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5 Top Ways to Improve Your Company’s Efficiency
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5 Top Ways to Improve Your Company’s Efficiency

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About This Lesson

Small businesses do not have room for waste. You need to make the most of every second of the workday, and get the most from every employee. These five tips can help.

Use the Right Technology

Technology can be expensive. It seems as if, no matter what you buy, you need to replace it in a few years with the latest version. It can be tempting to skimp on computers, smartphones, software and apps. Yet you do so at your own peril. The right technology can help a company perform better, save time and stop wasting resources. To spend your technology budget effectively, understand what different workers need.

Construction companies need a time tracking app that accurately tracks employee tasks and locations. Such apps help managers monitor crews, bill clients accurately and create future bids. They also allow workers to focus on doing their jobs rather than on manually filling out timesheets.

Remote sales teams need laptops and smartphones, plus apps that will operate seamlessly over many platforms. Team members who rely on video calls must have robust technology and the ability to boost weak cell service.

Graphic artists need state-of-the-art computers and accessories. They may also require multiple design and editing programs.

Quit Asking Workers to Multitask

If your recruitment ad for your last front-line position included “great multitasker” you may be in trouble. Multitasking, or doing multiple tasks at the same time, seems more productive than doing one thing at a time. In reality, research shows that it is actually much less productive.

It may feel as if composing an email while talking on the phone is accomplishing two tasks in the time it takes to complete one. However, the phone conversation will likely take longer than it otherwise would have. Moreover, bits of conversation may get lost — forgotten or remembered incorrectly — necessitating another phone call or leading to a misunderstanding. The email may be riddled with typographical errors, sentence fragments or misstatements. A grammatical error in an email can make your company seem sloppy and unprofessional; a misplaced decimal point in a project bid may cost thousands.

Automate Tasks

Set up a system to automate routine tasks that are done repeatedly. You may generate an automatic email or text message to confirm that an order has been placed. Follow-up messages can alert customers to their order’s progress: send pre-programmed notifications when items are packaged, shipped and delivered. Such robotic messages are fairly simple to set up and they let customers know their business is important while taking no time away from your sales staff.

Re-evaluate Constantly

After a while, you may feel as if your business is running smoothly. However, there is a fine line between hitting your stride and getting stuck in a rut. To maintain maximum efficiency, you should constantly be evaluating and re-evaluating your systems. If you can shave five minutes off a process you perform a dozen times a day, you will save an hour—and if the process is used by multiple employees, the time savings can be transformative.

How do you know which systems are ripe for change? Ask. Your front-line employees are typically the ones using your business systems daily, so they may be the first to see the weak spots.

Another reliable source of information is your clientele. Follow up each customer interaction with a brief survey. Start with just two questions: Are you happy with us? Would you recommend us to others? If you start getting negative feedback, dig deeper. Ask some of your best clients what you should change, then figure out how to make the improvements they request.

Outsource as Appropriate

You cannot do it all; if you try, you will likely waste time and do some tasks badly. One solution is to create new departments as your firm grows. According to the Small Business Administration, many small businesses find it more economical to outsource certain jobs. Some of the most commonly outsourced tasks include accounting, marketing and information technology management.

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