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Transforming Your Business Efficiency: A Guide

Your business efficiency is as important as your marketing strategy in terms of expenditures and ultimately revenue, learn how to improve yours.

Business Efficiency

 

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

A business is made up of lots of moving parts and built on several different layers of foundation, but if there’s one element they all have in common, it is the need for efficiency.

Your business may be ticking along quite nicely, but is it operating as well as it could be? Are you spending unnecessary minutes and hours in unproductive meetings? Are projects taking longer than expected to reach completion? If so, your business may be losing time and money down the drain. 

To ensure your team and business is operating as efficiently and as productively as possible, it may be time to take a good look at your processes and company culture. This guide outlines some key steps to take and ideas to consider when trying to improve your business efficiency. 

Embrace automation as much as possible

You might be surprised how many processes and tasks can now be automated. In reality, businesses that are not embracing automation are at serious risk of being left behind by their competitors. Automation can prevent your employees from spending lots of time on administration or repetitive tasks so that they can put their time and skills to better use, e.g., providing customer service or devising creative solutions to problems that require a human approach. There may be some upfront costs involved in automation, but in the long run the improved efficiency should save the business a significant amount of money. 

Encourage face-to-face interactions

In the modern workplace, it is routine to interact with colleagues via email or instant message as it can feel like a more efficient communication tactic. This might be true when asking a simple question does not require an urgent answer, but when a topic requires some discussion, problem-solving, explanation, context, or is time-sensitive, it is usually much faster to speak to someone face to face. Encourage employees to speak to each other regularly, to build a rapport, and discuss issues openly as much as possible. This will improve business efficiency and strengthen the team. 

Prevent interruptions 

Are you asking your team to attend a 9am meeting, jump on a quick conference call, head into an 11am meeting, and then take their lunch? Are they receiving regular email alerts and chat messages? If you are also expecting them to be able to focus on tasks and complete work to a high standard, you are unlikely to get the results you are looking for. Studies have shown that even the briefest of interruptions can derail a person’s concentration for a significant period. 

Consider blocking out entire mornings or afternoons that will be free of meetings and look into using apps and tools that reduce distractions. If your IT systems are regularly slow or fail and you do not have an on-call IT support team, your staff will be losing valuable time trying to fix problems when they should be working. 

Kick-start the day with a short company meeting

Of course, team and company meetings are important, but not so important that they should prevent the team from getting on with their work. Instead of scheduling a weekly or monthly meeting that drags on for hours, consider switching to a short 10-minute meeting at the start of every day. In 10 minutes per day, you should be able to recap progress made during the previous day, establish key objectives for the day ahead, and condense all the key points of information and relevant developments to ensure everyone is in the loop at every stage. Click here for ideas on how to run an effective meeting.

Encourage a one-track mindset 

Some people take pride in the fact that they are able to multitask, but the truth is that trying to stay on top of too many projects at once is going to lead to inefficiency and lots of semi-completed tasks. Instead of attempting to make some progress in several areas at once, encourage your staff to stick with a single task at a time. Of course, they should be organized enough to have several projects under control, but in terms of moving a project forward, they should focus on one task at a time. Give what is in front of you your full attention until it has been completed and then move on to the next task. 

Avoid unscheduled “quick” meetings

Everyone in the workplace is guilty of asking someone to “chat” for a few minutes or to nip into a meeting room for a quick catch-up. Unfortunately, it is these unscheduled meetings that become the undocumented drain on a company’s efficiency. In reality, if a meeting is literally over in 2 minutes, it is unlikely that anything significant was accomplished, and if, as is more common, the meeting actually takes 15 minutes or more, it has probably wandered off-topic or needs a proper allocated meeting slot. 

Don’t cut corners 

You will have heard the old saying “more haste, less speed” or another similar phrase, and it is just as true in a business environment. When feeling pressured, it is more likely that staff will cut corners or fail to stick to proper processes in an effort to meet deadlines, but in the long run this will harm the business. In addition, if and when errors are discovered, they will cost the business time and money trying to correct them or minimize damage. Processes should be stuck to at all times. Of course, if you decide that a process could be made more efficient, adapt it intentionally and with consideration, not because you are running out of time. 

Encourage honesty and clear communication 

In addition to as much face-to-face interaction as possible, your staff should feel comfortable and confident enough to communicate more generally. For example, would your staff be able to voice a concern or put forward an idea to improve how the business operates? The most successful businesses are those that value the opinions and skillsets of their staff, and they understand that diversity and lots of different points of views are key to growth. Employees should have a regular opportunity to contribute to the company’s strategy and to suggest improvements or voice concerns, and they also need to know that their contributions will be valued. 

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