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Bottleneck: What is it and how do you deal with them?

Jun 3, 2021

No, I’m not talking about the neck of your evening drink of choice. I’m talking about the areas of your business that everything seems to get caught up in. You know, those specific areas where the things to do add up so much quicker than they get crossed off the list? In corporate speak, a bottleneck is any operation, process, or decision point where products, information, or the flow of tasks cannot keep up with business flow. So how do you identify and deal with bottlenecks in your own business?

The different ways to go about this process range from informal and undocumented to long, formal, drawn-out analysis and change. Solutions to bottlenecks can also range from quick and easy to more complex and complicated. Several ideas are below, but keep in mind that each bottleneck you identify can have a variety of solutions.

How do you identify a bottleneck?

Think about the steps in your process or areas in your business where tasks, clients, or decisions pile up. Write down everything you think of. Now go through and put a checkmark next to all of the items on your list that prevent you from making money, producing goods, or booking clients until you deal with all of those piled up to-dos. These check-marked items are likely bottlenecks you should consider resolving.

How do you deal with bottlenecks?

There are a variety of ways to deal with a bottleneck. A few things to consider when you think of your next steps include:

  • How significantly a bottleneck impacts your process, business, or clients.
  • How much time and money different solutions will take to put into action.
  • If a solution should (or can) be phased in over time or if you want (or need) to make any swift and significant changes to how you do business.
  • How complicated a solution may be. This includes any potential training and adjustments to current team member’s responsibilities.
  • If changes or adjustments to deal with one bottleneck will also resolve or help other bottlenecks OR if changes or adjustments to one bottleneck will negatively affect other areas.

What next?

You can choose do handle the “low-hanging fruit” and make quick or easy changes first. Another alternative is to pinpoint which bottleneck would have the most profound positive impact on your workflow, clients, or business and deal with it first.

At the end of the day, it is up to you as a business owner to decide what actions to take. If you find the idea of resolving bottlenecks intimidating, start small. Focus on fixing one area at a time. Don’t be scared to try different solutions until you find one that works best for you and your business. And once you figure it out? Pop something with a different kind of bottleneck to celebrate your business win!

What bottlenecks do you have in your business? What are some ways you could resolve them?

Did you find this blog post helpful? Check out this one for more tips! https://tractionbusinesssolutions.com/2021/03/01/rules-for-a-healthy-business/

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