Stagnation can be a fatal disease for any business, regardless of industry or size. As a business owner, you'll want to make sure that your business processes are continuously improving and that any operational bottlenecks are being resolved along the way. To help you maximize efficiency and, ultimately, profits, here are eight ways to improve your business.
Automation is an effective way to minimize costs and create consistent, predictable results. Some tasks that are commonly targeted for automation include accounting tasks, such as sending receipts to merchants. Business automation in today's highly saturated and competitive marketplace is no longer a luxury but rather a necessity to survive. Look for monotonous tasks and processes, such as form creation and processing, shipping and inventory management, or customer relations management.
When your employees get more face time with each other instead of just sending or receiving an impersonal email or chat message, information exchange is faster, which ultimately means tasks are accomplished in a more efficient manner. You can more easily solve a problem, answer a question, or get clarifications on important subject matters. This steady flow of information, however, requires the right work environment and workplace culture.
Meetings are the boogyman of any workplace setting. And it's not just a dull experience or an outdated format for information exchange, long company meetings can also impact your business' operational efficiency by keeping your most valuable resource - people - for a period of time with zero to little return on time invested. Rather than conform to traditional business practices, hold shorter 10-minute company meetings to check on different team's progress and disseminate new information to your employees.
Multitasking was once the fad of the business world, and few people questioned its validity as a business strategy. But over the years, several studies saying otherwise have cropped up. In fact, some experts are saying that multitasking can actually lower your productivity levels by up to 40%. Instead of encouraging your employees to multitask, encourage a more back-to-basics approach to getting tasks done, which is to focus on a single task until completion.
Emailing coworkers or subordinates every time you need to ask for a minute detail on an ongoing project tends to be an inefficient method of extracting information. Instead, use task management software programs to communicate and collaborate with the rest of your workforce. Applications, like Trello, have become commonplace in many modern workplaces. Not only does it save everyone's time by eliminating the need for back-and-forth emails, but it also lets you monitor progress more effectively.
In your quest to improve every business facet, you might cause more harm than good if you don't know when and where to stop. Eliminating every operational kink is a noble cause, but you should never lose sight of what's really important, which is continuous growth. Focus your efforts in areas, including hardware and software implementation, but divert more of your energy towards cultivating customer relations and improving your product/service.
Outsourcing is another business strategy that became popular the same time globalization took off. Implemented correctly, outsourcing can benefit businesses in a variety of ways, including wider access to top talent pools and lower payroll costs. An example would be to hire a professional managed IT service company in Johannesburg, or your current location, rather than build one in-house, which tends to be more cost- and time-intensive. Accounting and customer support are other facets that are commonly outsourced.
One of the cardinal sins of many inexperienced entrepreneurs is choosing to expand to related niches or markets too soon. Taking on too much too soon not only affects your business' ability to operate efficiently but also endangers its survival over time. You could end up accumulating more debt than you can safely accumulate. Keep your business running efficiently by using all of your resources towards the realistic and sensible goals that you've set beforehand.
How efficiently your business runs will also depend on how well you orchestrate it. Use the tips above as a starting point on what improvements or shifts in management you can get done in the short term.