Every business can streamline its operations and improve its efficiency to some degree. No one has yet devised the perfect workflow and there will always be areas that can be improved upon or developed. Here are four simple ways that you can tweak your business’s operations to improve efficiency and enhance your profitability.
1- Go Paperless
Honestly, who’s still printing out e-mails in this day and age? Well, a surprisingly high number of businesses as it turns out. There are endless justifications from businesses that have so far avoided going paperless. For some businesses, there are valid reasons for not going paperless. Some businesses do generate a lot of paper waste and can’t do a lot about it. However, for most businesses, going paperless isn’t just feasible; it also offers a number of desirable benefits.
Going paperless isn’t just about improving your green credentials, although this is a very useful side effect. Going paperless will force a shift in the way that your workers approach information, data, and organization. Your workers will have to think about every piece of information that they would normally put to paper and why they are committing it to paper.
You can provide your workers with smartphones and tablets so they can digitally record information instead. However, in many cases, you and your workers will realize that you don’t actually need to record the information at all. If the information does need to be put to paper, try to limit it to a single copy if at all possible.
2- Consider Outsourcing
Outsourcing is becoming an ever more common practice now that technology has massively expanded the range of services and equipment that can be obtained on an outsourcing basis. Historically, outsourcing has been something we tend to associate with large businesses and big budgets. But this picture of the situation is simply no longer accurate.
Join Our Small Business Community
Get the latest news, resources and tips to help you and your small business succeed.
Outsourcing today is something that businesses of all shapes and sizes can take advantage of. That’s not to say that you should outsource just because you can – outsourcing should be a way of bringing any areas of your business that are lagging behind back up to speed and on par with the rest of the business. For example, if you don’t have enough manpower to set up your own in-house customer service or IT department, these are both prime targets for outsourcing.
3- Get Everyone Organized
The more organized your business is at every level, the more money you will be able to make and the less waste you will produce. Whether it’s time or physical resources, you want to keep waste to a minimum and productivity as high as possible. There is a variety of tools and techniques that you can use to improve organization, some of these are industry-specific – such as the SCRUM system – while others are more general, like the Gantt chart.
Many businesses find the Gantt chart to be a fantastic way of managing their projects and staying organized. If you’d like to give the Gantt chart a go for your business, you can get one here.
4- Use Automation to Streamline
Like outsourcing, automation is another technique that has become more common and more accessible for businesses of all sizes across multiple industries. When most people think of automation, they envisage robots on a production line. However, automation comes in a variety of different forms and includes software solutions as well as hardware.
Some common targets for automation are the end of day admin routines, accounting, tech support, even the management of your social media accounts. Simple and repetitive tasks that are currently taking up your time or the time of your workers can often be automated, freeing up your valuable time for more important tasks.
The Bottom Line
These simple tweaks can work wonders for any business. If you’ve been stuck in a productivity rut and aren’t getting the results you want, consider whether these tweaks could be the answer.