Insights: Article

What Are Your Bad Processes Really Costing You?

By Shelley Earsley

April 14, 2017

I think we can all relate to bottlenecks and unproductive uses of time. There are just those “things” that make a project drag. They’re cumbersome and annoying. And they come at a hefty price to your business.

I recently came across an article on LinkedIn by Hootsuite’s Ryan Holmes. In it, he discusses how a $15 promotional item ended up costing the business more than $200 because of needless internal checks-and-balances.

In short, as their business grew, they outgrew their way of approving things. But no one had changed the process along the way.

These obstacles are, unfortunately, a part of doing business today. Managing the complexity of your business processes becomes increasingly complex the more you grow and scale. Depending on your systems, it can feel like a fight just to stay above water some days. But struggling to tread water is no way to run your business.

To quote Holmes:

“The problem with bad processes is that they institutionalize inefficiency: they ensure that things will be done the wrong way, over and over and over again. For that reason alone, it’s worth investing the time and resources to ferret them out.”


Whether it’s approving promotional spend as was Hootsuite’s case or more common issues like your billing, inventory management, or opportunity to cash flow, addressing your business’s bad processes will save you money – and a few headaches.

Fix Your Approval Process

Identifying the Bad & Broken

The problem with bad processes – and what makes them so universally relatable – is that they inherently go unaddressed for too long. They’re bad because they don’t work. They remain bad because no one is looking to fix them.

Bad processes are a drain to your team’s time and energy. It can be hard to pinpoint the exact vortex point.

Don’t institutionalize inefficiency in your organization. For any process, consider the time invested at each tier. Every layer of your business hierarchy comes at a cost. The more complex your process, the more it involves multiple tiers of approval or involvement, the more it ends up costing you.

Questions to Ask
  • Do you have multiple systems used to track your projects, accounting, inventory, and financial reports? Do these systems talk to each other?
  • Are there additional manual processes performed outside of those systems for tracking or reporting? How are they managed, how often are they updated, and how many team members are involved?
  • Is there an overlap or duplication of efforts to track these items across roles, teams, departments, or locations?
  • Are you able to actually see the data you need in real-time?
  • How often do you use your financial reporting? How long does it take to get the final product? Better yet, can you trust the numbers being reported?
  • Does your technology have the ability to scale as your business grows?

Learn More

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