The Honestly Press
Published in

The Honestly Press

Simple Business Optimization Strategies

Everything we’ve learned about optimizing your business for better results.

The Engagement Triangle — which shows you how to gain achievement, inspiration, and empowerment through The What, The Why, & The How.

While delivering work on behalf of clients and engagements of all types, we
have created and reinvented processes to make our teams more efficient
while creating work that matters.

The key to developing an ideal workflow is to consider how your business
can deliver repeatable, consistent results centered around the north star of
what you’re trying to accomplish. Reinventing the wheel with each new
project, team or both leads to budget overruns, scope creep, and missed
deadlines, not to mention frustrated clients and team members. Don’t lose
sight of what you’re seeking to accomplish: familiarity, predictability and as
little friction as possible.

Let’s explore a few ways to make that happen.

Automate

As you examine your current workflow, start with a whiteboard or a piece
of paper. Chart the process and think about how many people are involved,
the way information is shared and how often a person has to “touch”
something to get it to the next step. Chances are it’s more involved that you
thought.

Now that you have the steps documented, identify specific functions you
could automate with technology. When looking at trimming business costs
(and who isn’t?), a little automation can deliver a lot of ROI. For example,
clear communication is a quick way to align your team, and the
combination of project management software and time management tools
can help improve efficiency. At Honestly, we’ve been using Basecamp and
Harvest to manage engagements internally. This combo provides us with
reporting across workflows, tracking tasks to stay on schedule, and better
time forecasts for team members.

Once you begin to experiment with your own tools, you’ll discover clear
ways to improve your processes.

Go Lean

As you begin to consider automation, congratulations, you’re already
thinking lean. This is a great way to keep teams more lightweight in the
service of making decisions more quickly for a lower cost. When charting
your workflow, you likely also found steps that could be combined, reduced
or removed entirely. Again, keep your eye on the prize and ask how you can
use the fewest internal and external resources to:

  • Seek out and nurture great ideas quickly
  • Develop validated learning by releasing a prototype for feedback
  • Correct mistakes and capitalize on opportunities being revealed
    through data

For example, outsourcing e-commerce work gives business owners the
ability to focus on optimizing their businesses for better performance
rather than keeping up with the latest technologies. You are always the
subject matter expert of your business. Work with others bringing their expertise to the table.

Focus on Experiences

Speaking of subject matter expertise, invest in relationships with your
customers. They are the ones living outside your bubble and have a more
honest view of the impressions your business is leaving with past, current
and potential customers. Customer conversations will enable you to learn
quickly if the care and service you believe you are delivering matches their
experiences.

Be sure to give your customers reasons to engage with you, framing it as a
win-win for both you and them by:

  • Being actively engaged in problem-solving to meet customer needs
  • Aligning your objectives with those of your customers
  • Meeting customers where they are via multiple communication touch
    points

Don’t forget to re-evaluate your processes periodically to improve your
offerings and continually deliver exceptional experiences customers will
value.

Communicate

Since many business operations are now remote, internal communication is
crucial as well. Your formalized process should include a clear division of
responsibilities (who owns this?) and project-specific communication
methods (who should be looped-in?).

When considering information sharing between team members, consider
how you can:

  • Provide a clear process to reduce confusion.
  • Create clear roles for each team member.
  • Apply mechanisms to control workflow within or between projects.

According to The Wall Street Journal, many companies have embraced
Slack and tools like it as a more efficient way to communicate. With
whatever tool is right for your group, be sure that information is distributed
to everyone appropriately and helps your team with decision-making in
service of their ultimate project goals.

Conclusion

Taking the time to map out internal processes within your company can be
a small time investment that really moves the needle. Consider ways to
automate processes, learn faster with fewer people, create peak moments
for customers and keep your team on track and in sync via clear
communication. We promise it will be time well spent.

RESOURCES

Here are a few resources to help you optimize your business for greater
efficiency and better results.

Articles

The Engagement Triangle provides a planning framework for anyone who
wants to design engagement programs and kickstart their culture.

Five Ways to Effectively Optimize Your Business Operations offers an
approach to tweaking and enhancing routine operations creates more time
for strategy while driving down overhead.

A Strategy Reboot for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs covers how
uncertain times demand that you tweak your business strategy.

How to identify problems in your workflow explores how many businesses
stick with failed methods and technology instead of taking time to
acknowledge, analyze, and address the real issues at hand.

Books

Clockwork draws on more than six years of research and real life examples to explain a simple approach to making your business ultra-efficient.

Built to Last offers a master blueprint for building organizations that will prosper long into the 21st century and beyond.

Start with Why provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.

Podcasts

After Hours — Harvard professors discuss news at the crossroads of business and culture.

Business Model Sandbox — Where leaders come to explore and test entirely new business models.

Honestly is available for marketing, advertising, design and software engagements. Learn more about our work by visiting Honestly’s homepage.

--

--

--

Humble thoughts around marketing, advertising and design from your friends at Honestly.co.

Recommended from Medium

Growth Guide: How to Build a Brand Development and Awareness Strategy

The 7 Best Marketing Tools for 2021

Why Ecommerce Businesses are Being Unsuccessful in Bangladesh: Part 2

How to Automate Your Sales Process to Improve Your Business

Social Media for Business: What You Need to Know

Social Media Marketing Strategy for Small Business

The Content System

3 Big Hospitality Email Marketing Questions Answered

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Shannon Twilley

Shannon Twilley

Delivery Coordinator at Honestly

More from Medium

4 Sales-Enablement Tools Built for Sales Reps, not Sales Managers.

The challenges of scaling supply onboarding for service marketplaces

How to Find a Mentor for Startup

Startup Mentor — The Startup Board

Product Update: Flagging Data