Why do SMBs Fail at Process Improvement? A Lack of Focus, and Impatience

Here is the Big Catch-22 for SMB managers: They have a clear need to adopt time-saving tools, but struggle to dedicate the time to implement them properly. Fancy new processing tools languish because it takes too much effort to change employee habits to use them properly.

Our advice: Curb your enthusiasm and pick a simple place to start. There are a lot of processes that could benefit from being automated, but you must find the one that you and your staff see as most promising.

Here?s the trick, though: You must be strong! Don?t allow folks to backslide into old habits. Down that backsliding path is lost time and money. Stay on top of the employees who are supposed to be benefiting from the improvements. Cheer their successes! Do not add another implementation before the first one proves its worth by becoming second nature.

Jason Busch, who edits a site called Expense Matters, suggested that SMBs keep it simple by also choosing new business process solutions that integrate well with existing systems: ?it could be a provider that offers tight connections into existing small business accounting systems (such as QuickBooks) as well as a broader platform for the management of receivables and collections?? (Find the article here.)

Starting small also gives you the chance to prove that new tools work, which should build enthusiasm among the staff for the next step. Then you might even be able to let someone else champion the second project.

You are strapped for resources, and you wear six or seven ?hats? within your company. Automating some of your processes can help find that extra time to be ?strategic? but to achieve that goal you will still have to pick your spots and prioritize where to focus your energy.

What do you think? Are you a small or mid-sized business that has struggled with implementing new processing tools? What hindered your success? On the other hand, what successes have you had that taught you useful lessons in how to break the Catch-22 and get new processing tools fully adopted?

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