The following post comes to us from Kiley Martin, a Philadelphia-based freelance writer, editor and blogger.
Increasing the efficiency of operations should be a primary goal of all business owners . However, enhancing business productivity often falls by the wayside when workload increases. People push things off and get stuck in the same old routines.
You might be worried about the need to spend money in order to make your business more streamlined. Especially in the startup world, it’s unavoidable. You’re introducing things for the first time and it will cost time and even perhaps a new position. You’re building something that wasn’t there before.
But spending money doesn’t mean inefficiency. In fact it often means the opposite, especially if you’re investing in the future of the business. If you spend $5,000 to save $5 every time you do a repetitive process, you’ll make your money back in no time.
With that in mind, here are some ways you can make your startup business more efficient.
Invest strategically to reduce costs
When a startup is founded, business owners choose not to invest in a lot of technology or equipment because it may initially increase costs. For instance, you may choose to use a manual fax machine instead of buying an electronic one with Bluetooth access.
However, if sending and receiving faxes are a critical part of your daily operations, using an electronic fax machine would save you time, paper costs, and the hassle of manning the machine when waiting on an important document. So, even though you may have to spend some money and invest in a good machine initially, it will make things easier later on by increasing your time and cost efficiency.
Cost benefit analyses like this are very useful for when you’re setting up your business as they can help you in the long run. Focus on strategic investments that impact your most important operations.
Automate your tasks. Focus on your specialties
As an entrepreneur, you will quickly become aware that just because you own a business, this doesn’t mean you are equally good at managing all aspects of it. You could be well versed in the nuances of how to sell an app, but you might not be familiar with the specifics of app development or coding. This paves the way for task delegation.
Foremost, you need to learn to identify which tasks you can do best and which need to be delegated to other employees so they can do it best.
This concept also applies to menial tasks. Even though you are a business owner looking to cut down costs, taking a full burden of responsibilities will not help your situation. If you spend three hours manually sending invoices to clients, you are spending way less time overlooking the state of affairs for your business.
It would be prudent to get software that takes care of your invoicing so you can pay attention to other tasks that demand your attention.
In the same way, menial jobs like sending receipts or overseeing the delivery of documents could take up mental space, time and energy. Hiring an employee to take care of these tasks or using a computer program can not only make things easier for you, but also streamline your business processes in the long run.
It will also free up most of your work hours so you can focus on other tasks that require your attention.
Furthermore, if you have a website, which you should, don’t spend too much time running it if you’re a website amateur. Allow a hosting service to take the reigns. You’re running a business, not a website or an AP department. You need to invest in these processes so they don’t eat away all your time.
Give feedback and encourage employees
Your responsibility does not end at hiring personnel. The reason why most startups fail is because they are unsuccessful at retaining talent. The employees may feel useless in terms of contribution to the overall venture if they are not encouraged regularly.
Sometimes business owners will stick to brief comments and words of appreciation that mean nothing to the employee. Without proper feedback, they can stagnate their progress.
Therefore, it is important that as a business owner, you develop a keen eye for the work of your subordinates, providing ample constructive feedback where necessary. This will develop your rapport with the staff and provide work fulfillment so they can keep working with you.
Plan your schedule and focus on one thing at a time
Most startup owners work long hours and sacrifice sleep for work. Yet, they always have tasks on their to-do list that still need to be considered. For them, the work never ends.
This does not mean that other startup owners have it considerably easier than you do. It just means that other business owners have learned to manage their time and their tasks.
But how do you end up going about that ridiculous pile of work on your desk? Well, the first thing is to list everything you need to do. Then, list the time you have in a day that you will dedicate to the tasks, and plan accordingly. Do not attempt to take on more work than you know you can do.
The same goes for your employees. Encourage them to direct their focus on single tasks, rather than multitasking. Intense concentration will produce better results and take less of a mental toll, resulting in quality and efficiency.
Do you have a tip for helping a business to run more efficiently? Share your advice by leaving a comment!
Kiley Martin is a freelance writer, editor and blogger from Philadelphia, PA. She has worked with several popular blogs and magazines. She recently graduated from Drexel University. She also enjoys mentoring and connecting with others on new technologies in web development and programming. Feel free to contact her at KileyAMartin@gmail.com