How We Create Simplicity & Structure With Process Optimisation and Workflow Automation

Last Updated: May 6, 2023By
process optimisation

As a business owner, you know that to ensure productivity and success, you should streamline certain aspects of your business. The perfect place to start is with workflow automation and process optimisation.

In this article, we’ll explore how workflow automation and business optimisation can help you run your business in a sustainable way while also providing simplicity and structure in your day-to-day operations.

First, let’s clarify what we’re talking about.

What Is Workflow Automation?

Workflow automation is the process of automating repetitive tasks within your business. Other terms for workflows are processes or SOPs (standard operating procedures).

Even if you haven’t formally written down any of your core business processes – they still exist. Because you still have certain steps you take to complete a given task, right?

That’s a workflow.

Workflows include everything from simple personal tasks to customer workflows and everything else you do as part of your daily operations and service or product delivery.

A Simple Workflow Automation Example

Workflow automation is just as it sounds – the act of automating your process. But you may not realise how powerful it can be, even with tasks that seem small and trivial. So let’s look at an example…

Let’s say you have a process you do in your business every week that has 6 steps. You create this as a to-do list in your ClickUp account (or other task management app) and delegate it to your VA.

The less-efficient way would be to go in manually each week and create the list of 6 steps, add all the details, assign the steps to your VA, and set due dates. This is a perfect candidate for automation.

In ClickUp, you can create a template for that task with all the sub-tasks, details, links, and information needed to complete it. You can even add subtask due dates and assign them to your VA, all right within the template.

Then, when you create the task using that template and set the final due date for the task, it will automatically adjust the sub-task due dates to fit the final due date you have selected.

The cherry on top is that you can then set the task to automatically recur weekly. This means instead of spending 10 minutes every week to create this workflow for your VA, you can now set it one time and it’s hands-off for you until you tell it to stop. Awesome, right?

How much time do you waste every day?

This example is a small process that doesn’t take much time to do manually. But try measuring the time you take each week to set it up and then multiply that by 52 weeks in the year. You’ll be surprised how much time you spend on such a small thing!

Then think about all the other tasks you do over and over in your business. How much time could you save if some or all of those were automated?

It’s easy for process inefficiencies like these to pile up over time. And the truth is, we usually just don’t notice until we purposely start to look.

So, are you starting to see the beauty of workflow automation?

While you think about that idea, let’s move on to process optimisation.

What Is Business Process Optimisation?

If you want to streamline your workflows, process optimisation may be what you’re thinking of. It’s when you reduce any unnecessary steps within your existing process or even remove entire tasks or processes altogether.

The goal is to reduce or remove as many process inefficiencies as we can.

As your business grows, it’s easy for a lot of extraneous tasks and steps to stack up that just become business-as-usual. But that doesn’t mean you really need to be doing them all. That’s where process optimisation comes in.

Let’s use the example used above. Perhaps you have a weekly recurring report your VA creates for you. For whatever reason, they’re actually recreating the report every week instead of just updating the existing one – which means you end up with two versions of this same report. And then three. And then four.

The solution to this is simple: Change your weekly task to update the existing report rather than create a new one.

This one is a really obvious example of inefficiency. But it helps you get an idea of what process optimisation is about.

When you go through and look at all the existing tasks within your task manager, you might be surprised to see how many …

  • Really don’t need to be there anymore
  • Can be easily incorporated into other existing tasks
  • Or can be deleted altogether

That’s the thing about workflow automation and process optimisation – it starts small but builds up quickly. When done well, the time savings and productivity-boosting can be epic!

Benefits Of Process Optimisation

The benefits of undertaking process optimisation and workflow automation are many, including increased productivity, reduced stress and confusion, and a greater sense of control and mastery in your business.

Here’s what that actually looks like in your day-to-day activities:

  • Improved business processes so clients don’t have to repeat themselves or ask the same questions every time they work with you (which also means fewer support tasks for you and more customer satisfaction).
  • A smoother workflow with less back and forth (and therefore less frustration) between your team members and yourself.
  • Less mental burden for you because when you offload items to your VA who can handle them efficiently and with little or no supervision from you – you can maintain focus on higher-value tasks like growing revenue and strategic planning.
  • An easy to maintain workflow that’s streamlined and less complicated.
  • More tasks completed on time. One benefit of which is that you have a consistent workflow instead of an inconsistent one where sometimes you have to chase things down to make sure they get done.
  • When workflow processes are simple, streamlined, and structured, the workload seems lighter. You and your team gain clarity about what needs to be done, can see the big picture better, and will feel like you know how everything fits together instead of feeling overwhelmed by too many outstanding tasks.

I could go on with this list for days – better customer care, enhanced customer experience, faster decisions, better employee experiences, thorough or streamlined onboarding, operational consistency, and better business outcomes just to name a few.

Hopefully, you’re starting to see that automation and process improvement can be pretty exciting! It feels good when there’s less busy work and more time to be productive. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

How To Start Process Optimisation And Workflow Automation

The first step is process analysis to identify your current critical operations processes or workflows:

  • What’s not working?
  • How could you make work easier?
  • What can you automate that you’ve never gotten around to?
  • How could you improve delivery?
  • What could be more efficient?
  • What processes are consuming or confusing to team members (or yourself)?
  • Where can you reduce back-and-forth communication?

Once you pinpoint where streamlining will have an impact, work through your workflow to see where improvements can be made.

Workflow automation and business process optimisation are all about minimising repetitive tasks – whether they’re daily, weekly, monthly or just require general upkeep.

The key here is to look at the steps involved in a task and determine what exactly needs to happen. Not just “write a blog post” but – research topic list, draft article, edit and proofread, add images/videos/media, publish the post, etc.

By breaking down these types of tasks into specific actionable items we can then start to find ways to automate them so that our workflow becomes efficient and effective – which means more time and less stress for everyone involved. And fewer hidden inefficiencies waiting to trip you up.

How We Create Simplicity And Structure With Process Optimisation And Workflow Automation

If you’re beginning to realise your business is not as efficient or productive as it could be, we would love to help you create workflows that support the streamlined business lifestyle you’ve dreamed of.

Our favourite workflows to streamline and automate include:

Learn more about how we can help you streamline your business with optimised processes and automated workflows right here.

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About the Author: optimise and grow
Optimise & Grow is a boutique business development consultancy and operations management team who work with online business owners to streamline, automate and optimise so that they can build, grow and scale their business efficiently. Our super-powers are customer experience optimisation, project management, leveraging data insights for business growth, and common sense. #fuelledbycoffee Connect with us here: INSTAGRAM | LINKEDIN | CONTACT

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