With the economy getting tighter it is now harder to operate a successful business. What does it take for your business to be efficient? Well, it’s different things for different businesses, but some things are constant. Successful businesses maximise their output while minimizing their costs. It demands maintaining a delicate balance between output quality and costs.
There are ways to have your business operate as that well-oiled and tuned machine, one that reduces your costs, your stress levels and makes you proud. Here are seven tips to get you started:
1) Build a business that can operate without you
Your business should not stop if you had to call in sick or have to be elsewhere dealing with clients or even need to take a vacation. Do you sometimes feel that if you don’t do it, it’s not done right? This often leads to the feeling of being trapped by the business. One way to overcome this, is to build repeatable and scalable processes and then train all the relevant team members in your company to do it. Delegate the work to the relevant team members and stick to the processes that work and change the ones that don’t . Resist the urge to jump back in and take over the process. You won’t become successful overnight, but as the business progresses, you will be able to evaluate what works for you and what changes need to be made.
2) Ensure your financial records are updated in a timely manner.
Record keeping is the pulse of your business and will let you know well in advance if you are heading in the right direction. The days of shoebox accounting are over. It is important to always know where you stand financially. Waiting until the end of the year to take your box to your accountant is too late. Ideally, you should know where you stand on a monthly basis so that you can make more efficient decisions. Increase your chances of being successful by ensuring that you have a good accounting software, such as www.getheadoffice.com, which can make this process much simpler.
3) Outsource those areas that you do not have a competence.
Your business might have come from your inspiration, but you do not have to try to cover every area yourself. Get into relationships with professionals who have experience and the expertise in areas you don’t. This allows you to control your costs, focus on your core business, benefit from someone who is an expert in their field and reduce unnecessary mistakes. Areas to look at are accounting, payroll, marketing and IT. Outsourcing has been proven to save time, reduce costs and make businesses more successful.
4) Make technology work for you
Do not be afraid of technology, embrace it! Keep up to date with technologies and products in your line of business, which can reduce time and/or improve your processes – Time is Money.
Make use of the following:
- Online banking allows businesses to save time and money in several ways. No more standing in bank lines for transactions as you can pay bills, receive customer payments, check bank balances, download statements and much more.
- Reduce paper usage, where possible, by creating a common digital filing system for your office and institute a printing policy which supports this.
- Utilize cloud based software to access very robust services at a fraction of the cost of owning the software and hardware out right. These services often have multiple layers of security and backup than most small businesses can afford. A good example of this is www.getheadoffice.com.
5) Create a process for communication within your company
When communication is poor, work is inefficient. Thus, employees are unclear what to do, wrong information gets communicated, expectations are unmet and chaos happens. Create a system for disseminating information in your business. It may be as simple as an open door policy to daily or weekly meetings to carefully crafted procedures and policies. Whatever you do, make communication a priority – because if it fails, your business will not be successful.
6) Fire unprofitable customers
Yes, you read right, “Fire Unprofitable Customers”. Not all your clients will be good for business. Pay attention to the costs associated with servicing each client and evaluate if what you earn from that customer adequately compensates you. This is especially true for service businesses. That client with the large order is not doing your business any good, if he/she habitually pays late. If your clients or customers start costing you more to keep them than you earn from them, then it’s time to reevaluate that relationship.
7) Manage distractions by planning
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Planning helps to set out the next steps for your business and helps you look ahead and set goals for your business. Planning ahead acts as a yard-stick for how well you are meeting targets and seeing how today’s events will affect the future goals for your company. You can improve your daily efficiency by pre-planning your day, setting a specific time to check your emails and or social media, how many meetings you have and setting times during the day when you do not entertain interruptions.
As a business owner it is good to create a culture of efficiency and success within your company, that way it becomes everyone’s job. What are some of the moves you have made to make your business more successful? Share your comments below.