No business owner can know exactly what the future holds for their business, or what bumps in the road there might be on the path to success. Even so, every owner is aware that the more smoothly and efficiently a business runs, the more agile it will be in handling the challenges of the future. Here are five simple tactics that can be incorporated into any business to facilitate smoother operations.
1. Leverage the Efficiency of Automation
The big story in business efficiency over the past few years has been the increasing capabilities of automated systems. Artificial intelligence is powering an array of new tools for business owners that can put many of the more tedious business processes on autopilot. Two of the more common are customer relations management (CRM) software and project management tools.
The former can automate outreach and sales processes and the latter aids in coordinating members of a team tasked with a specific goal. Thanks to the power of cloud computing, these sophisticated AI systems are often available on mobile devices. Paystub generator and accounting software are two additional investments to consider making.
2. Keep Organized
One of the largest barriers to efficiency has always been a lack of organizational skills. According to an Office Depot survey, 63% of small business owners see a correlation between the level of organization and the profitability of their operation.
The most important factor in getting organized is time management. Day planners and filing systems can help, but there are better options these days than a Rolodex.
Digital calendars and planners are always a good idea. Business analytics software and financial planning programs can be helpful if you need to take an objective look at the status of your business and make productivity forecasts.
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3. Institute Processes for Everything You Do
When we talk about business processes, we mean related tasks that serve a specific goal when performed in a specific sequence. It sounds simple, but whether from stasis or fear of change, many entrepreneurs limit their implementation of specific processes to big-picture goals and let the details sort themselves out. That’s rarely a good idea.
Having clearly defined processes in place for reaching even small targets boosts efficiency and reduces error through repetition and drilling. Process improvement methodologies vary widely, but the ultimate goal is the same: easily implemented standard operating procedures that act to streamline the path to meeting goals.
4. Hold Weekly Staff Meetings
Meetings get a bad rap these days. It’s true that they can be productivity killers, but “can” does not imply “must.” In reality, meetings can be very helpful…if they’re done correctly.
They can keep workers focused on their tasks, promote a unified vision, and unblock the social logjams that develop when conflict is allowed to simmer unaddressed. Remember too that meetings don’t have to be boring! There are plenty of ways to keep employees engaged without watering down your message.
It’s also worth mentioning that digital communication tools like Zoom have been a blessing for the coordination of teams and remote workers during 2020, so consider using these technologies to keep wasted commute and coordination time to a minimum.
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5. Provide Ongoing Training
On that same note, investing in your employees and their personal capabilities is also crucial to keeping your business profitable by reducing costly turnover. A study by training company Lorman found that retention rates rise 30% to 50% for companies that nurture a strong learning culture. This means not only high-quality individually optimized training regimens but repeating those regimens on a regular basis.
Better skills also decrease the chance of workplace accidents. According to the National Safety Council, the number one cause of workplace injury is overexertion, so teaching people to work smarter rather than harder helps to streamline everything.
Keeping your organization flying level in turbulent times is both an art and a science. By remembering these few fundamental strategies, you’ll be able to keep your business steady and prospering.
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