that cause the most difficulty?
Many workflow problems stem from different systems not communicating with one another. Creating an efficient, standardized document management system is often key to solving these kinds of difficulties.
3. Brainstorm solutions
After nailing down process details and clarifying difficulties, involve your team in brainstorming and exploring solutions. There could be tools already out there to help streamline your processes.
For example, many tasks can be simplified using PandaDoc, a flexible software solution that helps your team work smarter, not harder.
- Create digital documents with PandaDoc. You can manage, sign and send documents with ease, eliminating headaches at every stage of the process using just one software solution instead of several different programs. From pre-approved content and templates to proposals and approval workflows, you can digitize every process to save time and headaches for every team in your business. Even better, you'll also save money and help the planet by reducing paper waste.
- Collaborate and consolidate document-related processes using PandaDoc, which makes it easier for team members to work together on a wide variety of documents. Any team - from sales and marketing to HR and finance - can use the software to create custom themes, use embedded media and integrations. Your teams will impress your customers by sending personalized, on-brand documents securely in minutes.
- Track your docs and workflows with real-time reporting and engagement metrics, giving you needed insights to take every document to the finish line. Whether you're processing medical forms, offer letters or multi-year six-figure contracts, you can keep tabs on all your secure business documents to maintain momentum and better predict business goals.
- Keep everything moving by getting your documents out the door in minutes. PandaDoc helps you create stunning, error-free documents with pre-built templates, a drag-and-drop content library and auto-fill data from your CRM - and then finalize every transaction with an integrated eSignature solution.
4. Educate your team
Once you've chosen a solution to a problem area, write down the new procedure your team will be following using clear step-by-step instructions. Have your team learn the new process or get trained on the new software or other tool. Make sure everyone logs how it's going, so you can assess whether they're saving time and effort getting things done with the new approach or tool.
5. Revisit your solutions down the road
After you've implemented a solution, track how well it's working for your business. Take stock again one month, three months and six months out to ask - is the new process performing better than your previous approach? Does it need tweaking to see further improvements? Check in with your team regularly to see how any new processes are working for them.
Learn more about how PandaDoc can help streamline the creation and management of your business critical documents at PandaDoc.com.