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How to Scale-Up Your Business Operations

Updated: Feb 7

“Everything can be improved.” – Clarence W. Barron

For most organisations and business leaders, there comes a time when your business has grown, and you realise that you need to simplify operations to be able to scale your business growth.

Business transformation and Change Management are terms which are fused and discussed at length throughout the corporate landscape, but for you, the entrepreneur and small business owner, who has personally toiled in virtual (and sometimes real) blood, sweat and tears, transforming and simplifying your business is a critical step to growing your business, improving your process efficiency and having the ability to develop your operating structure to boost performance.

After all, you’ve conquered your business idea which for some, is one of the most significant achievements for initial business success, and you’ve overcome numerous challenges following your initial business idea to be able to maintain cash flows, recruit a team and manage all aspects of your business, to be ready to now achieve a stable platform that is ripe for a scaling your business operations.

The feelings you may have can resonate with a quote coming out of Davos 2016, held by the World Economic Forum. “The biggest impediment to a business's future success is its past success!” - Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal.

Perhaps valid for anyone considering business and digital transformation efforts as we fast approach 2020 and a new decade, from entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 enterprise leaders.

Identifying Your Operations Process Scope

To fully understand your operating model, you should have a good idea of what you do, and the process and systems your team follow on a daily and weekly basis.

Map out a list of everyone’s processes from clocking-in at the beginning of the day to logging off any systems at the end of the day. Ensure you have a comprehensive business scope across all areas of your business operating model, typical in those daily operations – such as sales, digital marketing, product innovation, customer relationship management, HR, IT set-up, data backups, legal, finance and customer service – don’t forget security and access control.

Once you have an idea of the processes and systems used across your business operations, start to map out the steps for each process, even on paper or electronically. You will realise that there are process similarities and areas that take longer than others for you and the team to manage.

These are areas that would be ideal for automating if possible.

Process standardisation is another area where technology and systems automation is a benefit and is worth your consideration. Management reporting, accounting systems and departmental procedures may have various unique qualities, but there will likely be several portions of daily operations which are intrinsically linked, i.e. financial processes and user interfaces throughout the company.

Optimise Your Processes with Technology

Using and investing in software and technology automation will help you to simplify and standardise your business process and systems, therefore saving time and money in the long run, which will only help to support your financial commitments and business growth ambitions.

We are big fans of technology, and IT and using cloud computing is one of the crucial areas for you to consider as you develop your business transformational plans.

  • Where are your strengths?

  • Where are your weaknesses?

  • How can each be addressed as part of your business scalability?

Answer these questions by looking at the risk/reward scenarios involved. Identifying and clarifying processes in-scope must be accomplished before taking the next step to automating and transforming your business. Look at ways to utilise the latest technology to automate the appropriate daily operations processes.

One such example of advancing, improving efficiencies and streamlining business operations is to engage in creating automated data feeds and transfers to enable the secure transmission of critical business information. Perhaps you manually add all your customer leads on a spreadsheet or process your orders using a manual order pad.

By automating these types of everyday process, you will have the ability to computerise and combine software capabilities. Benefits will be quicker capture and process time, and if you are currently dependent on team members conducting a manual data exchange from one software to another (which is exposed to human error and is an ineffective use of human capital), you will also benefit from optimising your workforce and ensure they are working as efficiently as possible.

Our recommendation would be to explore and search for a small business IT consulting specialist that will be able to support you with either the interface development between your current software or help you explore the market to identify a more encompassing business end-to-end process technology capability.

Engage Your Teams

It’s not always about cost savings, giving people the right tools to do their jobs and help them feel a sense of achievement is also another essential element to technology adoption. We are surrounded by technology in our everyday lives, therefore make sure you can delight your team members with your technological offerings.

In your quest for streamlining your business operations and focusing everyone’s effort on process efficiencies, you will benefit from bringing your team on your transformational journey and helping them to understand the rationale behind any upcoming change management efforts.

Regular and concise communications are essential in any way that works best for your business. Some people use WhatsApp, and others have a daily stand-up meeting or prepare a weekly newsletter to share with the team. Do what works for you and the team, try one way, and if it doesn’t work, change it.

By engaging the team as part of your business change effort, you will be able to maximise all their valuable input and create your internal consulting machine. A few ideas could be to run brainstorming sessions or specialist focus groups for essential information sharing.

If there isn’t anyone within the company to facilitate the proceedings, you may want to bring in an outside supplier to conduct these research pieces. Professionals trained for this may be able to elicit comments from employees more comfortable than you can yourself.

Once you’ve started your process simplification, systems optimisation and business transformation efforts, you will realise it’s an iterative process, especially as technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality will become more cost-effective and available in the marketplace. By continuing investing and planning your technology automation initiatives, you will ensure your business operations are as economical and streamlined as they can be.

Ready to Simplify Your Business Operations

It's pivotal for a business to have autonomous teams and streamlined business processes and procedures to provide the best chance of ongoing business success and scalability. If you're still struggling to build your business, check out our future scale-up articles for even more help.

To learn more about Noirwolf Consulting team, and how we can help you scale your business operations, contact us today.

Noirwolf Consulting is a global strategy and management consulting firm in Leeds. Noirwolf works with the UK and international clients to develop their comprehensive strategic plans and business transformation. We help entrepreneurs, small and mid-size business with creating business plans, optimise operations performance and productivity to grow their businesses.

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