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Are Manual Processes Holding Your Business Back?

If you feel like “there’s an app for that” is a statement that has experienced exponential growth over the past decade, you are not alone. We are living in a world where we have endless technology at our fingertips. The question is - are you utilizing new technologies to automate processes within your business? Or do you feel like existing manual processes are holding your business back?

If you find yourself saying yes to the second question, keep reading. Here are 7 reasons why manual processes are preventing your business from reaching its full potential:

  1. Reduced productivity Manual processes are resource-intensive. Not only do they involve costs in the form of labor hours but time spent on manual processes divert employee effort away from higher-value activities. These high-value business activities are what drive business innovation and build revenue.

  2. Reduced profit It can take a significant amount of labor to complete manual processes, whether you pay employees or end up having to outsource work. It is also worth mentioning that manual processes often lead to errors which can be costly. Of equal importance, there are the opportunity costs. When all your efforts are focused on manual processes, you are missing out on new revenue earning opportunities.

  3. Slower response to market and customer needs When so much of your business is wrapped up in manual processes, it can be hard to respond to customer requests in a timely manner. Positive customer service experiences are directly tied to the timeliness of interactions with the business. Slow response times and inability to meet market needs can cost your business both current and potential customers.

  4. Increased errors Manual processes lead to data entry errors and a need to endlessly reinvent the wheel. Not to mention switching between manual tasks makes it difficult to focus which can contribute to inaccuracies.

  5. Lack of visibility into processes Manual processes are often inconsistent and difficult to track. When you are unaware of the finer details involved in a certain process it is difficult to point out inefficiencies which can impact your bottom line. Lack of visibility over manual processes can also make it hard to transition certain work to other employees when needed.

  6. Lack of flexibility If you are weighed down by manual processes, it can be difficult to adjust to the busy seasons in your business. You might also run into problems in growing your business if you have capacity issues and have to turn down opportunities for business growth and innovation.

  7. Difficulty in data-driven decision making Data helps you to make informed decisions as a business owner. The previous six examples illustrate how it can be hard to rely on the data generated from manual processes. When you lack confidence in the data, it is difficult to accurately analyze company operations in order to make strategic decisions.

It can be challenging to move away from manual processes. I have encountered many businesses that have started on the path of automation only to throw in the towel before they get to the end. Those manual processes might have served you well in the past and it is often painful to make changes. I get it, I’ve been there before in my own business. Don’t lose sight of the big picture; keep the end in mind as you’re working through the steps to automate areas of your business. Remember that it is okay to start small. Automating even one area of your business will be beneficial. Moving away from manual processes will take effort upfront but once automation is up and running, there is little effort to keep things moving along and you will have given yourself the time to focus on growing your business and reaping the rewards.


What is an area of your business that would benefit from automation? Or if you’ve already taken appropriate steps, what technologies have you found helpful in your business to assist in automating processes? Let us know!

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