Efficiency is one of the most important things for any kind of business. When everyone’s focussed on efficiency, the company reaches its goals sooner, and suffers less from wasted resources. If you’re in the start-up phase, and efficiency seems like something elusive, then don’t worry! There are a range of methods and tools you can apply at your business to increase efficiency. With a few changes in a variety of areas, your start-up can quickly begin to get more results from less expenditure. Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? If you want to up efficiency at your business, then here are some of the best ways to do it.
My first tip is to utilise the technology available to you in order to speed up employee workflow. B2B tech companies are everywhere now. Every business should be using the tech it could benefit from, especially if they’re small and new. Take a moment to think about a regular day at your office. I’m sure you can think of some area where you’re spending too much time and resources. One common problem with start-ups is that there’s too much time wasted on admin; sending information between two parties. A simple way around this would be through the use of cloud tech. Set up some document sharing at your company, and you’ll be able to shave off a large chunk of your admins’ workloads. There are dozens of free programs you could use for this, such as Google docs. However, it’s worth researching other platforms, aimed specifically at businesses. This is just one of the ways you can use technology to speed up the processes at your company.
Next up, try to make your meetings more concise. If your business is like most start-ups, then your start-of-day meetings may feel more like a social function! Everyone’s tired, and after you go over the order of business it’s easy to lounge around making small talk. While I understand the appeal here, it’s not the best habit you can have if you want your business to be successful. These meetings should have a real, feasible function within the company, and you shouldn’t let any of the time go to waste. One easy way of making meetings more efficient is having them standing up, rather than in your cushy board room chairs. This will keep the atmosphere energised and to the point. Dispense with the pleasantries quickly, and have everyone talk about the specific task they’re going to be working on today. This will keep you up-to-date on all your operations, and ensure that resources won’t be wasted on any non-urgent jobs.
My next piece of advice is to plan out your office space carefully. Many business owners don’t think that the physical office has much to do with their overall efficiency. Believe me though, your choices will have a huge impact on expenditure! You’ll be able to save a lot of money by sharing a communal space with another business, for example the toilet and kitchen facilities. Furthermore, it will encourage more collaboration as your business starts to grow. The Pixar offices are one famous example of this. These were designed with a large, communal hub. This gave the opportunity for chance meetings and collaborations between people who wouldn’t usually work together. If your workforce is still fairly small, then you have an advantage when it comes to the office layout. It will be convenient enough to engage with all of your employees, and figure out how to get the best performance out of them. Some companies keep isolated, quiet rooms, which staff can use if they’re struggling with a tough piece of work. Think of any possible way you can optimise the office for productivity, and then do it!
You might have already tried to cut down on your expenses, and found that anything you’d have to lose out on simply wouldn’t be practical. This is pretty common for new business owners. You may think that that your hands are tied, but there are many ways you can cut down expenditure without feeling the pinch. Making small cuts to unessential things around the office is usually a good thing to start with. You might want to bring in energy efficient lightbulbs or find a cheaper vendor for your office supplies. There could be dozens of opportunities to save money in front of your nose, but your financials might be too disorganised to see them. It’s probably worth buying some book keeping and expenses programs. For starters, it will cut back on the time you’re spending keeping your books manually. Also, when all your books are laid out in a clear, concise way, it will be much easier to see where you could save.
Make sure you don’t neglect ongoing training in your office. I know that when you first set up, you’re probably more focussed on keeping afloat than anything else. However, if you fail to look for ways to keep your staff’s skills sharp, you could be holding your business back. Every niche and industry is constantly changing. You need to be aware of this, and using anything at your disposal to improve staff efficiency. Seen as you’re El Capitano, the training and improvement should really start with you. Attend some management seminars with a focus on productivity, or take courses like the six sigma master black belt certification. These kinds of resources will give you valuable insights about making a business more efficient. You can then pass these onto your management. If there’s any new, unfamiliar tech you’re going to be bringing in, organise some training in its use. If you feel like your staff aren’t meshing like they could, then plan some team-building exercises. Your staff are what makes your company tick, so equip them as best as you can!
Take this advice, and you’ll see your start-up swiftly becoming more efficient. When you’re reaching targets faster and cutting down waste, all kinds of doors will open for you. My final tip; stop reading about improving efficiency, and get stuck in!