With terms like automation, efficiency, and productivity taking center stage in business conversations today, it’s safe to say that time has become a pretty precious commodity. Just Google “save time at work,” and you get over 800 million hits.
People are yearning to eliminate cumbersome business processes and free up time to focus on more meaningful work. And that means you, as a business leader, have to be willing to challenge the status quo. You can no longer sit by while your employees waste time on tedious tasks and clunky workflows. To see real success, you have to streamline your business.
Of course, like many endeavors in business and in life, that’s easier said than done. And the first big question is this: Where do you start?
If you’re not sure, I have a few ideas. Here are 4 business hacks you can implement to save time and boost productivity across your organization:
Hack 1: Declutter Your Managers’ Inboxes
Getting to inbox zero is a near impossibility for most of us, but there are ways to successfully cut down on the clutter. For instance, you can avoid a heap of random and inconsistent emails by simply using a form builder like Formstack to gather and process information. Case in point: KleenMark used Formstack to create a new hire request form and eliminated over 2,000 back-and-forth emails in the process.
Online forms can bring necessary standardization to your workflows by automating menial tasks and streamlining approvals. For example, you can create online job applications, reimbursement request forms, and IT service request forms that seamlessly collect the information you need and house it in an accessible database (so you don’t have to sift through confusing email strings to find important data). You can also equip these forms with Approval Workflow, which allows appropriate managers to be automatically notified—via a standard and consistent email—when their approval is needed.
Hack 2: Eliminate Unnecessary Meetings
No one likes to waste time in a meeting that could have been avoided—and doing this too often can seriously hinder productivity. Luckily, keeping meetings to a minimum is actually easier than you might think. You just need to adopt some intuitive information-gathering tools.
First up: a form builder. Online forms can serve as a great meeting replacement if used correctly. For instance, you can use a project proposal form to gather details on proposed projects before ever sitting down for a meeting. After reading through the details, you might decide a project isn’t worth pursuing anyway, and you will have avoided meeting unnecessarily.
You can use a similar online form to let departments in your organization request services from each other. For example, Formstack’s Experience Team uses this project request form to gather details on requests from other teams. Collecting requests this way allows our Experience Team manager to easily review and prioritize projects on her own time without the interruption of a meeting.
Using a task-management tool like Jell can also help you eliminate unnecessary meetings. Jell allows your team to publish daily or weekly statuses (as well as goals) that can keep everyone on the same page without meeting to discuss to-dos.
Hack 3: Automate New Customer Registrations
At the end of the day, we all know that our business has to make money to succeed. But what we fail to consider is how important workflow automation can be to our business’s profitability. Finding ways to streamline business processes related to new customer acquisition can help marketers attract more potential customers, sales reps close more deals, and finance specialists process more customer payments.
So how do you automate new customer registrations? For starters, make it easy for people to indicate interest in your company, such as through an accessible contact form or online event registration form. Then, integrate your online forms with a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to automatically route lead data into the system for your sales team. Finally, set up online subscription payments for your customers so the money transfer is quick, secure, and accurate.
Hack 4: Keep Important Information Organized and Accessible
Making sure employees know how and where to find certain information on your company’s systems can be a huge time saver for your business. This might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many companies struggle in this area.
Using web-based tools like Confluence, Google Drive, Trello, and Formstack can do wonders for your information’s organization and accessibility. With Formstack, you can group frequently used forms into standardized folders that employees can quickly and easily locate. And you can store form submission data in a centralized and secure database that your team can access from anywhere.
Implementing time-saving hacks like workflow automation doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, at Formstack, we work to make it easy. Want to learn more about using Formstack to streamline business processes and save time? Click below to take a closer look at how one company does it.