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A guide to improving the efficiency of your business workflows

When you are running a business, there are countless different actions you need to take to ensure your business continues to run smoothly and moves in the right direction. 

These actions include setting ambitious targets for your workforce, assessing the state of the market, and repositioning your company to suit changing economic conditions. However, one of the least talked about – and most vital – is to keep improving the efficiency of your business workflows. This is such a crucial action for you to take because simplifying processes makes them more efficient and helps you spot fundamental problems that need addressing.

Many business managers make the mistake of believing the answer to internal system problems is to throw more steps into the process, involve more members of staff or simply make it more complicated.

This is the worst action you can take because it muddies already murky waters. Any hope you had of identifying and overcoming the problem is dashed, and you will only suffer more problems in the future. If you are wondering how you can go about improving the efficiency of your workflows, here is a brief guide:

Ensure the underlying architecture is efficient

One of the best ways you can improve the efficiency of your business workflows is to ensure that every department’s underlying architecture is functioning properly. There is no point looking at a problem at a surface level if the real issues lie at the foundations, so it is sensible to start at the bedrock of your system and work your way out.

For example, if you were diagnosing a problem with your IT system, you may want to check whether the entire system needs an overhaul – for example, by switching to a microservices framework – rather than trying to fix one broken workflow.

Examine your workflows and eliminate any unnecessary complications

Once you have ensured that the underlying foundations of every workflow are functioning correctly and there is no more fundamental issue with the way you run your company, it is time to examine the workflows themselves to eliminate any unnecessary complications. 

The key to an efficient workflow is simplicity. The easier it is to complete a workflow. Generally, the better it will be. This is because each step will have been clearly designated for a reason and refined over countless iterations. 

Contrary to popular belief, it is easier to create a complicated system than a simple one because complication is the result of flawed reasoning and a lack of mastery over the subject matter. You can only cut the fat when you know what is vital and what isn’t, so take the time to examine each step of the workflow to see what you need to eliminate. 

Keep iterating your workflows over and over again

The key to success in business is iteration. Unless you are a one off genius, you cannot be expected to nail every workflow from the word go. Instead, you must constantly refine the formula through trial and error until you reach a point of extreme efficiency. To iterate properly, you need to approach the process like a scientist. Refine one step at a time until each element is as honed as it can be.

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