After running a business for a few years, it’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day details and forget that there are many other long-term tasks of running a business. While keeping your business profitable seems like it’s primarily the result of increased customers and sales, it can also be achieved through running a tighter, more efficient business.
Decreasing your costs helps increase your profit margin and ensures that you are able to keep up the success you have already achieved, even when faced with tough economic conditions. Here are a few useful tips to help you make your company more efficient and eliminate unnecessary costs.
1. Make Sure Your Records are Updated. One of the biggest mistakes a business owner can make is not documenting everything. If you’re running a new promotion, make a special note of it. If you have a bunch of clients or customers, make file folders for them to hold any correspondence notes or applicable paperwork.
Time spent looking for something and trying to figure out what you’ve said previously is time that could’ve been spent finding new customers. Keeping a record and making sure everyone knows that the records exist and how to access them is important for keeping your business running smoothly and efficiently.
2. Continually Train Your Employees. Just as the direction of a business can shift over its lifetime, the tasks of employees can change dramatically over the course of employment. Training your employees only once isn’t necessarily sufficient, especially if you’ve taken your business in a new direction or started using a new technology.
If you want something done a certain way, teach your employees specifically what you want. That way, no one wastes time trying to play the guessing game in getting something done right. Along with this, it’s important to occasionally remind your employees of what their job roles are and the chain of command, especially if there have been any major changes. Everyone at your business should have some idea of what everyone else does, regardless of whether you business is big or small. This will eliminate wasted time trying to find the person who knows the specifics of one thing and will also avoid duplicate work.
But something to consider here is that not everything needs to be done a specific way all the time. That can make it difficult for any business to run efficiently, and you don’t want to be bogged down with too many rules and regulations that prohibit your employees from doing their jobs efficiently.
3. Standardize Documents. The famous saying in almost any endeavour is, “Don’t reinvent the wheel,” and this couldn’t be more true than when used in a business context.
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Don’t do the same thing over and over again when you don’t have to. It’s a waste of time, energy and resources that could be used to move on to new projects and new ideas. You can avoid this waste by standardising any documents you use frequently (or even moderately frequently). This will help you avoid having to redraft anything down the road.
You can standardize anything from order forms to emails you send out to clients or customers. Anything that only needs minimal individualization but that gets used semi-frequently is a good candidate for standardization.
You should also consider standardising processes, as this will save time as well. If you make a lot of file folders for clients or really if you do or make anything in mass, assign one or two people the job of taking care of it. This will ensure it gets done properly every time and that there aren’t any duplicates made. You don’t want to train and retrain everyone in the office on the proper procedure for calendaring–just assign it to one person so that it gets done right without needless fuss. The trick here is to make sure that the procedure is moderately well-known (maybe among a few people) in case that person isn’t at work or leaves the company suddenly. Also, it’s important to remember that most tasks, when done repeatedly, become monotonous and boring, and no particular employee should bear the burden of all your repetitive business tasks. It doesn’t save you any time if you have to train a new employee every six months because the previous worker got bored.
The daily tasks of running a business can be all-consuming, but it’s important to remember that there are also ongoing projects that are essential to maintaining a successful business. Making it more efficient allows your employees to do their jobs as well as they can, and also frees up time that can be spent on finding more customers or perfecting new projects. These tips can help you find that extra free time!