What Your Bad Processes Are Really Costing You


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 lesser-known, they come at a hefty price to your business.

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

In Short: As Their Business Grew and Changed, They Outgrew Their Way of Approving Things. but No One Changed the Approval Process Along the Way.


These obstacles are, unfortunately, a part of doing business today. Managing your business processes becomes increasingly complex as your business scales and changes over time. Depending on your internal 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.

Identifying Your Bad & Broken Business Processes

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 processes because no one is focused on fixing them.

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

Don’t institutionalize inefficiency in your organization. For any and every process, consider the time and resources invested at each point. Every layer of your business hierarchy comes with a cost. The more complex your process – the more layers of approval or team involvement – the more it will end up costing your business.

Questions to Reduce Inefficient Business Processes

  • Do you use multiple systems to track your projects, accounting, inventory, and financial reports? Do these systems talk to one another?
  • Are there 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 processes 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 changes?

Your answers to these questions will give you a good starting point to eliminate waste in your business. Of course, from there, you need to actually change your processes and streamline your systems. Lucky for you, our team is pretty good at that part.

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