Companies across the board are experiencing unprecedented levels of uncertainty. According to a survey from online payroll company OnPay, only 12% of businesses report that things are “normal” for them right now. When the future is uncertain and margins are tight, efficiency is more important than ever.
To ensure a sustainable economic future for your company, you need to start maximizing your efficiency today. Setting your small business up for success means taking a hard look at what works and what doesn’t — whether it’s your budget, workflows, or tech, not a single aspect of your business can go unexamined.
Optimization, however, is always easier said than done. Here are a few places where you can start:
1. Automate, automate, automate.
Your employees are what make your business great, so you should do everything you can to keep them from getting bogged down with meaningless tasks. Sorting emails and downloading data are hardly high-value tasks for your team — consider automating them instead.
Take lead generation, for example. When it comes to smaller clients, you don’t need your top workers poring over small fish. According to social media management platform Oktopost, businesses that use software to generate leads automatically can experience a 10% bump in revenue as soon as six months after adoption. None of your workers want to waste their time with menial work, so get your tech to do it for them.
2. Delegate appropriately.
Purchasing platform Turbine reports that 53% of small business owners believe they could grow their organization significantly if they could just delegate 10% of their existing workload to employees — so what’s stopping you from doing so? Delegating the right way can take a huge load off your back without unduly burdening your workers, elevating your business along the way.
One of the biggest benefits of keeping your business small is the opportunity to work laterally, creating an open structure that allows employees to feel comfortable sharing tasks and projects. Take advantage of this by being open with your team about the importance of delegation — those with more on their plates should feel free to approach those with less to do. This can give efficiency a big boost in the short term while guaranteeing long-term success.
3. Streamline communication.
It doesn’t take a study to know that workplace communication is far from ideal, but the research from McKinsey showing that 28% of the average employee’s time is spent managing email is still a shockingly high number to see.
It’s easy to harp on email for being an outdated medium of communication, but few companies are prepared to do away with it entirely. Still, switching to more specialized platforms can do a lot for your business: Talk shop over Slack, but send your attachments through Dropbox. Email may be valuable as a general-use tool, but switching to niche applications can help things run more smoothly.
4. Ban multitasking.
Since the rise of the digital age, multitasking has become the norm for businesspeople the world over. Documents are proofread during important phone calls and emails sorted in the middle of crucial meetings — it just the way things are today, and it’s terrible for optimizing the way your company works.
For your company to achieve maximum efficiency, multitasking needs to be done away with immediately. Work management platform Wrike reports that multitasking reduces a worker’s productivity by as much as 40%, but even that number might be generous. Force yourself and your business to tackle one problem at a time — it’s the only way to ensure you’re always doing your best work.
5. Optimize meetings.
When online scheduling service Doodle released a report stating that poorly run meetings are costing the U.S. economy nearly $ 400 billion a year, was anyone genuinely surprised? As much as meetings are complained about, few companies have taken any action to make the situation better.
When it comes to making meetings efficient, there’s nothing more important than purpose. Only hold meetings that have a clear intention behind them, and do everything you can to give them a firm structure. Moreover, offer polls or submission forums before large meetings that allow your employees to voice their opinions regarding what they want discussed. An efficient company is one that addresses all of its workers’ concerns, and meetings are great opportunities to do so.
There’s no way to guarantee success for your business down the line, but maximizing efficiency certainly doesn’t hurt. Finding new ways to promote revenue while keeping expenses to an absolute minimum is the best possible way to prepare against any future downturns in the market. Best of all, it ensures that you’ll be able to reap the benefits when things go back to normal.