Efficiency is vital for a small business. The scale your company operates at means the margin of error is much smaller than for larger organisations. However, creating a strong, efficient business has many more benefits than just surviving in the short term.
As your company begins to grow, having effective and streamlined processes will help you to scale up successfully. Here are five ways you can improve the efficiency of your business.
1. Create a business plan
Before you can understand whether your business's processes are necessary or efficient, you need to know where you want your business to head. A clear direction for your company allows you to look at what you're doing and quickly evaluate if it ties in with the overall aim.
For example, dedicating time and energy to selling a certain product may seem like a good idea. After all, it's producing profit, right? However, if this is a side offering of your company and you actually want your business to grow sales in an area that gives a much greater return, then it is an inefficient use of your effort.
A business plan can allow your company to redirect its focus to the areas that will benefit it most.
2. Outsource non-core activities
If you're running a small business such as a cafe, your core activities include:
- Providing amazing coffee.
- Making the dining experience enjoyable.
- Serving delicious food.
- Creating a pleasing environment.
Not included in this list are activities such as marketing or accounting. While both are essential for your business, they aren't core to the service your company is providing.
With these types of tasks it's essential that you weigh up whether the cost of your time is worth what you'll save by keeping the work in house. Not only is it likely that your effort is better invested in the core activities or managing the business as a whole, but it's also probable that outsourcing will produce much more valuable results.
The initial cost of hiring someone to manage the marketing of your business might hurt, however in the long run the results produced might make it the more efficient choice.
Technology is a massive part of today's world, and has a lot to offer businesses. One of its most basic uses is automation.
Within every company there are repetitive tasks that need to be performed. However, instead of paying staff to complete these activities, or sinking your own time and energy into them, you can often automate them.
Here are some simple examples that can immediately help make your organisation more efficient:
- Social media – Instead of taking time out of each day to create and post to social media, use programs that schedule posts to go out for you. You won't have to worry about missing a day, and you can create the posts all in one sitting for more effective time-use.
- Research – If you want to know about updates about a certain topic, or wish to compile research on your competitors, Google Alerts can scour the internet for you. Set certain search terms and have regular alerts and news related to them delivered to your inbox.
- Accounting – Managing your bookkeeping can consume a lot of time and energy. However, the right accounting software dramatically cuts down on the effort involved. Certain systems, such as Xero, can also help you automate monitoring stock levels, paying bills, and chasing invoice payments.
4. Review your structure
Your small business won't be efficient if you're double-handling jobs or trying to sort out who does what.
A clearly defined structure ensures that each aspect of your company has someone looking after it and that each role clarifies the associated responsibilities. This means that when work comes in, it immediately is picked up by the right people and dealt with more efficiently.
Reviewing your company's structure includes ensuring roles are filled by those who best fit them, and handing over control. Micromanaging, or having the wrong people in key positions, only adds to inefficiency.
5. Track, review and repeat
Efficiency is a continuous process, especially when your business is growing and changing. Track how your business is performing and the results that any changes you make produce. Review whether they helped, or whether further adjustments are needed. Repeat this at regular intervals.
Here at WMC Accounting we want to help your small business grow and succeed. If you'd like to talk to our team about how we can support you, reach out to us today.