You don’t always have to recruit new team members in order to start boosting performance.
For an entrepreneur, the decision to expand a business isn’t something that can be taken lightly. There are factors to consider during business expansion. Is it the right time to branch out to new markets? Is the existing team capable of sustaining the company’s growth? Is it time to add new members to the team?
All of these factors bring different consequences, particularly consequences that affect the company’s bottom line. Growing the team and adding new team members will inevitably increase the company’s overhead costs, which may make the decision to grow more challenging in the long run.
However, you don’t always have to recruit new team members in response to the growth in operations. In fact, there are more things you can do before you need to make that decision to recruit new people. In this article, we are going to focus on the two things that you can use as an entrepreneur: simplifying workflows and automating tasks.
Choose a Method
If you aren’t using a particular approach to manage processes and workflows, now is the perfect time to start. As you see rapid growth in the horizon, having that ability to look at the big picture is a huge plus. You can manage workflows optimally when you have all the information.
There are plenty of methods and approaches to choose from, but the one to use if you are a small operation is known as Kaizen. This is a principle first used by Toyota to improve its manufacturing line. Kaizen means actively improving bad parts of a workflow for long-term growth.
The Kaizen approach can be paired with the use of Kanban boards. Kanban itself is a method of visualizing tasks in a complex workflow. With every task visualized on the board, you can spot potential bottlenecks and take steps to resolve them sooner.
Focus on Simplifying Tasks
Some workflows are complex by nature, but they don’t always have to be complicated. As you begin visualizing your tasks and turn processes into Kanban boards, you will get a better view of which tasks are too complex to manage.
These tasks can either be broken down into smaller tasks or simplified further. The latter is usually easier, especially now that you know exactly where the bottlenecks exist. You can review the task and reduce the steps required to complete them.
For example, you can cut the time required to file a purchase order by eliminating multiple manual approvals along the way. As long as the purchase orders are based on customers’ orders, the process can be simplified to just one or two steps.
Automate Where It Matters
Automation is your friend when it comes to boosting performance without adding new members to the team. Through automation, you can eliminate mundane and repetitive tasks. As a result, team members can focus on more important tasks and operate at a higher capacity.
The previous example of managing purchase orders is also a great example of automation. You can automate purchase order generation by connecting the process with data from sales. When there are more orders to fulfill than there are items in your inventory, a PO is automatically generated.
Can you see how automating just this one task can increase efficiency by a substantial margin? There are plenty of tasks like this to automate across your existing processes. You just have to pay close enough attention to spot them.
Do It Right
Speaking of automating tasks, you also want to make sure that all tasks are automated using the right tools and based on the correct insights. You don’t just want to automate for the sake of automating tasks. What you want is for the automation to effectively boost performance.
This means setting up the right triggers and making sure that the automated tasks are set up properly. Automation can also be implemented in a more comprehensive way, including in a way that allows manual input at certain phases to allow for greater control.
Kanbanize, a popular Kanban board platform, lets you automate tasks in different ways. For example, you can automate the creation of a new Kanban card when a specific task reaches the Done phase. This type of automation streamlines your workflows even further.
It is also worth noting that you may not get simplification and automation of tasks right on your first go; that’s perfectly fine. Review the data and insights gathered from different parts of the workflow and continue improving the processes until you reach maximum efficiency.
That’s when you know that you need to start adding new members to the team; when you have reached the maximum capacity and efficiency level after simplifying your workflows and automating certain tasks. At this point, making the decision to expand the team – and the operation of your business – will be much easier to do.