By Larry Alton, Manta Expert
January 16, 2019

If your business is like most, it experiences its fair share of inefficient processes. Identifying and overcoming them will be key in your future growth.

When it comes to running a successful business, efficiency plays a major role in growth and profitability. Every business class you’ve ever taken or seminar you’ve ever sat through has emphasized the importance of streamlining processes in an effort to maximize productivity and produce reliable value for your clients. But as hard as you may try, you can’t seem to get your business where it needs to be to enjoy optimal profitability.

“Inefficiencies can result in frustrated staff, breaches in compliance, missed deadlines and lost or misplaced paperwork. This inevitably leads to decreased company growth and increased costs,” entrepreneur Yaakov Smith writes. “In fact, the Pareto Principle, which can be applied in a number of ways, suggests that 80 percent of your company’s negative results are due to 20 percent of your inefficiencies.”

By one account, inefficiencies cost organizations as much as 20 to 30 percent of their revenue each year. In other words, it’s not if your inefficiencies are costing you – it’s how much.

For services businesses that primarily depend on delivering fast, reliable, high-quality services to clients, the following inefficiencies are particularly costly:

1. Slow Computers

Is there anything more frustrating than a slow computer? Technology issues in the office can hold your business back in multiple ways and it’s important that you deal with them as quickly as possible.

One of the most common issues seen in small businesses is a lack of updated technology. And when technology is updated, it isn’t always dealt with appropriately. For example, if you use Macs in your office, you likely know that there’s a new operating system update: macOS Mojave. What you may not know is that there are some common issues with Mojave that may slow you down. If you’re going to update, you also need to be prepared to deal with these issues.

The same goes for software – whether on-premise or through the cloud. Software needs to be updated as new versions are available, but there has to be a plan in place for adjusting to new features and dealing with unforeseen issues. Otherwise, technological modernization can weigh you down more than it pushes you forward.

2. Poor Digital Communication

There is no substitute for good communication in a business. When communication is substandard, everything else falls apart. Customers’ wishes don’t get relayed to the appropriate parties. Feedback falls on deaf ears. There’s poor attention to detail, missed meetings, and frustrations eventually boil over.

Unfortunately, email is highly inefficient in most offices. It’s distracting, spammy, and notorious for being unreliable. If you want to streamline your efforts, you should consider replacing traditional email processes with a simple app like Slack.

3. Lack of Integration

Contrary to popular belief, more technology isn’t always the answer for small businesses. While a certain app, software, or piece of equipment may promise to streamline a particular task, you have to consider whether it’ll play nicely with your existing tech stack. In other words, will it integrate?

Integration issues can create unintentional bottlenecks by requiring you to do things like enter data twice, look in multiple places for information, or manually override part of a task that should be totally automated. Always double check for compatibility before investing in new technology.

4. The Wrong Data Backup Strategy

Does your business have a plan for backing up data and maintaining business continuity in the face of a disaster?

“Tossing a backup drive onto desktops is not the way to store data. Using tape drives or an external hard drive on your server isn’t the way either,” Accent Computer Solutions notes. “An effective backup system is part of an overall business continuity and security strategy. It should be centralized, automated, and not dependent on a human touching it to work.”

Be Proactive

It’s tempting to sit by and let things play out, but when it comes to technological inefficiencies within business processes and systems, you need to nip these problems in the bud. Rarely does an inefficiency only impact a single element of your operations. In most cases, it has a trickle-down effect on several areas. By proactively dealing with them on the front end, you can avoid negative ramifications in the long run