Find out how
If your business isn’t efficient, you’re losing time and money, it’s as simple as that. Some staff are more efficient than others, but if you create a company-wide culture of efficiency, your entire business will benefit. Here are some practical steps you can take to create a culture of efficiency at your business.
Audit your processes
Firstly, take a step back from the day to day grind of running your business and assess how your business is performing right now. This may take some time, so set aside a few hours in your schedule with a few trusted advisors to really get to the heart of the issue. The point of this exercise is to help you ascertain how efficient your business is currently, which areas you’re doing well in, and which areas can be improved. It may also be valuable to bring in an outside consultant who can help by bringing a fresh pair of eyes to the process. Once you’ve figured out what the issues are, you can then move on to figuring out how to solve them.
Apple once famously said ‘there’s an app for that.’ In 2017, there are a wide array of efficiency issues that can be solved by downloading the right piece of software. Management and organisation software can help both staff and management be aware of what’s going on at all times, while ensuring that projects are delivered on time.
Automation software (more on this later) can take time consuming and dull admin tasks away from your staff, freeing them out to spend more time on other things. Do some research and see what tools are out there. I guarantee there are at least one or two out there that will help your business become more efficient.
Foster a culture of organisation
If your business is disorganised, it’s probably inefficient too. Assess your organisation processes, and come up with solutions to improve them if necessary. Once you’ve come up with your new organisation processes, communicate them to your staff and make sure they buy in on them. Ensuring everyone is organised may seem like an obvious step to take, but if you don’t take it, your business will remain inefficient.
Develop your staff
Developing your staff typically has a high cost associated with it, but the long-term benefits cannot be overstated. More experienced and better trained staff are able to complete tasks at a much quicker rate, and are therefore able to take on more work in the long term. Not only this, but employees will also be happy that you’re investing in their personal development, and will be more likely to stay with you in the long run.
Automate admin tasks
For repetitive, monotonous, and time consuming admin tasks, you should consider introducing an element of automation. There is plenty of software out there that automates various admin processes that – once set up – will free up many man hours for your business each week. Even introducing a relatively simple piece of automation software – such as a company-wide calendar that lets everyone see everyone else’s appointments – can free up a lot of time in the long run.
Many staff – especially senior staff – often struggle with the sheer number of emails that hit their inbox. Automation software can automatically sort their emails into different folders as they come in, so that the daily email load is a little easier to handle. A little automation really can go a long way, so do some research on the kinds of tools that are available, and invest in the ones that will help your business.
Communicate with your staff
Throughout the process of creating a more efficient culture at work, you need to make sure you are communicating effectively with your staff. Be sure they’re aware of the new rules and processes you’re putting in place, that they are trained to deal with all of it, and they know who to ask if they have any questions. You can carry out all of the above perfectly, but if you fall at this hurdle, all your great ideas won’t work out. Constant two-way communication between staff and management is key, and will ensure that your changes are successful.
Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, your company culture won’t change overnight. It probably won’t be a smooth process either, so make sure you monitor progress weekly. Even the best laid plans are forced to change due to circumstances, so don’t be too strongly wedded to the initial strategy. If something doesn’t work, change it. If your staff aren’t buying into an efficiency policy, find out why not, and make sure they do buy into it. If a piece of software isn’t as useful as you thought it would be, cancel your subscription and try something else.
If you follow all of the steps above, and monitor the effectiveness of these changes afterwards, you’ll be well on your way to building a more efficient, and therefore more profitable, business.