Keeping up in an increasingly competitive economy requires running your business as efficiently as possible. From the smallest sole proprietorships to massive multi-billion-dollar corporations, efficiency is a must. Believe it or not, it’s even more important for small- to medium-sized companies. Smaller businesses have fewer resources to fall back on than larger corporations, making efficiency in the workforce an absolute must.
Your company may be running smoothly, but there is likely room for improvement. Whether you find yourself running into setbacks that delay projects by a few days, you’re finding that your meetings are not productive and waste more time than they save or distractions are slowing down progress and driving up your expenses, there are several things that could be negatively impacting your company’s efficiency.
How can you correct these issues? Here are a few easy ways to keep your business running more efficiently.
Automate Anything You Can
Modern technology can save your business a lot of time and if you are not taking advantage of it, you are missing out. From sending pay stubs to employees to running backups to shipping receipts to vendors, there are several tasks that can be automated.
Once seen as a luxury, business automation has become a necessity in today’s competitive world. Automating monotonous tasks means that you–or your employees–can focus on tasks that require a human touch or more critical thinking than a program can perform.
Implementing automated processes sometimes comes at a steep price upfront, but the investment will pay off quickly. In the long run, business automation saves time and money while boosting efficiency.
Hold a Short Meeting Daily
Monday morning meetings are a good way to start the week, but they shouldn’t be the only Ofimeeting for the entire week. Holding short, 10-minute meetings every day helps ensure that all employees are on the same page. Getting together daily keeps everyone up to speed on important company happenings and ensures that everyone knows exactly what they need to be doing.
That’s not the only benefit of a short, streamlined daily meeting, though.
Take a few minutes during each meeting to celebrate accomplishments, acknowledge achievements and praise employees for their good work. Make it known when someone goes the extra mile to improve the company or satisfy a customer. Doing so only takes a few seconds, but it goes a long way toward boosting morale and making workers feel appreciated. And happy employees who know they are appreciated work harder and more efficiently.
Increase Printing Efficiency
No matter what type of business you run, it is likely that you do a lot of printing. While it may not be something that you think about often, your printing process could be slowing down productivity and wasting money.
Choosing the right hardware helps you save money while improving efficiency. Choose printers that are appropriate for the size of your business and your printing needs. If you do a lot of printing, pay close attention to how many pages can be printed per minute. If you primarily print text-based documents and you need to print several pages on a daily basis, laser printers could save you both time and money.
Prioritize black-and-white printing over color. Color toner and inkjet cartridges are more expensive than black. Printing in color also typically takes longer. Print most documents in monochrome and save your colored ink and toner for specific projects. If you have no need to print in color, a monochrome laser printer is an extremely affordable and efficient option.
Use Task Management Software
Emails and sticky notes on desks are not efficient methods of task management or collaboration. Task management software makes it much easier to assign projects and track progress. Projects can be broken down into individual tasks and assigned to the appropriate individuals. Task management software also allows teams to collaborate and work together in one space rather than going back and forth on email or leaving notes.
Using task management software also makes it easier to estimate how long various projects and tasks will take, simplifying the scheduling process. Programs like Asana, Trello and Wrike are flexible, affordable and make it much easier for everyone to work together.
While it may be impossible to avoid all the distractions that tend to pop up on an hourly basis, there are steps you can take to limit interruptions. If work starts at 9 a.m., there is a staff meeting at 10 a.m., a client meeting at 11 a.m. and lunch at noon, your employees may find it nearly impossible to stay on track.
Rather than scheduling multiple meetings throughout the week, try to combine as many into one as possible. When multiple meetings are necessary, schedule them all on one day to ensure your employees have other days to work uninterrupted.
There are also tools to help you avoid distractions like email alerts, chat pop-ups and task management software notifications. Tools like Inbox Pause can be used to reduce email notifications, and a free app known as SelfControl can be used to block email, Web sites and distracting apps for set periods of time. Using these tools–or any of countless other options–helps limit interruptions and prevent distraction.
Just about everyone claims to be an amazing multitasker. As I’m writing this article, I have six tabs open on my Web browser and that is a pretty conservative number compared to most days. While we all think we are great at multitasking, we may not necessarily be as productive as we would be if we focused on just one thing at a time. Committing to “single-tasking” could actually make your business a lot more efficient.
Single-tasking allows you to complete projects faster. Focusing on one thing at a time also helps decrease stress and results in a greater sense of accomplishment when a task is completed. By working on just one task at a time until a project is complete is much more satisfying than chipping away at several tasks at once and feeling like nothing ever gets finished.
Making your business run more efficiently helps you save time and money while improving company morale and ensuring that you meet your goals. In today’s market, being efficient isn’t just beneficial; it’s essential. By implementing the simple tips listed above, you can help your business run smoother.