Save hours of time with robust systems and processes
Statistics show that 25% of small business owners struggle to grow their business due to lack of time, complaining that often almost half the working day is taken up on admin tasks such as finance, HR, IT and office management. One way to free up time for more productive tasks, like strategically obtaining new patients, is to recruit additional staff, but this comes at a cost. There is also outsourcing, effective, but also costly. Building robust systems and processes can save literally hours of time and more often than not, it’s FREE. So first ask yourself this question. How many hours per week do I spend on tasks that are not either directly related to earning fees or do not assist with the growth and development of my business? Make a note as this can be a starting point to track improvements.
Does it need to be done? And does it need to be you?Finance, HR, IT and office management are all essential parts of running a business, along with marketing and sales. Each area requires time spent day-to-day to keep things ticking over but how can you go about reducing that time to a minimum, first for you, but also for your staff?
1 – Eliminate unnecessary tasksOften a task is completely unnecessary so should be scrubbed off the to-do list.
2 – Determine who is best to deal with itOften a task can be delegated to someone else, your practice manager or assistant, perhaps.
3 – Decide if the task is being performed in the most effective wayIs there a quicker, easier, more time efficient way this task can be carried out?
Introducing systems and processes for better time managementKey to freeing up time, after Point 1 has been taken care of, is being able to rely on robust systems and processes making easier every task you and your team perform. Using systems and processes:
- Ensures consistency – a task is carried out in the same way each time.
- Reduces duplication – for thinking time and design of documents.
- Makes delegation easier – the same task can be delegated to staff and they will be able to produce the same results by following the process.
- Less room for error – as the system will have been tried and tested.
How to develop a good set of systems and processesThis is where you need to get your creative thinking hat on as systems and processes can be presented in any number of ways. The main thing though is that there is one and it can easily be followed. Here are a few simple ideas to get you started:
Design a procedures manualSimply, document every task that the business performs. Consider using:
- Flow charts for presentation
- Screen shots for clarity
- Bold colours for things that are important
Develop a bank of standard documents:
- Emails and letters – draft the most common replies to regular correspondence for re-use when required.
- FAQ’s – document the top say 50 patient FAQ’s with answers. This will save valuable time in repeating the same information. They can feature on your website and on handouts and leaflets to add value to your service whilst saving you time. Double bonus!
Use spreadsheetsThese help to ensure accuracy and using even basic formulas save time in making sums on a calculator or worse, in your head! Design templates for:
- Expense and mileage claims
- Petty cash expenses
- Holiday tracking
- Sickness tracking
DatabaseGet a good database to store patient contact details and important information.
- There are plenty of free ones but you may like to invest in a more sophisticated system to get the best usage.