In this article we’ll explore 5 ways that you can make your business more efficient. The language is intentionally aimed at an individual for the following reasons:
- If you are the only employee, it’ll help you
- If you are an employee of someone else you should get more information to carry out your role more efficiently, or to challenge your boss
- If you run a business with multiple staff, these are tips that you can give to your staff. If every single staff member is more efficient, surely you win too?
I’ve learned that there is a NEVER ENDING supply of people who will tell you how to be more efficient. You’ll then become really inefficient by seeking efficiency… Try not to be overwhelmed by everything that ‘can be done’ and work on what is best for you!
The 5 tips
#1 Outsource it!
Surely an obvious start but if you want to be more efficient in any aspect of life, get someone else to do it for you. We all do it but maybe not consciously. You might pay a garage to service the car, or plumber to fix the shower. Try to apply the same logic more often. Look at all of the activities that you do, then figure out who is best to do them.
I’ve a tool here called the Do What You Love tool to help with this. The idea is to write all the things you do on the sheet. Those you don’t like need a new home. The ones you don’t like might also feature in the “love” section of someone else’s chart.
You might delegate to another team/person or pay to outsource. The basic principle is if someone can do it for cheaper, it should at least be considered.
Now, in a really BACKWARDS step, don’t get all excited and start redistributing. I’ve started with the obvious but to get the MAXIMUM benefit from outsourcing, you would be wise to consider the other 4 steps first.
#2 What is “it”?
What does your business do? How can you make this as simple to understand as possible? It is very common for me to ask people to dumb things right down to use as simple language as possible. The same goes for the tasks you do. Before you try to become more efficient, make sure it’s simple to understand. Then if you’re going to outsource it makes the whole process easier.
To take a real-world example a client had a new website built before we started working together. The website didn’t work as it needed to. Whose fault was that? If I’d have been involved at the beginning of that process, I’d have made sure there was absolute clarity of the way the website needed to function. The provider would have either opted out, or likely have requested a higher fee.
To help with the simplification, I wrote another article here which aims to try and simplify the process of picking new software.
The moral here is understanding as much as you can about everything that your business is doing gives you the best possibility of making it more efficient. If you’re making hunches rather than using facts and data, you might not improve in the areas you’d gain the biggest improvement.
#3 Focus on the right stuff
Once you have that clear picture of what your business does, then move on to apply the right focus. You might even find things you don’t need to do at all.
Back in corporate land, I loved playing this game. I’d be told that “xyz” need to receive this very important report once a week. You might be able guess the rest.
Me: Why do they need it?
Colleague (C): We’ve always sent it.
Me: Why though?
C: Because we have.
Me: Oh… But why?
C: [angry face]
Off I’d trot to go and see Mrs xyz.
Me: You know this really important report we send you? Do you need it?
Director: Oh, no not anymore, that was just because of this issue we’d had.
Another example is in the sporting world. You might complete a triathlon and be reasonable in all areas. You might love swimming. If you work REALLY hard you might get 2 minutes off your swimming time. You’re not the biggest fan of the bike but if you work REALLY hard you might get 15 minutes off your bike time. Guess what, you love the swim, so you focus there.
Ok, that does undermine my Do What You Love Tool but I’m hoping you get my point. It might also be that you really don’t like the bike. If you really aren’t keen, maybe just quit doing triathlons and go for a duathlon.
In your business, make sure that the activities you are doing are helping your business in the best possible way. Just remember that we are all human, we’re not here to be machines and be 100% productive 100% of the time.
#4 Embrace Change
I can already imagine people getting a little bit squirmy as they sit in their seat! Some people really are not big fans of change. Unfortunately, though the way the world is you have got to learn to understand and embrace change. The key word there is UNDERSTAND. If you are making changes, make it absolutely clear of the reasons why. If you are a recipient of changes, make sure you challenge to understand why. The understanding just makes it smoother. If people don’t like what you’re doing, with understanding it’ll be easier to move forward.
Another major benefit when it comes to change is to make sure you have a solid business plan. I have a template for that too, you can find it here. With a well communicated business plan, it makes it a lot easier for staff to see the direction. They get involved in the journey and changes happen faster.
Industries are changing at a rate we’ve not seen before. If you don’t keep evolving and moving forward, you are going backwards.
#5 Technology is your friend
This might be a difficult concept to understand, but technology was created to make our lives easier. Some of that has mutated to generate as much income for the tech giants as is possible but the easier technology is, the more they should be able to sell. There is a reason the first-generation iPhone’s changed the smartphone landscape. They were by far the easiest to understand.
If you are really unsure about tech, or which way to turn to get to understand it do not panic. The first thing you should do is have a re-read of tip #2. What do you do? Then why do you think technology can help you? If you get that bit down first, then look for a trusted partner to support you.
I’ve got experience in this area, but the other members of Derby Hub also specialise in topics where I’m not so strong. Together we have a formidable team who are supportive and focused on delivering the right solutions for clients.
The one thing I would try to avoid with technology is taking on too many efficiency tools. If you have lots of tools, I don’t see how you can be that efficient! Find the right tech that works for you and get it working how you need it.
There are a million ways you can be more efficient in your business. I’m hoping that with these 5 tips you can start to make inroads. If you have a plan in place to drive your business forward and start to implement these techniques, they should become ingrained and a part of your continual forward momentum.
It should go without saying that if you need any more information or would like support in any of these areas, just reach out on 07766 962751 or email@example.com