If you own a brand new start-up that has just launched or you have been in business for decades, it’s important to be efficient. Whether you supply products or services, work in an office or from home your efficiency can impact your bottom line. Being efficient doesn’t mean that you have to cut corners, it’s about finding the balance of where to save time and resources so that you can become more profitable without compromising the quality of the goods or services you deliver.
Minimise any needless interruptions
We have all been here, there’s an important meeting coming up and you need to get a presentation completed or you have an urgent task that needs attention and your emails keep going off or your team members are knocking on your door needing assistance. While sometimes you can’t avoid these interruptions you will often find with some process implementation that your team will have the confidence and direction to handle most small issues without your input. Establish a hierarchy and identify key staff for your team members to go to when they need assistance, for example if they have an IT related issue or if the printer ink has run out in the office. This can really be a time saver and a game changer! As a business owner it’s great to be in control and actively manage key areas relating to your overall business but being the go-to person for printer ink is not one of those things.
Don’t neglect addressing your personal interruptions either. You can set a do not disturb so your internal messages and emails don’t chime notifications in your ear whilst you are completing important activities and then you can allocate time to check in on these items but always stay accessible for any emergencies that would need your urgent attention. So, by putting some simple measures in place you have your business running like a well oiled machine while you are completing your money making tasks and increasing your revenue minus the interruptions.
Automation and software
There are so many options available now for business owners when it comes to automation and software to help them be more efficient and productive. If your clients need to have access to you, there are calendar booking systems like Calendly that you can implement to allow clients to book a time with you directly, without any of the back and forth emailing to find a time where both parties are available. Or if you have an e-commerce business you could integrate your order management software with your inventory database and purchasing systems. There are so many options out there to save you time. A good way to know which tasks you should look at automating is to keep note of which activities require manual input from you or your team consistently, no matter how small they are, then investigate an automated option. Even activities that only take a couple of minutes to action can quickly add up to hours of time overall daily.
Continuously assess and improve your processes
Productivity and efficiency should remain one of your key ongoing focuses throughout the lifetime of your business and it is wise to allocate time to improve things on an ongoing basis. Get feedback from your team about where they believe improvements can be made and then investigate your options. Use your team’s insights from daily activities to your advantage. If you are a solopreneur you can keep a list of activities you find as you go that need too much input from you during your day and then set a time in your calendar to st down and map out where you believe you can make improvements. Networking with other business owners and talking to them about their experiences is also a great way to get the productivity strategies that could help you in your business, as they say your network is your net worth.
Outsourcing activities are a cost effective tactic that allows you and your team to focus on what you do best. Identify the money making activities that you and your team members excel at and the tasks that are time consuming where you may not have the desired skill-set needed to action them efficiently. When you can segment out the activities that help you contribute more revenue to your business and those which decrease efficiency and cost you valuable time you will then be able to confidently outsource items such as your IT, SEO, social media marketing or payroll. Time is money and outsourcing, especially for start-ups can feel uncomfortable or counter-productive but if done correctly at any stage of your business you can really increase your productivity and revenue with effective outsourcing.
Where possible it’s really important that you and your team members are working within your zone of genius. Empowering your team to be able to manage most issues without your input is going to free up your time so that you can focus on those money making tasks that help you take your business to that next level. Having the right systems, processes and outsourcing in place means that you don’t need to oversee everything but are still in the driver’s seat and in full control of your business.