Running a successful business isn’t all about having the best quality product, lowest prices, or superior customer service. Sometimes it’s the small internal workings that make or break a business. This includes factors like efficiency.
What is Business Efficiency?
Without any strategic planning, most businesses are naturally inefficient. Time, energy, effort, creativity, and financial resources are wasted or underleveraged – and it shows. Processes are lethargic, people lack purpose, and the overall business moves at a snail’s pace. Efficient businesses, on the other hand, move with purpose.
“Business efficiency refers to how much a company or organization can produce as it relates to the amount of time, money and resources needed,” Indeed.com explains. “In other words, a business’s efficiency measures how well it can transform things like materials, labor and capital into services and products that produce revenue.”
Businesses can be efficient in a number of areas. Efficiency can be measured based on financial ROI, process efficiency, operational efficiency, energy efficiency, labor productivity, etc. And while every business leader understands the need for greater efficiency, only a select few actually know how to execute in order to generate results in this area.
The hope is that this article will equip you with some of the tools and frameworks needed to replicate their results.
5 Tips for Greater Efficiency
As you think about improving your efficiency, there are several areas you’ll want to focus on. And while every business is unique, the following tips should prove helpful and empowering.
As a business owner, you can’t afford to have a savior mentality where you see yourself as the only person who is capable of performing specific tasks. As tough as it is, you must learn to relinquish control and delegate.
Delegation can be scary, but it’s how you multiply your time. And if you know how to delegate properly, there’s actually a lot less risk.
The key to proper delegation is to play to your employees’ strengths, interests, and goals. Don’t try to delegate graphic design and creative marketing tasks to someone who is very technical and analytical.
Instead, play to their strengths and give them tasks that make their brain sing. When employees are properly aligned with the right tasks, they’re more motivated to succeed. This leads to greater efficiency and control.
Not everything can be delegated within your business. In some cases, it makes more sense to outsource to an independent contractor or business partner. This is usually the case when it comes to big, ongoing processes that require technical competence. IT support is a great example.
When you outsource your IT to a company like Palmtech, you can streamline all of the complex, time-consuming tasks that can easily eat away at your day. This includes things like server setup and management, network cabling and wiring, VoIP solutions, business continuity planning, disaster recovery, IT support, and even CCTV surveillance.
You can also outsource on a project basis. Take marketing as an example. It’s easy to get stuck in a marketing rut when you’re the only one coming up with ideas. By outsourcing campaigns to other marketing partners, you enjoy an infusion of independent, unbiased thinking that opens up new doors.
Feedback is so very critical to business efficiency. It’s one of those things that you absolutely must emphasize on multiple levels. This includes both customer feedback and employee feedback.
Customer feedback is vital. It shows you where customers are satisfied and where they’re still left wanting something more. It also gives you a clear idea of where to focus your energy and resources. For example, if you get a ton of feedback that your products are great but your customer service is atrocious, then you know that something has to be done to shore up this area of your business.
Employee feedback is just as critical (if not more). Your employees are the ones actually executing the individual tasks and processes within your business. They know which aspects are inefficient and slow. They also have ideas for improvement. But unless you ask them, they may not be forthcoming with the feedback.
Automation is your friend. Use it wisely and generously. If there’s a process that can be streamlined with an application or software, do it. This can save you hours of time per day (and thousands of dollars per month). It also speeds up the delivery of service and allows you to move more swiftly.
Every business has time-wasting activities and processes that unnecessarily zap time, eat away at employee schedules, and prevent people from being as productive and efficient as they can be. Meetings are one of them.
While some meetings are necessary, many (maybe even most) are not. Research shows that 71 percent of professionals waste time each week due to unnecessary meetings. In total, the average employee spends 31 hours per month on unproductive meetings. That’s basically the equivalent of four eight-hour workdays.
People spend an average of 10 minutes and 40 seconds just waiting for meetings to start. And then when they do start, there’s usually small talk on the front end and back end (with a few minutes of productive conversation sandwiched in between).
If meetings are a problem for your business, the best thing you can do is adjust your approach. First off, cancel standing meetings that don’t serve any specific purpose. Secondly, get serious about shrinking the attendee list to meetings and only inviting people who are absolutely critical to the meeting’s objectives.
While it’s a struggle for most, it’s possible that meetings might not be a huge pain point for your business. In that case, focus on other problem areas like complicated processes, slow employee onboarding, etc. The goal is to find the time-wasters and choke them out.
Scale Your Business
It’s difficult (if not impossible) to scale a business to any meaningful level without dialing in your efficiency. Every business faces unique circumstances and has individual goals. However, if you apply the tips and techniques outlined in this article, you’ll almost certainly put your company in a place to be more successful.