Small business owners are always looking for more hours in the day and more money in their operating budgets. Did you know that unfinished projects account for 7 percent of company time or that spending too much time sifting through emails costs small businesses $6,000 annually? However, there are things in the daily routine of small businesses that can be tweaked to make operations more efficient, and owners should consider the following productivity suggestions.
- Encourage BYOD.
It is likely that many of your employees own mobile devices, like tablets or smartphones, so tap into that technology for your business. Instead of spending a lot of capital upfront, focus instead on incentivizing your employees to use their own devices. This may mean paying for a portion of their monthly bills or allowing them more work-from-home flexibility.
- Use Cloud programs.
Forget about emailing the same attachment ten different times and waiting on other people before you can progress. Using document sharing through a cloud service means that all of the different players can have access anytime, anywhere.
- Hire well.
If you have employees, make sure you have the best. Look beyond what a piece of paper says and decide before hiring if that particular person would make a good addition to your culture and team.
Once you have the best employees, use them. Let them help you by doing whatever it is you hired them to do. Having the best employees will not help you with efficiency if you are still taking on too many tasks.
- Implement subscription and billing solutions.
Use the technology that exists to simplify your billing and collection services. If you offer a monthly service or a product that is consumable and needs to be replenished, look for software that will cut out the manpower needed to finish those tasks.
- Schedule email times.
Instead of letting every email pull you away from the work at hand, pick specific times of day to check and respond to your messages. Depending on your business, you may need to do this once an hour or every five or six hours. Keep this in mind with your smartphone, too.
- Streamline your space.
Is your individual workstation working for you? How about the office as a whole? Reevaluate the time you spend at your desk or in your working area and see what a little organization and cleanliness could do to make it more efficient and tidy.
- Keep communication strong.
Make sure that you and your employees, vendors, and customers are on the same page. Make your intentions known and never leave anything up to second guessing. Instead, make sure you understand exactly what your clients and customers expect from you before starting on a big project or order. If you aren’t sure, ask.
- Go paperless.
Consider all of the paper, ink, and energy you waste printing out documents for office communications. Instead of having a physical fax setup, opt for a service that redirects faxes to email addresses instead. Give your customers incentives for signing up for e-billing, and you will also save money on postage.
- Use inbound marketing.
Set up your online presence to bring in new customers who are looking for your products or services on search engines. You can also build a strong social media presence for free—minus the manpower to keep those accounts up to date—and cast a wider net for prospective customers.
Small business owners are smart to begin with. It is a prerequisite of running a successful enterprise. Look for savvy ways to save time and money in your daily workflow and you’re sure to see a difference.