How to Make a Business Run More Efficiently: The Best Tips
Do you feel like you’re constantly falling behind with a to-do list that never ends? As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day operation of your company.
Running your business more efficiently can ease your stress levels. It also increases productivity, which can help you increase your profitability.
Stepping back and evaluating your situation helps you find the areas where you can change and improve your efficiency. Use these tips to achieve greater workplace efficiency.
Evaluate Your Current Situation
Making improvements to your business efficiency requires you to know what’s going on right now. Step back to look at what works well.
Look at the things that slow you down. Look for solutions that improve those situations to make things run more smoothly. That might include changing your process, updating equipment, finding new suppliers, or using software programs.
If you notice a bottleneck in your packaging and shipping process, look for improved pulling and packing procedures to get packages out the door faster. If you spend too much time answering emails or handling customer service, look for automated solutions or outsourcing options.
Create Established Processes
Your business likely has several tasks that happen on a regular basis. This might include things such as recording transactions, producing products, processing orders, packaging products, and shipping orders.
You likely have a process for those tasks, but do you have a written procedure using the most efficient method? Evaluate each individual task to understand all the steps that go into completing it.
Write a step-by-step guide to completing the task. Make sure your employees follow those established procedures to increase efficiency. The guide is also a convenient reference for employees so they can complete the steps quickly.
Implement Visual Tracking
Visual tracking of processes helps you make the workflow more efficient. It helps you see where each project is within the workflow. You can also spot places in the process that cause problems.
One option is the Kanban methodology, which uses a board with cards for each work item. The cards go under columns to show the current step for that task, helping you visualize where everything is throughout the process. Check out resources to understand the Kanban methodology to implement this option in your business.
Using visual tracking as a team helps everyone stay informed on the process. Employees can see when work tasks are in a step that involves them to keep the tasks moving.
Use Effective Communication
Lack of communication can slow down all of your processes. Use specific, established communication processes to keep the team in the loop on all projects.
Email is a quick way to share information when you don’t need to discuss it. Emailing back and forth to make decisions can slow down the communication process. It’s usually easier to talk face-to-face if the issue needs further discussion and decision-making instead of dealing with multiple emails back and forth.
Using a communication app, such as Slack or Basecamp, can keep all communication on a specific project in one place. These apps help you track processes and work as a team more efficiently.
If you use team meetings for communication, make sure they’re necessary and efficient. Having weekly meetings just because it’s what you’ve always done can waste time if there’s no need to meet.
Explain your expected communication processes to your employees. Ensure everyone follows those procedures.
Many people brag about their ability to multitask, but you may be better off by focusing on just one thing at a time. You get into the groove of that single task and don’t feel pulled in 10 different directions.
Try batching your work to complete similar tasks in one session. You might write a month’s worth of social media posts and schedule them to post automatically before moving onto something else. You can cross that task off for the month, and you can get it done efficiently because you’re working on that single task.
If you feel like you have too many different things going on, see how you can batch them. Work through one type of task before moving on to the next.
Automating as many processes as possible cuts down on your workload. Chatbots on your website can help answer basic customer inquiries so you’re not constantly asking questions. Bookkeeping software that integrates with point-of-sale and inventory systems transfers data automatically.
Other small business tasks that are easy to automate include:
- File and document sharing
- Social media posting
- Email responses
- Appointment reminders and confirmations
- Assigning leads to sales personnel
Various apps and software make automation easier. Consider the solutions that work best for your needs. Think about the tasks that take you or your employees the most time, and see how you can automate those tasks.
Delegate or Outsource Duties
Business owners often try to take on too many tasks to maintain control of the business. You may find yourself getting bogged down in administrative work that doesn’t help your company move forward.
Identify the core activities of your company that need your attention. These are the important decisions and revenue-generating tasks that require your expertise.
Assign other tasks to your staff or outsource the responsibilities to freelancers. If you’re doing your own bookkeeping, you might hire a freelance bookkeeper or a bookkeeping service to do the job. Or you might use a digital marketing service to handle your online advertising campaigns.
The money spent on outsourcing eventually pays off because you’re more productive. You’re able to focus on the tasks that grow your business instead of getting distracted by the operational tasks that other people can handle.
Improve Your Company Culture
Your company culture encompasses the work environment and how employees feel and interact. One survey of entrepreneurs showed that 86% of the participants feel that the work culture affects productivity.
If your employees feel valued and work in a positive environment, it makes sense that they’ll be more productive. A negative environment leaves people feeling frustrated and wanting to find a new job. Focus on creating a positive work environment that supports employees and gives them the tools they need to be productive.
Run Your Business More Efficiently
When your business runs more efficiently, you’re able to get more done and potentially generate more business. Stepping back to streamline your processes can help propel your business significantly.