To run a successful business, it is important to be productive and organised. And even if your business is running smoothly enough, things could always be better, especially when it comes to improving efficiency. This is particularly true for smaller businesses, which often operate with limited resources compared to their larger competitors.
Ensuring your business is efficient requires regular reviews of your company’s operations. Making changes to the fundamentals of your business can seem like a challenge, but business efficiency will benefit things like service delivery and the customer experience, employee satisfaction, accomplishing more with the same resources, and of course profitability.
So here are 6 great strategies that will help you improve the efficiency of your business.
1. Start with what isn’t working
Firstly, you need to identify what is not working in your current business model. This is vital in order to make your business run more smoothly and with less wasted time and effort.
Are some of your processes or procedures redundant or out of date? Do you struggle with needlessly complicated processes and systems? Or have you tried to implement new systems and become confused trying to manage everything?
If you find yourself answering ‘yes’ to these questions there may be room for improvement, but it will depend on how well you can identify what’s slowing you down. You might consider bringing in someone with professional experience and a fresh perspective to look at what’s not working.
2. Use technology to improve efficiency
Technology can help you improve the way you carry out day to day tasks by speeding up existing processes or introducing new, more flexible ways of doing things.
In order to choose the best technology for your needs, you should assess your current systems against your requirements and research technology developments in your industry to help you choose what’s right for your business. Think about what inefficiencies may exist in your operations and how you can:
- Retrieve relevant information, such as customer details, in the simplest and most time-efficient way.
- Manage your documents to ensure that information is dealt with in a logical way.
- Avoid time-consuming duplication, for example using handwritten notes that then need to be manually inputted into a computer.
Some ways that technology can help your business run more efficiently could be:
- Creating a Frequently Asked Questions section on your website to reduce customer enquiries.
- Automating processes to save your employees’ time. For example, automating social media posts, using email marketing services that send automated emails, and automating your sales and lead-generation.
- Introducing shared files or cloud computing to improve IT efficiency and allow for faster, portable operations.
3. Delegate where you can
There is a finite number of hours in a day, and often these are not enough to complete all the tasks we set ourselves. Regardless of your work ethic, you’ll always have something that you could be working on. Even if you do delegate, it can be hard to avoid micromanaging, defeating the purpose of delegating altogether.
To delegate successfully you must:
- Specify the outcome you want to achieve.
- Put things in place so that you can monitor the processes initially, with the aim of relaxing those measures over time.
- Provide sufficient support.
- Keep up to date with progress.
- Focus on results rather than procedures.
- Give recognition when work is completed.
4. Consolidate tasks and remain focused
Although the ability to multitask is vital in life and is often a key requirement on many job applications, it’s scientifically proventhat you are more productive when you focus, for an extended period of time, on completing one task instead of multiple. An easy way for small business owners to accomplish this strategy is by grouping tasks that require similar processes.
This allows you to get more done and not neglect those tasks that are almost complete. It’s easy to feel falsely productive when you have multiple projects on the go but nothing actually going out into the world. Focusing on one task until it is complete helps you execute them quicker rather than just chipping away at many different projects.
5. Welcome change
Change leads to progression, and as a leader you must be willing to change your processes, ideas, products, marketing or other aspects of your business in order to succeed. Stagnant businesses will be overtaken by other companies and changes in consumer demands or economic trends, so a willingness to change, progress and adapt is vital.
6. Communicate with your employees
Smaller business can benefit from the fact that they are more agile than their larger competitors, which allows them to quickly communicate any changes throughout the company. It is essential to provide your employees with constant access to information as this keeps them well-informed as they make important business decisions.
It is vital that as a leader you ask for input from your colleagues of all levels, and it is vital that they know they can give their opinions to you. your employees do the same job every single day, so there’s a high chance they know their little corner of the business better than you do, and they might have some suggestions for how to improve your service or save money.
Even an already successful business stands to benefit from actively searching for new and more efficient methods. Through trial and error, and communicating with your employees throughout the process, you’ll be able to monitor what is and isn’t working and improve the efficiency of your business while continuing to grow, strengthen, and succeed as a company.
With technology and resources readily available, the opportunity for efficiency and productivity is yours to grab. By implementing some of these tips, you can improve the efficiency of your business and see a rise in overall morale, productivity, and profits.