streamlining-business-operations	|	Photo Courtesy of When a project stagnates, you can feel it in your gut. Your timeline reveals little progress toward deliverables. The same questions keep coming up over and over, a sign that many of the people involved don’t understand how to use the tools provided. All of these suggest a process has become too long and involved, and needs to be streamlined.

For a small business, the key to streamlining everyday tasks is building a routine that helps you quickly complete them. Proactively address these maintenance tasks instead of waiting for them to become an emergency that will sidetrack your day. When you’ve decided it’s time to streamline an area of your business, start by assembling the basic parameters and tools you’ll use to establish a new routine or revise an existing one. Here are four basic steps to follow.

  1. Define what needs to be done: It may seem like common sense, but many people are content to wing it, rather than define the main elements of the process or project.
  2. Know when tasks needs to be finished by: Plot out the timeframe for the process or project so that you know what needs to be done on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
  3. Brainstorm a list of tools and resources: Jot down a list of necessary elements, from time and personnel to software and cloud services. Collaboration tools, for example, can help with streamlining team productivity. This helps to bring everyone’s ideas together, allows team members to work at different times and makes it easy to see real-time updates.
  4. Research solutions: As you build your routine, check out what’s new in the industry in terms of different technologies and cloud services. Find out what other SMBs are using, perhaps by polling your peer groups on sites like LinkedIn. See what works well for others and what you could implement to improve your business.

It’s easy to waste time by worrying about things instead of tackling them head-on. Building routines is a powerful strategy for overcoming small but stubborn barriers and reinvigorating stalled projects.

We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section. How have you streamlined an everyday business task? What tips do you have for building a rhythm in your work?