Put It in Writing: Become More Efficient
May 20, 2021
You own or operate a small business or SME. Things have always been done essentially the same way for years. Perhaps, during the height of the pandemic, some things changed out of necessity. For many businesses, the changes produced positive results. This could be and should be a starting point to make more changes in the business with the goal to improve overall operational efficiency.
If changes are going to be made, (1) all procedures should be reviewed and (2) final procedures put in writing. Keep in mind that all businesses operate with some type of procedures from the time a business opens until it closes whether it’s a brick-and-mortar business, Internet-based business, or some combination of the two.
Efficiency Is The Key
Efficiency is a key factor to operating a successful and profitable business and is a byproduct of having all employees knowledgeable in their particular area of responsibility. How efficient is it for a business to operate with only a handful of employees knowing how to handle certain business functions? Answer: Not very efficient at all!
Procedures run the gamut of activities in a business. To operate efficiently, each procedure should be accomplished the same way all the time regardless of who performs the particular function. The question is, “How does a small business or SME get to that point?”
Written procedures are important to operational efficiency as they do the following:
- Standardize each separate business function.
- Allow review of each business function by others for possible improvement.
- Simplify the process of cross-training employees in different functional areas.
- Minimize delay when one employee takes over for another employee.
- Permits management to follow up and review procedures to ensure company compliance.
The process of developing, writing, testing, and improving procedures is a continual cycle. Once written, procedures should be periodically reviewed for possible revision and improvement. Change is a never-ending process in a business; therefore, procedures also need to be changed to improve operational efficiency.
Some Better Than Nothing
Currently, no written procedures? Don’t worry about preparing all procedures in writing immediately. This can be an impossible and discouraging task.
- Start by preparing written procedures that are most critical to the company’s performance.
- Have the written procedures reviewed by as many employees as possible that work with the particular procedure.
- Compile all written procedures in a binder or accessible computer document for easy viewing.
Rather than thinking of written procedures as a luxury when time permits, they are really a necessity for the long-term success of a business.