Every company ought to look for new ways to improve efficiency. An efficient office means a more productive workforce and, ultimately, more profit. When you’re busy dealing with the day-to-day running of the business, it’s easy to lose track of the bigger picture.
Today, we’re going to take a step back from your entire business. Look at every aspect of the company objectively for a second. Where could you improve efficiency? What small changes could you make to speed up each corner of the business? When it comes to efficiency, it’s the little changes that have the biggest effect. Combined, they can inspire drastic changes.
Efficiency is all about making life easier for your employees and your customers. The easier you make your workers’ lives, the more they can do for you. Remove the obstacles in their way and let them blast through their tasks. If you’re worried about the efficiency of your company, keep reading and find the answers.
Company structure – We believe that efficiency all starts with the business structure. You need a clear and practical hierarchy with expert understanding. A whirlwind of inefficiency emerges when employees don’t know who to turn to with problems. There should be clear, defined and separate roles in the office. Each should report to their line manager who reports to the board members. When employees know where they stand, they can make efficient choices and solve problems quickly.
Document everything – At the time, recording every transaction and client relationship might seem inefficient. However, once it becomes a habit, it makes everything easier. There will inevitably be discrepancies and confusion. Documenting everything means you can quickly check back at the records and confirm what was agreed. Trust us, this saves a lot of trouble in the future. Simple spreadsheets and client files will suffice.
Constant training – The most efficient companies are the ones that can react quickly to changes in consumer behaviour. They can latch onto new trends and make quick changes to the company structure. It’s the only way you can capitalise on emerging markets or new concepts. The best way to ensure this flexibility is through constant training. Make sure you employees are at the cutting edge of new technology and methods. Bring in experts on a regular basis and pay for new courses. Make sure your team are spotting new trends quickly and reacting to them.
Secure and fast databases – Most modern businesses deal with lots of data. It’s a simple fact of running a business in the digital age. Whether it’s customer information, payment details or other personal data, it must be stored safely. You need an efficient system that takes care of itself and doesn’t require too much trouble. The experts at database company Altibase told us that speed and security should be your top priorities. Don’t let a slow and unreliable database drain your company’s time and resources.
Templates and standardisation – If your organisation deals with the same documents on a regular basis, ensure they are standardised. Use templates for order forms, invoices and sales pitch emails. Hone and define your wording and layout, then simply reproduce them on a mass scale. It gives your employees consistency so they can power through boring admin tasks quickly. Your clients will also appreciate a consistent approach.
Automated software – It’s the repetitive, ‘red-tape’, administration jobs that drain productivity and efficiency. It often feels like wading through a bog just to keep the business moving. That’s why it’s essential you take advantage of automated software. You can employ this software in your accounts department to free up your finance team. You can use a customer relations manager to give deep insights into your customer’s buying habits. Software can help you aggregate social media and website statistics. Anything you can do to automate data and information will give your employees room to focus on more creative tasks.
Outsource – As a small company, it pays to outsource as many tasks as possible. Your business should focus solely on the core job at hand. Let professionals deal with your web design, accounts, IT support and customer service. Let your employees get their heads down and push the business forward. Try to avoid any outside distractions by outsourcing your needs. Financially, it makes a lot of sense too.
Manage your emails and cut down meetings – In terms of day-to-day activity, we could all make a few changes to our routine. Everyone has their own distractions, and it’s important to recognise that. One way you can stay on top of your team’s productivity is reducing the length of meetings. Find a realistic meeting structure and try to limit them to less than ten minutes. Make decisions quickly and share advice, but don’t let them drag on. When it comes to emails, try to dive into your account less often. Set aside a portion of time in the morning, and then again in the afternoon, to address them.
Make your online presence do the work – The secret to efficiency is making people come to you. Whether it’s clients or customers, you can boost efficiency if you cut down the time spent chasing new leads. Optimise your website for maximum search engine presence. Start building a loyal and engaged social media following with compelling content. Test and refine your site until you’re getting the best possible conversion rates. Make your online marketing do all the legwork.
Be selective – Finally, there’s a word you need to start using more often: “no”. Don’t accept everything that comes your way. Don’t get bogged down with clients, projects or tasks that aren’t worth the time or effort. You only have a limited number of hours, so spend them wisely. Don’t be scared to get selective with your jobs. Focus on the core tasks that will push your business forward.
A truly efficient office is a joy to work in. Jobs get done quickly and efficiently. Employees are happy because they’re let loose on projects that matter and your profits will soar. What could you do to improve your company’s efficiency?