By | Sierra Powell
Sure, your business is getting customers and launching products out there, but there is always room for improvement. Whether it’s a production bottleneck that’s been slowing down your order fulfillment or a cosmetic blemish on your website that is affecting your conversion rates, zeroing in on these inefficiencies can boost productivity and, consequently, improve sales and profits. Here are seven ways to make your business more efficient this new year:
Having an in-house department for everything your business could possibly need is useful for the timely resolution of problems as they emerge. It is, however, very time-consuming and cost-intensive to build these departments from the ground up. Businesses, like Google and Amazon, are big enough that an in-house IT or R&D department is justified and well worth the investment, but for an up-and-comer, it makes more financial sense to outsource, for example, your tech needs to a managed IT services Chicago provider. Other processes you can outsource include marketing content creation, administrative and custodial tasks, and accounting.
Various studies have concluded that multitasking simply doesn’t work to one’s benefit. In fact, many studies show the opposite effect. Instead, consolidate your workload and focus on completing a single task before moving on to the next. If you are doing things in between writing an important email to a potential business partner, you could end up writing a poorly written letter. Consider splitting up your day into chunks. For instance, morning time can be spent reading and responding to emails while after-work hours can be spent analyzing your balance sheets and business plans.
Look For Weak Spots
Every business has its own weak spots. Scan your day-to-day operations for any inefficiencies that are slowing down other tasks and any recurring costs that you can easily cut out of the books. Redundant procedures and outdated software are common candidates for an upgrade or elimination. That said, don’t just cut corners to get from point A to point B. Efficiency should not precede quality or safety otherwise it could lead to costlier problems in the long run.
Boost Employee Morale
Employees aren’t robots that can just be left to work at their most optimal without so much as a pat on the shoulder for their efforts and achievements. If your employees are not happy, they do mediocre, if not poor quality, work. Keep their spirits high by improving your leadership style and leading them with respect. How you talk to your employees can have a huge impact on the way they behave. And of course, the tested-and-proven methods of hosting company barbecues and adding snacks in the company breakroom can’t hurt.
Tools, such as task management software and content management systems, can be a game-changer for small businesses. These technologies can cut down costs and optimize tasks with little to no learning curve required. Other examples of tech-driven tools you can capitalize on are fulfillment platforms, like Whiplash, and scheduling apps, like Calendly. Other business areas you can upgrade with the right technology include payroll management, expense tracking, hiring, and employee training.
Have an Endgame
Albeit important to streamline as many tasks and processes as you can, knowing when to stop is equally important. You don’t want to spend resources upgrading existing tools and processes that are working optimally. For instance, if your weekly meetings are working just fine in relaying information across, keep it as is. Don’t change the schedule or amount of time spent. Keep in mind that not all processes should be automated or done quickly. For instance, customer relationships take time to forge, something that doesn’t happen when you leave your customers at the mercy of an online chatbot.
A business that doesn’t have the trust of its employees or customers is bound to fail and vice versa. You need to establish a mutually trusting relationship between you and your employees otherwise you’ll have a difficult time delegating important tasks to them. At the same time, any modifications, decisions, and strategies you try to implement will be met with doubt and resistance. Establish trust in the workforce by delegating, being honest when you’ve made a mistake, respecting your workers’ time, and providing career advancement opportunities.
Boosting your business’ efficiency won’t happen overnight nor will it be a one-off goal. As the market and customer behaviors change, you’ll have to reassess your operations to locate and resolve new weak spots.