Process automation is an essential strategy to any company, and particularly to small and medium sized businesses. In this article, we'll cover the benefits of process automation, and the all-too-common excuses that keep companies from adopting it.
"WE DON'T HAVE TIME OR RESOURCES FOR PROCESS AUTOMATION"
Small and medium sized business owners wear many hats. Sometimes, they wear all of them. Many business owners started their companies themselves, from the ground up. Each new hire was treated like a careful investment, and the team was built with great care.
When owners and managers hear about automation and process improvements, it sounds like something that only a larger more established business can discuss (and afford). It is often brushed off as a project that sounds great but is out of reach. The answer is too often to keep grinding and possibly hire an additional employee to take some of the workload off, give them a chance to look at the business from a higher level, and perhaps even take a vacation.
The truth is that the tools and services necessary for implementing workflow automations and process improvements have come way down in cost. This is due to more supply in the market. There is more competition, and many companies implementing those tools are offering help specifically to small and medium business owners. Often times these companies are small businesses themselves.
Process automation is no longer an elite concept with an astronomical cost that could never make a return for a small business. It's quite the opposite. You might be surprised at how much value you can find in many tools and at such a low cost compared to the immediate benefit. You may also be shocked at the opportunity cost that is tied up in owners and managers being too occupied with manual tasks.
"I DON'T SEE THE VALUE IN BUSINESS PROCESS AUTOMATION ... IS THERE ANY?"
Small and medium business owners need to compare the savings and potential savings along with the opportunity cost against the idea of just cutting costs or saving money. It is much more difficult and costly to implement automation processes in larger businesses where complex systems are already in place, and teams are resistant to change.
The hard truth is: you can't afford NOT to use Process Automation. Automation allows businesses to grow faster and deliver a better and more professional experience for customers. What's more, it allows staff to put time and resources towards working on other challenges or exploring other opportunities in the business.
The bottom line is this: if you don't automate, your competition will, and you'll be left in their wake. In hard times the lean and efficient survive longer and often emerge as the winners. A shift in focus from simply cutting spending to finding efficiency could very well be a game changer for many small and medium business owners. The trend towards this shift will increase in the coming months and years.
"I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO START"
Starting is often the toughest part. Small and medium business owners can do a few things to get the ball rolling. The quickest way to get started is to pay for help. Owners can get a quote and ask providers like PaintedRobot to discuss the benefits and value to their organization.
Owners can also look internally for help, and turn to their staff for ideas. Often, staff have great ideas for making improvements but no one has time to ask or implement many, if any, of these concepts. Owners can create bottom up processes that help them to develop better process and find efficiencies in all areas of the business. This can be difficult to organize and execute.
There are tools to help automate this process. You can, to a degree, automate and improve the process of automating and improving your processes. It sounds quirky but it's true.
Business owners can provide a culture that values improvements in efficiency like they do sales growth. They can showcase the value that has been added by making these improvements and even by offering rewards for efficiency found to create a holistic approach to compensation.
A company's team input matters. It can be challenging to find the time to improve in all areas when you are busy, overloaded, and growing. The potential for optimization through automation is there, it just often takes a team of experts to find it.