Identifying and Managing Bottlenecks in Business

 

In our recent #QBOchat, we discussed bottlenecks in businesses: how to identify them and how to eliminate them. Bottlenecks pose major problems with productivity and revenue, so being able to quickly tackle them can be particularly valuable.

How do you identify a bottleneck in your process? Bottlenecks almost always happen as a result of inefficiency. You may find yourself asking for the same information repeatedly. Without it, you’re unable to move forward in the business due to factors such as lack of cash, uncertainty of the next practical step, etc. As Funding Gates points out, a business owner’s biggest pain points usually lead to the discovery of a bottleneck.

What advice do you have for someone struggling to manage a bottleneck? Teamwork and good communication are essential here; get everyone together to brainstorm possible solutions and welcome various points of view. Remember to identify the cause of the bottleneck and encourage forward thinking rather than falling back on preformed habits. Don’t be afraid of change, because evolving with the times generally results in better efficiency. Encourage everyone to get involved- not only will they learn not to fear change, they’ll provide their own input and be personally invested to help everyone get on the same page.

What systems do you use to create efficient processes? There are plenty of great programs and add-on tools available to aid in task management and workflow. While your favorite will depend on your business’ individual needs, most tend to agree that Google Docs and Sheets easily facilitate collaboration across the board. It’s imperative that you and your colleagues cross-train on each of your preferred programs to promote versatility, because you never want to have critical knowledge possessed by only one person.

How can you engage employees so they can help prevent bottlenecks? This is where having an open-door policy can payoff, because it fosters an environment where everyone feels comfortable enough to voice ideas and opinions. By considering differing feedback, you’ll glean helpful ideas and options. Place value in all productive, constructive feedback and promote teamwork success as a whole while assigning ownership. As Scott Clark points out, providing support and ownership is crucial to driving effective results.

How can accountants help clients manage their bottlenecks? This doesn’t have to be complicated. Bill Kennedy advises you to simply ask clients about their biggest pain points. Paying special attention to these issues can be a critical part of fixing bottlenecks in a business. Clients who often pay late can indicate a variety of problems with cash flow, customer service and a weak Accounts Receivable department, amongst many other major issues.

Be more than “just their accountant.” Accountants should prioritize communication by remembering to ask how things are flowing and encouraging necessary change where needed. Provide sound advice and recommendations for stronger processes. Provide health checks along with regular tips in the form of emails or newsletters to remind business owners of current trends and successful practices for their industry. Strong communication, allowing everyone to provide feedback, and being advised by a diligent advisor will often help solve routine bottlenecks in business before they become unmanageable problems.

That’s all for this week, but we have other great chats coming up. Keep up with everything current with QuickBooks Online by joining us for our weekly fun and informative #QBOChat every Thursday at 3:00pm EST. We welcome all types of QuickBooks users, from small business users, accountants, developers and many others. Don’t forget to sign up for our weekly reminder email so you can join in on this great opportunity to learn and discuss the most pressing issues in the industry. We look forward to chatting with you soon!

Looking for the transcript from this tweetchat? Here you go!

QBOchat Admin

#QBOchat began in July 2013 with the simple idea to host a weekly Twitter conversation around QuickBooks Online (QBO). We have since grown into a very strong community comprised of a diverse group of users. Our weekly tweet chat is held each Thursday at 3:00PM Eastern. The discussions cover a wide range of topics including QBO’s latest features and updates, business operation tips and apps that integrate with QBO, to name just a few.

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