‘Business processes’. It sounds like scary terminology used by large companies and corporations, doesn’t it? Can it be applied to small business owners and sole traders? Well, yes, it can – you might be surprised to discover that you’re already using them.

What do we mean when we use the term ‘business processes’?

In its simplest form, a process is what we use to get from A to B – opening an email, reading it, deciding how and when to respond, replying to it and deleting or archiving the email when done, that’s all one process. For such a simple thing that we normally wouldn’t think twice about, it has several steps to be followed. Think about your day to day business activities – how many steps do you go through to complete each one?

It’s no surprise that many small business owners struggle with productivity when it comes to managing their business. Commonly, it’s administration that’s cited as the biggest drain on time and energy.

Identifying the processes used in your business enables you to make them more efficient and improve your overall productivity.

It can be difficult to know if there is a better way of working when you’ve always done things a certain way. It’s not like you have a manager or supervisor able to make recommendations or highlight the areas you can improve on. Maybe you’ve tried to use the working methods that were useful in your employment, and have found they’re just not fit for purpose when it comes to managing your business.

From introducing new business processes to streamlining existing ones – you need to look at how you work with a fresh pair of eyes.

If you’ve always made cake by hand, mixing everything together bit by bit – you’d be delighted to find out you could save time by putting it all in a mixer and pressing go, right? The initial expense would be well worth the time and energy saved down the line. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know, especially if you’re not an expert at administration or customer service.

It’s about breaking down every task into its component steps and evaluating the process as a whole. Is it working? Where can I be more efficient? A virtual assistant can quickly identify how you work, how you can improve and how to establish better business processes, so you have more time for the things that matter most.

A virtual assistant will identify and evaluate the processes you use within your business

Sometimes, it’s about introducing formal processes to help you become more efficient. For example, do you handle every new customer enquiry the same way? Would it make sense to have everything you and your customer needs in one place? You could have a folder on your computer (or a real one if you prefer to use paper!) that has a list of commonly asked questions with the answers pre-prepared, along with an information pack you can email to them with everything they need to know. It’s quick, easy, looks professional and saves you time and energy trying to get everything together.

By identifying your business tasks, it’s easy to spot the time consuming and energy draining steps involved. Formalising them into an established process enables you to outsource those tasks and concentrate on what you do best.

For a friendly chat to find out how Banks’ Business Solutions can help you be more productive within your business, drop us a line at sarah@banksbusinesssolutions.co.uk or give us a call on 07736938480.