When it comes to administrative tasks many small businesses, particularly solo entrepreneurs do these at night, at the weekend or when they could be out servicing clients. Admin is often a time consuming task, which if not done correctly the first time, is made even more demanding as errors are corrected.
One of the earliest lessons we share in business administration management is to streamline and process your administration so that you never waste time having to remember how to do it and when the time is right, can outsource your business admin to an admin professional.
Why streamline your admin process?
- To improve the efficiency of the whole process
- To share how it is done and lessen confusion/room for error
- Decrease the time admin takes
- Eliminate ‘bottlenecks’ in completing tasks
- Greater accuracy/up-to-date information
- To identify any training needs in relation to managing admin
- Comply with legislation
So where do you start?.....
Map out the steps of each administrative task
Who is responsible for completing the task? This may be easy to answer if you are a ‘one-man band’ tackling everything! However, if you have staff remember that communication is key! Ask those involved to write down what they do and when. It could be that they have their own suggestions and have already considered or taken steps to improve this process
Referring to the project management model, more specifically ‘dependency management’ is a good strategy. ‘A dependency is where a task, milestone or activity is dependent upon another task or milestone being completed before it can start or be completed and this is very much the case with most admin tasks.’
Who/What milestone is dependent on the task being completed and what ‘milestone(s)’ does it affect if it’s not completed within timescale or at all?
A simple example of this could be a customer contract. If a contract is not submitted on time then this could have an impact on the start date. Another example would be invoicing, many businesses spend a lot of time reconciling payments which can be automated and leads us nicely on to the next step...
3. Modern Technology
Modern technology and outsourcing opportunities offer many solutions for businesses. What tech systems are currently used? Could this task be outsourced? Could you streamline this with an automated system or a virtual assistant?
Research available products on the market, but remember, artificial intelligence may make a business more efficient but will never fully replace humans especially when clients are involved.
4. Frequency and time allocation
How often is this task completed versus how often it should be completed?
How long does this task take to complete from start to finish? Always take into consideration approval time.
This information is important if you are considering outsourcing or replacing the task with technology as it allows you to compare costs and calculate the potential saving.
What are the key improvements you are aiming for – it could be less time, a simplified approval process, more consistency or better use of advanced technology. Be honest, you may have certain tasks under control or you may want a complete administration overhaul!
It is important to manage any change smoothly. Ensure you gain buy-in from those involved or affected by this change. As I mentioned earlier, communication is key, involve the right people from the start, collate their ideas and listen to any concerns
6. Quick Wins
Once you have mapped out the above you are likely to come across inefficient processes and obvious areas of improvement. Consult the responsible owner of the task and implement some ‘quick wins’. Sometimes a few simple changes will make the process faster and more efficient.
Set deadlines on the quick wins. It’s important you monitor any improvement so no additional time is wasted.
To keep your team engaged appoint subject matter experts to share their knowledge.
Remember…. wearing several hats isn’t always sustainable, particularly as your business grows. Using automated software or outsourcing to a skilled team of administrators will give you greater flexibility, increase your visibility and allows you to focus on what you do best – growing your business!