When it comes to running a business, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. From being understaffed to running into legal issues, there’s a lot that could cost you money and throw a wrench in the works. When things are operating as you feel they should, though, you may not worry about the money and time you’re losing, but you should be. From employees wasting company time on Facebook to departments using the wrong tools or no tools at all, there are several common bottlenecks your company could be facing.
Bottlenecks can occur in any area of your business for various reasons, and if you’re not aware of them and working to correct them, your business could be seriously hurting without you even realizing it. While every business will experience a bottleneck at some point or another, there are a few common bottlenecks that you should be aware of and start fixing right away if your business is experiencing any.
Having Too Many Ideas/Expectations
Every company needs visionaries and dreamers, and those tend to be the people in charge. While having dreams, ideas, and expectations are what fuels businesses forward, it can also be what stalls progress and even holds them back. Too many ideas and expectations can create competing priorities, confusion, and can stop any and all ideas from moving forward. Instead of trying to accomplish them all at once, visionaries should take things one step at a time, create timelines, and set goals to help them achieve everything they want to without stalling progress.
Paying and Accepting Payment via Paper Check
Believe it or not, certain practices like paying and accepting payment via paper check can be holding up your workflow and causing unnecessary bottlenecks. It seems like something simple, but because of the time it takes to cut a physical check, address and mail it, then wait for it to arrive and be cashed before it can be recorded, paper checks can cause a lot of hang-ups. Instead, your company should use a tool like eChecks that allows you to create and send checks via email almost instantly, so there’s less time spent putting things together and less time spent waiting.
Leaderships’ Inability to Make Decisions
Decision making is critical to running a business, but sometimes managers and other people in positions of leadership may not have the confidence or ability to make the decisions they need to keep things moving forward. In such cases, bottlenecks are created because nothing gets done or too much time is spent waiting to hear back from someone else that has been asked to decide on their behalf. Offering training and classes on decision making and properly empowering your leaders to make the decisions that they need to can help you avoid bottlenecks and keep things moving forward.
Lack of Communication
Communication is key to any relationship, and workplace relationships are no exception. If your employees aren’t communicating with each other, there is a lot of information being lost that could save time, money, and effort. Additionally, if you’re not communicating well enough with your employees, bottlenecks are being created. People may not always know exactly what it is they need to do and may spend too much time guessing or waiting around for more info.
Instead of leaving your staff to communicate as they see fit, offering training on proper communication and doing what you can to open lines of communication will help you avoid bottlenecks and help your business start to run more efficiently.
Being Under or Overstaffed
Both understaffing and overstaffing are problems that can create issues and hold-ups. Not having enough staff could mean that things get backed up and that you fall behind but having too much staff could mean that employees are sitting idly, wasting time and money, and potentially distracting other employees wasting even more. Ideally, you should hire or make cuts as necessary until you’re adequately staffed. Finding the right staffing levels can be difficult, and your business may not have too many issues if you’re only slight over or understaffed but having far too few or too many staff members can cause you trouble in multiple areas.
Outdated Technology and Equipment
According to a poll, 66 percent of small businesses would fail without wireless technology, yet some businesses are still operating using equipment that is outdated and continually falling behind. Whether it be the computers you use, your IT systems, your storage software, or anything else, using outdated technology and equipment can cause hold ups and bottlenecks that are seriously costing your business. As expensive as it may be to upgrade every few years, keeping up with tech is worth it.
Even if you don’t realize it, your company is likely experiencing one of these or other common bottlenecks and could be costing you time, money, and progress. What are you doing to catch and correct the bottlenecks within your operation?