Efficiency is a key requirement of a successful business. If you’re not running a streamlined operation, then you’re not making the most of your potential, so a few small tweaks can make all the difference.
Businesses tend to start off very efficiently, but the more they grow, the more difficult this becomes. You may find you do many of these points well, but poor performance in other areas can hold you back. However, by fixing these inefficiencies, you can put yourself on track for future success and even save yourself money.
It’s impossible to remain efficient if you’re not planning for the future. A business plan isn’t just something you create when you begin your journey; it’s something you need to constantly update. You can’t predict everything that’s going to happen in the future, but you can devise strategies that allow your business to thrive.
Without business planning, there’s nothing to guide the direction of your company, and it’s much less likely to remain efficient. You are likely to then spend a lot more money trying to figure out which direction is best. You can avoid wasted money and time with a simple business plan.
Understand Your Finances
This might seem obvious, but as your business grows, keeping track of your finances becomes difficult. You’ve got big expenses in lots of different areas, but which ones are absolutely necessary, which ones are over-inflated, and which ones need more investment?
An important aspect of this is making sure you’ve got the right reporting procedures in place when it comes to expenses. If you’re using outdated technology, then you might be missing out on important insights that can help make your business more efficient.
The better you understand your finances, the easier it’s going to be to make sure you’re spending your money in the best possible way.
Find Areas of Inefficiency
Often you will find there are a few select areas where large inefficiencies are having a big impact on your business. It’s important that you find these inefficiencies and root them out.
For example, many large companies have massive business travel expenses, and they find it very hard to keep track of exactly what money is being spent on in this area. However, there are tools such as Amex business travel that can have a huge impact on your inefficiency in this part of your budget.
If you can start with the most inefficient areas of your business, then you will see an immediate impact. Your bank account will thank you later for it!
Automate Where Possible
Automation has the potential to make your business much more efficient. While bringing in new technology can be an upfront investment, it can take care of the basic tasks, freeing your staff up to focus on the areas that make your business money. Most industries will always need the human touch for most jobs, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be supplemented by automation.
One way to continue to innovate in this area is by creating a technology plan so you can gradually phase in the technology/software that’s going to make your business more efficient.
Streamline Your Use of Technology
Investing in new technology is important, but if you do this in a haphazard way, then it can sometimes cause even more inefficiency. Ideally, you want your technology to work together in a coherent way. However, when you’re working with lots of different pieces of equipment and software, this isn’t always the case.
If every worker in your office loses five minutes a day because they’re flicking between different applications, this adds up to a huge amount of wasted time. If you streamline this, then these inefficiencies will be eliminated.
Look at Your Company Culture
Company culture is something that’s often overlooked when it comes to efficiency, but it can play a big part. Sometimes you walk into a business, and you just get this feeling that there isn’t a positive culture. When this is the case, it’s hard to expect that business to be functioning efficiently.
Creating a positive culture that values efficiency doesn’t happen by accident, though, and it’s something you really have to focus on. The values you stand for, how you communicate, and the actions you take all dictate culture, so you need to be conscious of how they fit in with what you want to achieve.
Think About Customer Experience
Customers are the lifeblood of any business, and an increasing number of them are valuing customer experience over anything else. Every interaction you have with your customers is important, so you’ve got to aim to make sure every touchpoint you have with people is positive. If you’re doing this successfully, then you’ll find you convert more leads and retain more customers. Essentially, this means more profit for you to invest back into your business and grow.
Nailing the customer experience will make your business much more efficient and show in improved revenues.
Bring Departments Together
When your operation is small, it’s much easier to keep everyone pulling in the same direction. As you grow and your operations become more diverse, it’s much more difficult to keep things uniform, and this can be a source of inefficiency. A good customer experience depends on every department in your business working together. However, this just isn’t the case for many businesses. Sharing information and working together is important, so you need to find ways to bring your departments together.
Encourage Open Communication
Poor communication costs your business money every day. If there isn’t open communication throughout your business, then more mistakes will be made, time will be lost, and your efficiency will suffer. Clear, open communication is something that needs to be incorporated into your company culture, as the benefits can be immeasurable. When people are free to express their opinions and raise concerns, you’ll find it makes everything a little bit easier.
Don’t get in the way of your employees doing their jobs! If you’re constantly scheduling meetings, and taking up your employees’ time, then it’s going to mean they don’t get as much done. Meetings are an essential part of a business but make sure you’re scheduling them at sensible times, and you’re making them efficient. If meetings are dragging on and on without achieving anything, then everyone’s efficiency suffers. And remember, lost efficiency, most of the time, means lost money.