Starting a new business is no simple feat but it is made all the more difficult when inefficiencies creep in. ‘Why is my new business not taking off?’ ‘Why have sales slowed down?’ ‘Why are my competitors moving ahead?’ These are all questions that can find an answer in the efficiency of your business. It is vital in any business, let alone one just starting out, that operations are streamlined and without excessive waste. This can cost you money and success down the line, whether it be from an unproductive workforce or an outdated website. In this guide, we highlight some of the best ways you can make your new business more efficient, including using the right technology and altering staff interactions.
Identify the inefficiencies of your business
The first step in making your new business more efficient is to first identify what it is that is causing the existing inefficiencies. You can’t hope to solve the problem if you don’t even know what it is. So, it is important to take a deep look at the current state of your business and its processes. Try to look at different areas and discover where waste is currently existing. Inefficiencies can pop up in many different places, such as archaic business procedures, wasted manpower, and your staff’s approach to internal communication. Once the causes have been diagnosed, you can look to cure the disease.
Use technology to free up labour
The correct use and implementation of technology into your business is key. This can be manifested in myriad ways. Automating certain monotonous tasks is certainly important, as this will free up your staff to do tasks that can’t be automated and need a hands-on, human and creative touch to problem-solving.
Paul Prior, the business development manager from LivingBetter50 – a business and lifestyle blog for women over 50 – shared with us how tools and tech have helped them with their efficiency: “We run an incredibly efficient business here and this has been done by investing into long term tools. We have put tools in place that have streamlined the process of obtaining and publishing our content, while also dealing with customer’s needs immediately.”
You could also consider taking some of the unnecessary strain off your employees by installing an external platform lift. This would mean employees don’t have to spend their time and energy moving stock and inventory upstairs and can instead focus on other important areas of the business.
Multi-tasking isn’t always the way
Multi-tasking is often thought of as the best approach to getting work done in a quick and timely manner. However, this isn’t always the case as tasks take longer to get finished. Having a dozen plates spinning at once and a slew of tabs open in your browser can actually cause inefficiencies, not prevent them, as Life Hacker points out:
“Juggling tasks divides your attention, increases the time spent refocusing on important tasks (making you less productive), often gives people the impression that you aren’t completely focused on them (because you’re not), and robs you of a powerful focus you could be directing towards a single important task.”
Instead, encourage single-tasking in your business, focusing on one task alone until it is completed. Only moving onto a new task once the current one is finished, will help you to get more work done in a quicker fashion. This is also good for staff morale, as they will feel like they are accomplishing something and working their way through their workload, instead of having a dozen tasks on the go at once, none of which will be completed any time soon.
Reduce excessive staff meetings
One of the key causes of completing tasks efficiently and, therefore, having an efficient business, is avoiding too many interruptions throughout the day. This often takes the form of excessive staff meetings, with employees getting together an inordinate amount of time to discuss things that don’t really require it. Reducing these constant interruptions will be a big help, allowing staff to crack on with their designated tasks. Try to create long periods of uninterrupted time for staff to work and refrain from daily catchups for every project currently underway.
Of course, distractions also come from sources other than meetings, such as emails, instant messages, project management software etc. These are all helpful tools but should be used in moderation. Take a look at these handy Google Chrome Extensions for a few ways you can reduce distractions around the office.
Encourage staff to talk face-to-face
While it can sometimes be very convenient and easy to send an email, or for staff to talk via an instant messaging service like Microsoft Teams, sometimes this can actually slow things down around the office. Talking via email can involve a lot of back and forth and can often be far more time consuming than simply talking face-to-face. What’s more efficient, a mile-long email thread or a five-minute conversation in person?
So, encourage your employees to get up now and then and speak directly to the colleague they need to chat to – not for every interaction but when they feel that it is needed and more practical. This way, they can hash things out, bounce ideas off each other, and explain problems in a more economical fashion.
Encourage employee feedback
One of the best ways to identify inefficiencies within your business and create a smoother operation going forward is by soliciting employee feedback. It’s the people on the ground that will have the best idea of where waste is occurring and may be able to provide you with insightful feedback about how things can be improved.
So, encourage this culture in your new business, letting staff know that you are interested in what they have to say. Utilising employee feedback surveys and software – such as this product from Peakon – will help facilitate this and will also make staff feel like their opinions are respected. Combining feedback from employees with the bird’s eye view of a business owner will go a long way in creating a more efficient path forward.
How to make your new business more efficient
- Identify the inefficiencies of your business
- Use technology to free up labour
- Encourage staff to talk face-to-face
- Reduce excessive staff meetings
- Multi-tasking isn’t always the way
- Encourage employee feedback
Turning an inefficient business into a slick and economical machine can be a challenge but there are simple ways – such as with the tips listed above – that can help you turn things around. You may even feel like your business is going along just fine but don’t want to rest on your laurels. Are you implementing all of the above? If not, give them a go, and see what new heights your business can reach.
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