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Productivity / Performance

How to deal with business bottlenecks

Bottlenecks are bad for business. Find out what they are and how to deal with them before it’s too late.

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What is a bottleneck? 

A bottleneck is something that restricts you, your business, or a system within your business from achieving its potential. 

Uncovering the bottlenecks 

Bottlenecks can be hard to find, but a good place to start is you! Is there a situation that regularly causes you stress? If so, this suggests that a bottleneck exists somewhere.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I always have too much on my plate?
  • Am I unable to get the really important things done?
  • Are details and small tasks dominating my time?
  • Are people always waiting for me to get back to them? 

Share the load 

If you answered ‘yes’ to many of the above questions, then it’s time to start delegating – for most soloists, this means outsourcing.  

Outsourcing allows you to build a team of skilled professionals without the expense of hiring full-time employees. It also stops you from getting bogged down with tasks that can be completed by others. 

"Regardless of the nature of your business, it is critical to follow one simple rule: you can outsource almost anything except responsibility!"

Commonly outsourced tasks include proof reading, data entry, market research, bookkeeping, website administration and so on. 

Regardless of the nature of your business, it is critical to follow one simple rule: you can outsource almost anything except responsibility! Your core business should not be outsourced – nor should you outsource something just because you don’t want to do it. 

Want more articles like this? Check out the performance section.

Other signs of bottlenecks

  • Long wait times. This means your work is delayed while you wait for a product, more information or other people.
  • Backlog. This is when there’s too much work piled up at one end and not enough at the other end.
  • High stress levels. This is a symptom I see all too often amongst small and micro business owners! 

In these instances, it can be helpful to create a flowchart detailing every step in the process, to identify where bottlenecks are occurring.

Use resources wisely

Given your limited manpower, use your resources wisely. In the case of outsourcing, identify the performance metrics that are most important to each outsourced task. 

Identifying performance metrics is a challenging task if you are too close to the subject! So be mindful to consult a third party if necessary to ensure objectivity. 

Once you are able to step back and allow your extended ‘team’ to do the job you’ve hired them to do, you will free up valuable time and energy to focus on growing your business. No more bottlenecks, just business growth.

What are your business bottlenecks?

Craig Jackson

is an experienced CPA and advisor. He is all about helping small businesses, freelancers, consultants and entrepreneurs navigate tax and compliance issues to achieve their goals.

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