7 Ways to Make Your Small Business More Efficient
Owning and operating a small business comes with unavoidable hurdles that, if poorly navigated, have the potential to sink the business for good. One of these hurdles is the need for business efficiency, which can be challenging for up and coming organizations that lack the funds of larger companies to purchase the latest software programs for streamlining every operation. If you’re asmall business owner, there is plenty of hope for you and your employees to break through these challenges by incorporating seven key efficiency tips into your small business.
1. Have a clear vision of your goals.
As a small business owner, you probably face a multitude of challenges on a daily basis, from implementing strategies to keeping track of orders to satisfying angry customers. In the chaos of day-to-day uncertainty and unpredictability, it can be far too easy to lose sight of why you’re doing any of it in the first place. If you find yourself in this position, you need to briefly stop what you’re doing, step back, and evaluate your goals and motivations for reaching them. Only when you have clearly defined your target and your overall vision for your business can you effectively structure a plan to get there.
2. Automate wherever you can.
Although many small business owners feel as if they need to keep tabs on every single operation within their business, some tasks need to be left to automation for the sake of efficiency, even survival. If something can be done faster and more precisely with automation software rather than with the aid of a person, then choose automation. It will save you and your employees hours out of the work day. In fact, emails, receipt and credit card processing, and phone answering services are almost always automated nowadays, so business owners and employees can focus less on mindless busywork and move on to more important tasks.
3. Maintain a good social media presence.
In the case of a small business, having a social media presence can be a double-edged sword. Not only does it provide opportunities for connecting with current and potential customers (and free advertising opportunities), but it can also enable you to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. In fact, Twitter has been known to function as one of the most effective tools for this purpose. Remember, although the general nature of social media can be very casual, take caution; always remain professional, tactful, and honest when you (or your social media managers) represent your business.
4. Delegate tasks wisely.
Part of running a business is sharing the work with others. You may feel more secure running everything yourself, but the reality is that you can and should only do so much. Accept the fact that you’re the leader – not the secretary, janitor, or copywriter. As the leader of your business, your main job is planning and strategizing for the future and spearheading your ideas into something bigger. No business can run efficiently when its leader doesn’t have the time to lead.
5. Standardize all of your documents.
As Brian Honigman, CEO of Honigman Media, says, you must have a standardized documentation process in place for every level within your small business. Not only will standardized documents make your business papers (and your business) appear professional, but having one standard platform for the creation and formatting of documents, such as Google Docs and Excel, will cut back on the time it takes employees to produce and correct documents.
6. Let employees specialize.
No matter how many employees you have running your business, if every person is doing every kind of job there is, you have a recipe for disaster. Having a foot in every operation will not only render those operations inefficient, but your employees will become frustrated by the “too many cooks in the kitchen” scenario. Have your employees do what they’re best at – and only that thing. It’s perfectly alright if one person needs to cover for another temporarily, but keep in mind that the fewer the tasks per employee, the more efficiently your business will run.
7. Keep up with technology.
This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but making sure that you have the right business intelligence tools on your side is important. Outlining a plan for adopting new technologies is crucial for small businesses, especially when it comes to efficiency. What was once done in hours can now be done in a matter of minutes or even seconds thanks to advancements in the tech world, so always, always stay on top of the game (and ahead of your competitors).
Whether you’re a start-up or a small business trying to break into mid-size status, creating and maintaining an efficient operating system is crucial to survival and success. Remember that multiple factors play into a small business’s ability to run efficiently, from software to individual employees. While running a business requires a seemingly infinite number of components working together, following these seven tips for efficiency will save you and your employees big in the long run.