Steps for Developing an Effective Workflow
The idea of introducing a well-defined workflow mechanism in a small business often creates fear and confusion among business owners. However, it has been seen that introducing or revising the workflow helps in improving the overall efficiency of the business and improves the bottom line. The key to creating an effective workflow is understanding the requirements and needs of the business. A well-thought and optimally implemented workflow can further help in improving the communication among the team, while ensuring the tasks are completed on time.
In this post, we’ll look at the steps needed to develop an effective workflow for your small business.
Step 1: Understand the Goals & Objectives of the Business
Before introducing any workflow, it is important to first understand the overall goals and objectives of your small business. As everyone in the team will be working in sync towards the goals, it is essential that everyone is on the same page.
Furthermore, it is important to understand what can help you in attaining the objectives. For instance, if the need of the hour is to improve customer retention, the workflow must enable team members to take the necessary steps in that direction.
Step 2: Decide the Areas You Need to Work On
The next step is to decide the areas where you need to work on and develop the workflow. After understanding the objectives of the business, you need to decide what are the areas where the workflow needs to be worked upon. For instance, if the objective is to improve customer retention, the areas could be customer support, sales process or marketing. You can also create separate workflow for each area or create a singular workflow that envelops all the areas.
It is important to remember that all the steps and processes must be aimed at attaining the overall business objectives.
Step 3: Creating an Outline for the Workflow
After deciding the areas where the workflow will be implemented, the next step is to create an outline for the workflow. The more detailed outline you have, the better it is for you. The steps and processes in the workflow must be clear and to the point, so that everyone in the team can understand it.
Furthermore, the workflow must also emphasize on team collaboration, so that everyone in the team can work in unison and be on the same page. Make sure that the roles of each team member are clearly defined and that they have a clear idea of the steps and processes involved in implementing the workflow.
Step 4: Assigning a Team Leader
When creating a workflow, it is important to assign a leader or manager to lead the team and guide them through the process. The role of the leader is to ensure that the workflow is implemented as per plan and especially when there are changes to be made. The leader must be able to provide business-oriented advice to the team, while ensuring that the team stays focused on the goals and objectives of the business.
The leader must also be well versed with the workflow and must ensure that everyone in the team follows it. Furthermore, the leader must be able to step in and take decisions in case of a discrepancy or disagreement between the team members.
Step 5: Making the Necessary Changes
Once the workflow is introduced, it is important to review it on a periodic basis and make any necessary changes. This review process must be continuous, as there may be instances where new processes need to be introduced or old ones modified. Using its experience and knowledge, the team leader can decide if a workflow needs to be modified as per the changing needs of the business.
It is also important to remember that some processes may take time to become effective, especially when there are drastic changes in the processes. If a process is not giving the expected results, it is important to understand the reason and make modifications as per the situation.
Step 6: Measurement & Tracking
The last step in developing an effective workflow is to ensure that it is tracked and measured on a regular basis. This is especially important if the objective of the workflow is to improve customer retention or sales.
Using the tracking and measurement tools, the team leader and the team members can monitor the progress and take corrective measures if needed. Tracking the workflow can also help identify bottlenecks, so that the necessary measures can be taken to bridge the gaps.
Creating an effective workflow for a small business is important in order to improve the efficiency of the business. By understanding the goals and objectives of the business, deciding the areas of improvement and creating an outline for the workflow, assigning a team leader, making necessary changes and tracking the workflow, a small business can ensure that the workflow is effective and yields the desired results.