Every business owner wants to run a more efficient company. They want to get orders out the door as soon as they come in, open new buildings ahead of schedule and have all their client budget filled and reported long before deadlines.
In reality, things don’t always go that way. Staff have needs to fulfill, supply chains can be slow and unforeseeable issues can crop up out of nowhere, meaning that most businesses are playing catch up rather than leading with an efficient operation.
If you’re finding yourself tearing your hair out at the slow, cumbersome operations of your business here are some great tips to get your team and your company running smoothly and efficiently.
You don’t need a degree in finance to know that an inefficient business is one that’s more likely to lose money. It can also be said that a business that can’t keep track of its outgoings isn’t being run to its full potential.
If your business can’t get finances in order and there are unexplained payments going through accounts every day you can’t be surprised when the most basic of processes slow down and people are coming to you with questions.
Any business can come crumbling down if it doesn’t keep track of its costs. Spending more than you earn can force you to miss out on investing in essential tools and the key members of staff that will ultimately improve your operations. Without proper investment, it’s hard to build an efficient working environment.
This can affect any business in any industry. Take something as simple as fuel costs. If your business operates a huge fleet of vehicles your accounts department can lose hours every month working through piles of fuel receipts. That’s why so many businesses are investing in fuel cards, which collect all of these payments into one streamlined account. A simple, quick fix to efficiency issues.
This even works for small businesses. If you predominantly travel locally for your work and meetings a fuel genie card could be an option that both saves you money and allows you to track average spending across the month. It’s essential to track all purchases so as to not lose time at the month questioning where a bill came from.
If business owners managing mass remote-working teams have learned anything in the last couple of months, it’s that constant and clear communication is key to keeping a business running smoothly.
Communication helps operations run more efficiently across the business. It helps people understand what’s required of them that day, makes sure the right people are being utilized for a project and crystalizes the long term goals of the company in a way everyone can understand and collectively work towards.
Creating the kind of environment where great communication can blossom and actually improve efficiency doesn’t mean giving everyone free reign to hold meetings when they feel like it. It’s about making the most of regular daily meetings, using messaging programs such as Slack to delegate quick tasks and keeping calendars up to date so managers can monitor task progress.
A happy and hard-working workspace is one where people don’t just feel comfortable communicating with one another, but make it part of their regular work schedule.
Your team are the heart of your business, so why not remove some of the daily burdens that are making them inefficient and automate part of their day.
Automation doesn’t mean sacking your staff and installing a team of AI droid. In 2020, automation is about taking the little, awkward admin tasks that take up so much of your day and letting computers solve them.
So much of what we dedicate our day to and hate doing could be done more efficiently by a machine, freeing your team up to do more important things for the business in the wider picture.
Automation in your business can be as simple as creating rolling invites for monthly meetings or setting automatic replies to leads, directing them to the right contact rather than doing it manually.
An essential part of automating your business for efficiency is creating a culture that embraces it. You need to be clear to your team that these developments are not here to make their roles redundant but give them the opportunity to bring more detail, insight and creativity to the company.
Invest in software
You don’t need to do things the old fashioned way.
The days of scribbling down to-do lists, jumping from machine to machine to use particular software and staying late to fire off social posts are dead. Management tools and other key forms of software have rendered them redundant, and not investing in these programs will condemn your business to the same fate.
Social media is one of the best places to start with improving efficiency. So much time can be lost duplicating posts across different channels and scheduling through individual platforms. Management tools such as Hootsuite make many of these processes easier to manage, even for novice users.
Cloud software has transformed collaboration and file sharing in the workplace. Rather than having to physically go to someone’s machine or receive a file by email to analyze and edit some work, you can just add comments across a cloud file. Likewise, tools such as Dropbox make it easier than ever to drop in and pick up essential files, cutting out hours of wasted navigation time for your workforce every month.
There are always tweaks big and small you can make to your business to improve the efficiency of your operations. These are useful tips, but it’s also important to evaluate what isn’t working about your particular business and make changes that suit your projections and the preferences of your team.