No matter how efficient you might think your business is running right now, there is always room for improvement. Operational efficiency is one of the key factors that separate mediocre businesses from good ones. But for many inexperienced business owners, it’s difficult to raise efficiency without raising the cost. For many, these two things are positively correlated wherein any attempts to improve business efficiency leads to more costs and liability. Here are four easy ways to run your company better without severely increasing costs:
Automate as Many Processes as You Can
As more businesses switch from manual to automated tasks, you risk being outperformed by your competitors by refusing to implement automation within your own workforce. Automation can be daunting to tackle, given the technical complexities involved. However, it doesn’t take a lot of skill or money to automate processes. Start by identifying monotonous tasks in your day-to-day and then start drafting plans on how to best automate said tasks.
For instance, for social media or blog marketing campaigns, you can find content management systems that enable scheduled posting of content. Another example is with your finances or accounting department. You can use invoice reminders and payroll apps to easily manage and automate these ongoing tasks.
Open a Merchant Account
As the world continues to move from cash and checks to credit cards and mobile payments, having a merchant services account is important so you can continue to serve the changing payment preferences of your consumers. A merchant account allows your business to accept different payment methods, such as debit and credit cards.
There are many advantages to being able to accept multiple payment methods. For starters, if you are running an online store, a merchant account minimizes your cart abandonment rate. If a person from a foreign country wants to buy a product from you and you only offer a US-based payment method that’s not available in their country, you immediately lose that customer. Having a merchant account also helps you avoid bad checks, increases customer convenience, and streamlines your business’ cashflow.
Master the Art of Delegating
Delegating is a commonly underrated skill, particularly in business. But as much as you hate to admit it, you only have a finite amount of time and energy to expend throughout the day. Despite a laudable work ethic and intellectual capacity, you’ll always have another task that you could be working on. Delegating a task to the right person or team frees you up to do other important tasks.
Successful delegation requires an acute sense of your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. You need to know who can best handle a given task otherwise it could lead to more delays and inefficiencies. You’ll also need to learn how to innately trust people to follow through. If your employees don’t feel that trust, they may approach the task in a less motivated and capable manner.
Communication can make or break your business’ ability to complete tasks on time and grow unencumbered by operational bottlenecks. Promote a work culture of open communication. Encourage your employees to speak up when they are afflicted by a workplace issue or when they have an idea that can improve business processes. Ask yourself – do your employees feel safe enough to voice their concerns or offer unbiased feedback without fear of repercussions from the brass?
You can start working on your workplace communication culture by setting up weekly or monthly one-on-ones. You should also start listening to any feedback that employees have already voiced in the past. If their past feedback was simply disregarded, your employees are unlikely to try and speak up again. You should also ask your employees about their preferred communication style as a group and individually. Some employees prefer in-person and face-to-face conversations while others are more comfortable speaking up via email.
These are only a few of the many ways you can increase the efficiency and growth rate of your business. Other ways you can increase efficiency include allowing employees to work remotely, being strategic about when and how long your meetings should be, downsizing your physical office space, renegotiating your costs with suppliers and distributors, and finding a co-founder to share the workload with you.