There are a lot of important traits for any business to have. An important mission, a culture that benefits employees, a great leader – all of these qualities and more are essential to success. One of the most important qualities to have, though, is efficiency. A process is made efficient when it can be accomplished in less time and with fewer errors; optimally, this is done without sacrificing other important features like ease of use or compatibility with customers. Here, processes that can increase your business’ overall efficiency will be examined, though some of these steps might apply for maximizing efficiency for an individual process:
Your data analysis is only as good as your data set; in other words, the more high-quality data you have, the better. You should be rigorous about data gathering, and you should be gathering data for every business process. Buying supplies? Crunch numbers on how long your suppliers take to get them to you, and how much they cost. Repairing equipment? Log what repairs were needed and the date of repair. Interacting with clients? Find a way to gather demographic or psychographic information.
Data gathering is an interesting study in efficiency, because the gathering process can seem inefficient (more on that in the “Automation” section), but it leads to far greater efficiency down the line.
Business plans are often seen as static documents, something akin to the US Constitution – difficult to amend, held in high regard. This should not be the case. As circumstances change, your business plan should change too. By allowing for dynamic planning, if new efficiencies come along you can more readily adjust to them. Encourage a culture of flexibility in your workplace.
Automation platforms come in all shapes and sizes, and they all have one goal in mind – making your business processes more efficient. Automation is typically good at two things – performing simple, repetitive tasks, and completing tasks that are prone to human error.
You can automate data collection through the use of online tools like landing pages and redirects. You can automate client interactions through tools like online booking software, virtual assistants, and self check-outs. You can even automate process management through a variety of tools that collect data, make inferences, and recommend efficiencies based on those inferences. In other words, you can automate (to a degree) the process of making things more efficient.
For tasks that you don’t do often and that can’t be automated, outsourcing can be an excellent idea. Not every company needs an in-house IT department. In the same vein, business accounting services can often be outsourced for small businesses. Outsourcing is efficient for a number of reasons. You don’t have to provide contractors employee benefits. You don’t have to pay them full-time – you can instead pay them fees. You won’t have to do the task you’re outsourcing yourself, leading to more efficient skill allocation. Basically, you save yourself time and money, two things that are bound to make your business more efficient.