An efficient business is a profitable business. Conversely, if a company is struggling to stay in business, it needs to address the overt or hidden problems that are making it inefficient in the marketplace. Efficiency, then, should be a priority in any business.
While it is not difficult to argue for the fundamental value of business efficiency, it does become challenging to figure out exactly how to increase efficiency.
Here are three suggestions:
1. Outsource Work
In small businesses, the owner often wears several hats. Similarly, employees may do more work than listed in their job descriptions, trying to close the gap between what needs to be done and who is available to do it. This, to say the least, is inefficient. While a company may not be able to afford all the employees it needs because it has not established sufficient revenue to hire all the right people, it can still outsource the work and increase its revenues because more critical jobs get done on time. A small business need not hire a full staff to run well. All that is necessary is a core team to operate the business with the rest of the work being outsourced.
Here are some examples of work that can be outsourced to improve business efficiency:
· Human resources
· Accounting and bookkeeping
· Marketing and sales
· Warehouse management and order fulfillment
2. Improve Technology
A business that does not have a solid technical infrastructure is destined to be outwitted and outmatched by its business competitors. Technical efficiency need not be expensive. A business can improve connectivity by using a company that specializes in providing economical solutions. A provider like MegaPath, for example, can set up anything from Ethernet access services to network support. A business can also transfer most of its software-related work to the cloud. By doing this, it will save money in developing in house software training, upgrading software, and maintaining hardware. A business can become much more efficient by relying on the cloud to run most of its business applications and handle its storage needs. These two ideas are not mutually exclusive: a business can have excellent connectivity and use the cloud, too.
3. Motivate employees
Ultimately, the success of a business depends on more than merely improving the administrative and technological aspects of it. It has been said that a single good employee is worth more than a large number of bad employees. While a good employee will be busy making sales, improving customer relationships, and increasing company operations, bad employees will be gossiping at the water fountain, improving their scores on Candy Crush from their Smartphone, and antagonizing customers with their lack of patience or productivity. While, of course, it is possible to improve employee performance through micromanagement or regular company meetings, these are inefficient ways of fueling motivation. It is far better to use skilled interviewers to hire the best employees and then motivate these new hires by offering many opportunities for contribution to the core values of the company as well as advance within it.
These three suggestions offer a good start to making a company more efficient. Once core people and processes are improved, then there is enough momentum to begin looking for other ways to improve efficiencyâ€”for example, periodically reviewing the quality of suppliers, isolating best practices in marketing, and offering in-house training to improve sales.