Efficient business processes are crucial for success as a Solo PR Pro, but not all processes stand the test of time (eyes on you fax machine). You want to continue to grow and be effective and to do that it is important to routinely evaluate the processes that we use to get work done. Read on for three key strategies to determine if a process you are using needs to be retired, revised, or simply optimized for better results.
Evaluate the Objectives
It is important to think through your end goal. What result do you want to achieve with the process you are using? It is not always efficient to do something just because you have always done it in that way. Conversely, it does not always make sense to adopt something just because it is new and shiny.
Is the process still relevant? Business landscapes evolve, and what worked in the past may no longer be effective. Analyze market trends, customer expectations, and industry best practices to determine if the process remains valuable. For example, your reporting process may have involved manually gathering information and creating a powerpoint slide deck. However, you may already be using a tool, such as a media database, coverage report or SEO tool that can compile the information that your client wants to see using automation.
Is the process achieving its intended goals? Assess the process's performance metrics, such as efficiency, accuracy, client satisfaction, and cost-effectiveness. Identify any gaps between expected and actual outcomes to gauge its effectiveness. For example, you may hold weekly check-in meetings because it is what you have done for years. However, is that cadence necessary with every client? Are the meetings achieving the goals you set or is it a waste of you and the client’s time?
If the process fails to align with objectives or falls short in delivering expected results, it may be time to retire or revise it.
Analyze Process Efficiency and Resource Allocation
The second aspect to consider is the efficiency of the business process. Evaluate the workflow to identify any bottlenecks, redundancies, or unnecessary steps that hinder productivity. Focus on the following aspects:
Time and resource consumption. Determine if the process consumes excessive time, manpower, or financial resources. If it no longer justifies the investment, retiring or optimizing it may be necessary. For example, many of the technological tools that we use have added features. You may find that you are paying for multiple services that offer many of the same features. Evaluate the services that are essential, and eliminate some of the redundancies, by streamlining your subscriptions.
Integration and automation opportunities: Assess whether the process can be streamlined by leveraging technology. Automation and integration of tasks can significantly enhance efficiency and reduce human errors. Conversely, sometimes automation can be more complex and costly than a manual process. While we live in the age of technology, this does not mean that there is no place for manual processes.
By analyzing process efficiency and resource allocation, you can identify areas for improvement or replacement.
Seek and use feedback to drive improvements
Feedback from your clients, vendors, partners and if applicable your team, is a good way to honestly assess efficiency. If a process is cumbersome for clients or contractors, obtain feedback on what would work better. This allows you to make meaningful improvements that will add value to the services you deliver. For example, in your onboarding process you may be using a discovery process that relies on clients feeling out forms. If clients find the process burdensome, you may not get the information you need. This does not mean you have to retire the entire process but you may revise it to include a discovery meeting combined with a checklist of things you need.
By evaluating objectives, efficiency, resource allocation, and seeking stakeholder feedback, Solo PR Pros can make informed decisions about retiring, revising, or optimizing processes to stay competitive and meet evolving industry demands.
How do you evaluate your workflow and business processes? Share in the comments below or tag #solopr on social media.