Efficiency means running a tight ship, but it doesn’t have to mean there’s no fun left in your business. Here are some tips on how your business can have both.
When you own a small business, you must be future-oriented. You must also be able to find and target those areas in which you can improve your company’s efficiency and find ways to do so. This will help you strengthen your business and increase both its cash flow and its profitability. These are things that many business owners didn’t focus on in the past, but that many small businesses are spending more time focusing on today. This is because they see how beneficial this is to their company in the long-term and it’s also because there are lots of tools available today to help businesses become more efficient, grow, and perform better.
Provide Secure, Consistent Access to Information
Cintas says it’s easier for small businesses to be more flexible than larger businesses. However, you must make sure your employees have the information they need to quickly respond to your customers’ questions and requests, change supplier-scheduled deliveries, and troubleshoot operational glitches. The best way of doing this is through a secure intranet, an on-site shared file system, or in the cloud. These let all your employees have consistent access to the knowledge and information they need so they can quickly make decisions and respond to your customers. Obviously, this will improve your company’s efficiency.
Make Your Hiring Process More Efficient
Over the past few years the U.S. has been steadily adding jobs. This is great for the economy, but it makes it challenging to find good employees at the price point you want. Now you must invest more time and money in searching, recruiting and hiring people. When you pre-plan for those positions you must fill (knowing weeks to months in advance) you’ll be able to schedule these activities around the other work you’re already doing. These tasks will involve:
- Writing clear job descriptions for the positions
- Using the job descriptions to create job postings
- Including action items for your prospective employees beyond simply sending you their resume
This will also help you attract more highly qualified prospects. It will also help you know who must be involved when so the process is more efficient.
Enhance Communication with Customers and Prospects
Sales management software and customer relationship management (CRM) software help you track your whole sales funnel – starting with identifying potential customers and continuing through when they become your customers. Tracking these interactions saves you a lot of time since you can see where each person is in your sales process and thus you’ll know what steps must be taken next. You can also track what current products or services your existing customers are already buying so you’ll know what add-on services or products to offer them. This will also help you track service issues. When you use these tools properly you’ll be much more efficient, and everyone will be much happier.
Train Your Employees
As your business grows you’ll probably promote people to new roles or have them accept new responsibilities. This will requiring some training so they know the safety or regulatory requirements of the job, become more capable at doing their job, and learn any new skills necessary. Making sure you provide this training will help improve your business’ efficiency.
Make Your Website Work for You
Interacting with your customers through a website costs significantly less money than phone or in-person interactions. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can handle all interactions online but handling those you can here will improve your business’ efficiency. Some of the easiest services to take care of online include:
- Billing and having your customers pay their bills
- Answering basic questions
- Submitting requests for information
The more through your website is, the less time and money you’ll spend.
Automate Where Possible
By automating tasks requiring manual repetitiveness you’ll free up time for more productive, business-supporting activities. For instance, you can stop mailing out weekly paychecks and use direct deposit instead. This will create more time for your bookkeeping personnel to run credit checks for new customers.
Promote Employee Collaboration
Business 2 Community says promoting employee collaboration is important. You’ll want to find ways to increase their efficiency when they’re working on projects with their coworkers to collaborate. Typically, this is done by using specialized software like a cloud-based phone system. Some other useful technologies here include video conferencing software, a company intranet for secure communication, and cloud data storage. By staying up-to-date with the latest trends in software and technology you’ll reduce the time that’s needed for completing group projects.
Analyze Customer Traffic with People Counting
One of the best tools for ecommerce today is website analytics software because it’ll help you learn how people find your website, what pages they visit the most, and how long they stay while they’re at your website. This information will enable you to make adjustments to your website so you can improve on how it’s converting. Doing so will help you better accomplish your business’ goals – things like attracting more customers and improving your revenue. Of course, this won’t work as easily for brick and mortar stores. Here you must look at more than your employees’ productivity – especially when you’re in a retail environment. Nevertheless, it’s still important to use the latest traffic monitoring software to examine your customers’ behavior so you know what piques their interest. Detailed metrics will also help you:
- Compare how different products are performing
- Monitor how your sales and promotions are doing
- Optimize your advertising budget
- Monitor how long your customers are waiting
- Determine how changing prices, products, and services will affect your customers and impact your business
Clearly, detailed traffic monitoring software will help you closely track how your customers are responding to various factors – something that will help you learn how to anticipate and respond to their wants and needs better.
These are some suggestions that’ll help your business increase its operational efficiency. There will always be areas where you’ll need to improve and areas where you’ll need to create and develop new products and services. Using these tools will provide you with the insights you need so you can successfully accomplish these things.