10 tips for business efficiency
Business efficiency means maximizing your outputs from your given inputs – or making the most of your resources. If you haven’t thought about how to improve efficiency in a business, you may well be overlooking places where you can cut down on the time you’re spending on a particular task. This saves you money and manpower in both the short term and the long run.
How can a business improve efficiency?
It seems obvious, but you might be surprised how many businesses aren’t providing their employees with the skills and tools they need to do their jobs. Whether you’re looking at project management software or new training for your accountant, the one-time fee or yearly subscription cost you may pay for a tool will often repay itself tenfold in terms of getting work done quickly and accurately.
Also called huddles or scrums, a short, daily team meeting can improve business efficiency. Keep your team updated on what everyone is working on, who needs help and who might have extra time and problems or questions team members have. Face-to-face communication is the most efficient, but if you’ve got a lot of team members who work remotely or who are on the road, give video chat a try. Other than this meeting, try to limit interruptions throughout the day.
Don’t confuse being busy with being productive – they’re not necessarily related. We all know someone who is always busy, but never seems to get anything done. As Tony says, “Where focus goes, energy flows,” and it’s crucial to keep your employees focused on just one task or goal at a time. Make it clear what’s most important, and efficiency will follow.
Examine your operations and the processes you have in place. Look for redundancies, dated or excessively complicated processes or unclear procedures. These are all prime candidates for consolidation or elimination. But don’t cut corners. Prioritizing efficiency over quality or safety only leads to bigger problems down the line – when they’re more expensive to fix.
Creation is just as important as cutting. Document every task your departments perform regularly, no matter how big or small. This serves two purposes: documentation helps you see spots where you can be even more efficient, and it lays out a process others can follow in case its typical executors are out.
Business efficiency requires a certain mindset – one of constant improvement, hunger and the knowledge that there is always more to learn. It’s a personal trait, but it is also one that you can make a part of your company culture . It will encourage risk-taking and innovation in your employees, which are both important in creating efficiency.
In terms of tools to help us make business – and our lives – more efficient, there has never been a more exciting time to be alive. Use technology like automation strategically to complement the strong workforce you develop.
Your employees aren’t going to work hard if they’re not happy. Do your part by creating a safe, welcoming environment where they’ll want to work. This isn’t just about company BBQs or free snacks, either. Understanding your leadership style and how your employees want to be led and spoken to is critical to building a business they’ll want to stay at.
There’s nothing worse than the boss who tries to do everything themselves. If you’re overseeing the entire show, then you aren’t a boss, you’re an operations manager. You hired your employees for a reason – to work for you – so let them get to it. Show them how to do the work they need to do and step back until they need your help.
Building trust in the workplace leads to stronger bonds between employer and employee, as well as between colleagues. Trusting people to do their jobs without looming over them helps create a place where they feel valued and free to do their best work. In return, if you’re honest and transparent with employees, they’re more likely to return the favor, providing valuable insight on tasks, products, services and more.
Dust off your business plans.
Review, review and review your business plan. See how far (or little) your business has taken shape from your original idea. Many entrepreneurs write a business plan at the start of the business, only to forget about it. Some stray away from their plans – and fail. Go find your business plans and update them. Since your business’s inception, a number of factors must have changed – from the overall business climate to your product line. Take all those changes into consideration, consider the business and economic climate, factor in your and your family’s goals, and get a clear assessment of the direction of your business. Get in touch with your business advisers, if any.
Take time to tap into your customer database and get in touch with your existing customers. Whether by phone, email or letter, contact your customers to greet them and remind them that your business is ready to serve them again. Get their opinions about what they think about your business (and make getting customer feedback a part of your business processes). You need to constantly look for ways to encourage repeat business. Although marketing and advertising are important to get more customers, quality, service, and customer satisfaction are what keep a business successful in the long run.
Evaluate your pricing.
Think about your pricing and the possibility of raising your rates. Get the feel of what your existing customers think about you raising your prices. Also be sure to check out what the competition’s doing and make sure your prices or rates aren’t too low — or way too high. You don’t want to overprice yourself out of the market, yet you should not bear the burden of a cash flow shortage. Give your customers a month or two advance notice should you decide to increase your rates.
Even if you have secured funding from investors, you need to constantly look for ways to reduce your costs. From making double-sided paper copies to ordering shipping supplies in bulk, you can reduce wasted material, effort, and time in making, selling, and delivering your product. The result is an improvement in your company’s bottom line and an increased competitive advantage.
It’s hard to improve your performance if you aren’t measuring and tracking it. By using continuous feedback to guide your business’s planning efforts, you get to see which improvements will be the most effective and make those changes first. These processes can be tracked manually or with system management software. By measuring past and current performance, you can see how your methods have improved and where they need to be enhanced further.
Inefficient processes can frustrate employees by making it harder for them to perform their duties. To increase operational efficiency, you want employees to have high morale at the workplace. When workers are frustrated, they may interact with customers differently and possibly cause them to take their business elsewhere. If the inefficiencies don’t improve, you can lose great employees for reasons that could have been easily remedied. Satisfied, productive, long-term employees are critical to continually improving your operational efficiency.
Having access to consistent, accurate data about project management, finances, and operations is crucial to increasing operational efficiency; this is made much easier with the right technology. By integrating service management systems into your operations, you have all of the information you need at your fingertips, helping you stay on-time, on-budget, and improving your overall operational efficiency.
Operational efficiency is all about enhancing your current methods to stay ahead of the game. Are you ready to improve your operational efficiency? Get Started For Free today!