Most of us are familiar with the trusty to-do list: a quick reference of all of the activities you need to do each day to make progress in your life, job or side project.
As the business owner, how do you manage the to-do lists of your team members to ensure they’re working at their most productive?
The answer for most people is that they don’t – instead they let the team manage their own tasks. Nobody likes to be micromanaged, after all.
There are a few challenges with this approach…
1. How do you know that your team members are working on the things that will bring your business the best results?
Your team members may look like they’re super busy and getting loads done. Their to-do lists could be impressively long and they seem to whizz through them. But are they working on tasks that are actually making you any money? Or are they spending the majority of their time on trivial things? Being busy is not the same as being productive.
2. Who takes responsibility for each task?
If it’s not 100% crystal clear within your team who is responsible for each task, there’s a chance that those tasks will slip through the net entirely.
If something gets missed, the blame game starts – but regardless who’s at fault, everybody suffers if the business loses a customer.
3. What happens when a team member goes on holiday?
Do their tasks get completed, or just forgotten about until they return?
It’s not uncommon for a team member to rely on their own memory to store customer details. But this is a huge liability for your business. What happens to that data when that team member is absent from work, or decides to leave your company?
4. As your team grows, how do new team members know what to work on?
Regardless of their experience, new team members will usually need training before they can start to add value to your business. But who is going to train them? If it’s an existing member of your team, what impact will this have on their own to-do list?
How can bespoke software solve all these problems?
All of these problems actually stem from a single underlying root cause: all humans make mistakes. Software can reduce and remove the likelihood of human error.
All of these issues mentioned above (and more) can be solved with a single software solution, and bespoke software will do this in exactly the right way for your business and your team.
How do we automate our clients’ to-do lists?
1. Build a list of all the day-to-day tasks
We chat with each member of the team to determine what tasks they perform on a day-to-day basis.
2. Put them in order of value to the business
As we’re results-driven, we focus our efforts first on the tasks that either:
- Produce the biggest value when they’re completed (e.g. sales tasks, invoice tasks, service renewals, etc)
- Inflict the biggest pain if they’re NOT completed (e.g. compliance tasks, insurances, tax-related tasks).
It’s also important to identify which things take the longest to complete. If we can automate the entire task – it wouldn’t even need to be on the to-do list!
Imagine if we automate a 15-minute task that happens four times per week – this saves our client roughly 4 hours every month. That’s 48 hours saved each year, from one single task. And this happens more often than you might think!
With the business owner involved in this discussion, it’s usually very easy to pick out the best tasks that can provide enormous value.
3. Get developing
We build the software to automatically determine:
- When each task should appear and when it becomes due / overdue.
- How to pick up when the task has been completed.
- Who’s responsible for completing the task. This may be an individual, or the team may be split up by role.
We ensure that all tasks can be found easily in one central place. Any member of the team can turn up to work and know exactly what they need to do that day – even if they’re new to the business.
But I can already do this with <Insert Tool Here>!
If you’ve already implemented an off-the-shelf tool to manage your workflow, that’s great. Many businesses find that free or low cost off-the-shelf tools help them with their needs. Not every business needs bespoke software.
However, it would be worth reviewing your solution to make sure you’re getting the most out of it.
How well does this tool integrate with your other software?
- For example, if your next task is to email a customer, does the tool pick this up automatically?
- Does it pull the customer’s email address from your CRM, or do you need to look it up manually?
- What if you need to generate a document to attach to the email? Does it do this for you, or is there a manual step?
If the answer is no to any of these questions, you could be wasting valuable time.
Does your team enjoy using the tool, or does it feel like a chore?
Unfortunately, using off-the-shelf software often means that if you don’t like how something is designed or built, you have no control over it.
Using software needs to be easier and more enjoyable than just grabbing a piece of paper, otherwise the temptation is always there to fall back to an old-fashioned method. Before you know it, there’s never enough time and too much left to do.
Where is your data kept?
Could you easily get access to it if the software vendor went bust?
What’s their customer support like?
We’ve encountered business owners and companies who have lost access to their data because the software vendor went bankrupt or decided to stop supporting a system, with no warning.
How do you currently manage you and your team members’ to-do lists? If any of these challenges sound familiar to you, Contact Us.