In the search for a more profitable business, many firms will not only look to boost their sales and increase their prices; they’ll also look to reduce their overheads and increase their operational efficiency. In this guide, we’ll look at what firms can do to make their internal processes smoother, more streamlined, and better adapted to the modern market. With so much technology to leverage and wisdom to glean from other firms, there’s much for businesses of any size to learn about how to make their firm more efficient in the coming months and years.
All small the medium-sized businesses will operate with significant inefficiencies, but some simply won’t be able to spot them outright. That’s because, in the cut and thrust of delivering for clients and customers, it’s easy to overlook areas in which you’re operating below an optimal rate. There can be dozens of reasons for the development of these blind spots, including:
- The sense that things have “always been done that way”.
- Your staff not being given the freedom to create their own more efficient processes
- Old software or hardware that slows all of your processes down and could be replaced
- Poor data connection between different branches of your firm, slowing feedback and planning
- A lack of knowledge about the automation of key manual processes
All of these factors should be considered when you’re wondering whether you could make your firm more efficient. The best way to locate the inefficiencies that your business suffers from is to conduct a full audit of every process in your firm. That way, you’ll have a brilliant idea of the inefficient processes that you want to prioritise and target.
There’s no doubt that software is one of the key answers to any business that feels like it’s operating with a little too much fat. Streamlining processes usually means finding ways to leverage technology and software in order to reduce the time your staff spend on certain tasks. A software subscription nearly always comes out cheaper than the wages you’re paying staff to do work themselves. The key software you should consider will include:
- Financial and account software to automate some of your key financial data and insights
- Wider product management software, including software that replenishes your stock automatically
- Software deigned to cover your HR processes, such as mapping vacation, sick days, and pay
- Any form of automation software, from a chatbot on your website to a customer success email marketing service
These technological solutions may take a while to onboard with, requiring your patience and the buy-in of your workers. Others will be tricky to implement and to onboard with. Larger software packages, such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software, are partially complex to bring into your firm. Yet following the steps for ERP implementation will help you begin to utilise the benefits of the product as quickly s possible.
Your staff are an important part of your business, but if you’ve been complacent as you’ve built up your workforce, you might find that you have too many staff members working slowly on too few tasks. That’s a state of affairs that will be losing you money hand over fist and if you are planning to bring in some automation technology to perform some of their responsibilities for them, you may need to consider making some redundant.
This is never a nice step to take as a business, but if you’re to survive and thrive, especially in difficult economic times, you’ll need to be ruthless in your pursuit of profits. Your people will be motivated to work harder if you show that you’re trying to operate a lean organization in which every worker is vital to your success. If your workforce is bloated, consider cutting it down to achieve new efficiencies and generate higher profits.
There are other overheads associated with a business, of course. Making a note of all of these, perhaps the next time you file your expenses, will help reveal to you where you might be able to cut back. Consider, for instance:
- Trying to reduce your energy usage so that you save cash on your utility bills
- Looking to reduce your use of office goods and stationery, which can add up
- Asking your staff to move onto their personal laptops if they are working from home
- Considering reducing the size of your office space to save on rent
All of these options should be considered open to you. As long as cutbacks don’t impact your productivity, they’ll help you generate more profit in the long run.
Use these tips to shrewdly being streamlining your business into a formidable enterprise in the months and years to come.