No two businesses are the same, but they all share the need for efficiency. Tackling efficiency challenges means greater profits and fewer losses. Efficiency also gives companies the agility and flexibility they need to cope with changing economies. Below are a few strategies entrepreneurs can employ to keep their operations running smoothly.
Try Automated Systems
The internet offers a wide array of digital tools for building efficiency. Cloud computing and machine learning have advanced rapidly over the past few years. Leverage these technologies to make the most of your time. Chatbots, for example, can help deal with high customer service volume. Sales automation software can automate digital marketing activities. App-based monitoring tools like shipping API software are useful for speeding the shipping and handling process. Think about what tedious, time-consuming processes could be accomplished digitally at your company, then consider automating them.
Learn What You’re Not Doing Right
You can’t fix a problem you don’t see. Good business analytics strategies are necessary to learn why your company is succeeding in one measure and failing in another. Additionally, getting feedback from the individuals involved in each business process is vital. When personal concerns are left unaddressed, group cohesion suffers. At best, this results in slow interdepartmental coordination. At worst, this causes data silos in which crucial information never gets shared. The more you know about your business processes, the faster inefficiencies will be found and fixed.
The debate over the effectiveness of staff meetings continues to rage. Research from the University of North Carolina found that 71% of senior managers surveyed found meetings inefficient and unproductive. Meetings can indeed be helpful when done in a quick and focused manner. Problems arise when they’re allowed to disrupt workflow. The same study found productivity erodes when meetings are unannounced or poorly planned. Keep meetings as short and to the point as possible. Schedule them in advance so that long-term projects face minimal disruption. Having remote meetings can also be beneficial, especially for home-based workers and sales teams in the field.
Managers (and owners) have an unfortunate tendency to micromanage. There’s something of a paradox at work here. It takes confidence to succeed, but that same quality results in leaders performing tasks they should delegate to others. One good rule of thumb is called the “70 percent rule.” If you’re in a leadership position and someone else can do a task at least 70% as well as you can, they should get the task. It’s similar to the law of comparative advantage. Productivity increases when everyone is doing the jobs they’re best suited to do.
Prioritize Employee Training
Poorly trained, unmotivated employees are a massive drain on efficiency. A study encompassing several Italian firms found a strong correlation between worker training and productivity. The link was especially acute for blue-collar workers; it’s not surprising given the technical skill required to do hands-on labor. Other studies have discovered a link specifically between regular training and efficiency. In other words, giving a refresher course and then ending the program is counterproductive. Education has to become part of the culture of the modern office.
Create a Healthy Workplace
The issue of health in the workplace is impossible to ignore. Even before the recent global health crisis, lost productivity from sick days was costing the U.S. economy billions. Solving this problem requires taking a holistic approach to health. Seemingly minor aspects of a workspace can have an outsize effect on wellbeing. Ergonomic chairs can prevent posture-related issues. Incorporating natural daylight into spaces improves sleep and job effectiveness. Even diet impacts productivity, with research finding that magnesium, phenylalanine, and choline correlate with better brain function. Efficiency begins and ends with your team. It’s time to give them the consideration they deserve.
The key to efficiency is making the most of the resources at your disposal. Consider these tips at the beginning of your new efficiency program.