An efficiency is a valuable tool for any small business. The more efficient your company, the easier it is to reach your goals and accomplish fantastic things – without spending a small fortune. Unfortunately, a lot of companies spend so much time worrying about profits and productivity, they forget to look into steps that could make their organizations more efficient too. Now that the world is changing at a rapid pace, and smaller companies are under increasing pressure to operate in a lean, and agile format, efficiency is more valuable than ever. If you want to cut costs in your company, keep performance levels high, and potentially outshine your competition, then finding ways to cut the chaff from your day-to-day processes is essential. Here are just some of the simplest ways to enhance your small business.
1. Set Goals
It’s hard to know if your company is performing according to your expectations if you don’t know first what those expectations should be. Ultimately, a lot of companies make the mistake of focusing exclusively on just making money. However, it’s helpful to be a bit more specific with your goal-setting strategies. For instance, if you’re running a sales team, you might want to plan on improving your sales numbers by 20% in the next six months. If you have a fleet of people offering services and support to employees in a local area, your goal might be to improve net promoter score, and customer satisfaction by 10% by the time you reach your new financial quarter. The right goals will make it easier to examine and measure your progress over time.
2. Audit Inefficient Processes
The first step in improving any company’s day-to-day operations is finding out what currently isn’t working. Examine your workflows and ask yourself where the biggest bottlenecks are. Do you find that your quality assurance team is constantly spending forever waiting for approval from management before they can send a product to the next stage of production? If so, implementing new approval methods could be crucial. If you’re not sure where your bottlenecks are, there are a few ways you can find out. One of the most obvious options is to simply speak to your team members and ask them where they feel like they spend the majority of their time each day. If you have analytics tools in place to track workflow performance, these can also offer some useful insights.
3. Outsource More Activities
As a small business, it’s often tempting to avoid bringing too many people into your team. The more staff you have, the more bills there are to play, and overheads you need to think about. However, trying to have a small number of employees handle everything your business has to do on a daily basis can end up making you more inefficient. Ultimately, when your staff is being spread too thin across multiple tasks – including projects which aren’t part of their job description, they can’t focus on the things they should be doing. Multitasking and overwork causes burnout among employees too, which means you have more people taking time off, and not enough employees getting important things done. If you need extra skills and support, outsourcing to external groups or freelancers can save you money, and ensure you’re not pushing your existing employees beyond what they’re capable of.
4. Leverage Automation
Over the last couple of years, digital transformation has been happening at a much faster rate throughout the business landscape. Simple tech innovations like apps to make working from home easier have paved the way for larger solutions to break onto the scene. Companies are now leveraging more artificial intelligence, bots, and software than ever before. One of the most valuable tools available from this new tech landscape – particularly in regard to efficiency, is automation. With automation systems, it’s possible to have bots and tools complete repetitive tasks that otherwise consume too much of your team’s valuable time. The idea isn’t to replace your human staff with robot workers but to provide employees with an extra helping hand to deal with monotonous projects they would rather not be doing. Not only do you get more efficiency this way, but you end up with happier employees too.
5. Update Your Fleet
Your fleet, whether it’s just a handful of vehicles, or an entire swarm, can be a source of exceptional efficiency, or a major bottleneck for your business. With that in mind, it’s important to make sure you’re taking steps to empower and support this part of your company. One of the best ways to get more out of your fleet is to leverage the right technology for tracking and enhancing their performance. Electronic logging devices are an extremely useful piece of commercial equipment helpful for showing you exactly how your team members are using valuable investments like vehicles. Not only do these tools help you to track things like driving teams, but they can also help with creating a safer work environment for drivers too and Samsara has a useful guide on electronic logging devices to get you started.
6. Listen to Your Team Members
One of the biggest mistakes today’s companies face is assuming they should be looking just at their analytics and reporting tools for insights into where to spend their money and how to improve workplace performance. While these software solutions can be very useful, it’s important to make time for qualitative feedback too. Setting up an environment where your staff members can share their insights on how they might be able to become more efficient and productive at work can be extremely useful. Not only might you end up with creative suggestions you couldn’t have thought of on your own, but you make your team members feel more invested in the workplace. The chances are you’ll even see a significant increase in buy-in too.
7. Keep Updating
Finally, remember that excellent efficiency isn’t just about implementing a few new strategies and forgetting all about your strategy until the next time you notice you’re not operating as well as you should be. The best, most productive teams are constantly looking for new ways to improve their performance and accomplish their goals. Constantly updating your strategy with new technologies and tools should mean you’re more likely to stay ahead of the competition when it comes to everything from the production of new items for your portfolio, to customer service.