5 Ways To Make Your Business More Efficient
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?
On to a really early caveat here. My experience in the three years that I’ve run my business is 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… Let me explain more with the providers and the users of efficiency tools.
Providers of efficiency
I’ve not attempted it (I’m too efficient see..) but I’m sure if you write down all of the providers of efficiency tools you’d hit the same scenario of the maths favourite PI and you’d not stop. Some are genuinely helpful, some not so much. There are obvious examples such as using the old favourite, a diary or calendar. Even those are catered for online so you then start to delve into solutions such as Trello and Hubspot. When do you stop using them and how do you know which is best? Let’s have a quick look at the users of efficiency tools..
Users of efficiency tools
Everyone uses some form of tool to help them be more efficient. Human nature is to make shortcuts, to find the quickest way to do things. That can lead us to some poor decision making. Have you suffered with back pain? I have. I often hunted the “thing” to make it stop until I realised it needed to be several things and continual work. Have you also seen those adverts which guarantee £35k income with no effort. Same again, human nature makes us think that would be cool. A lottery ticket, the easy way to solve all of life’s problems.
To try and summarise this section, everyone finds ways to be more efficient. As a result we have a million things we can optimise and an infinite list of solutions. To get the MAXIMUM return, you need to start with needs first. What do you need to be more efficient at. Then apply solutions.
The 5 tips
That intro went on for a little longer than planned. I’m going to speak about this in public too, I’ll shorten that bit! Moving on to the 5 tips you can tackle these separately, use a combo or try all of them. If you really apply focus, they will help.
#1 Outsource it!
I’ll start with the most obvious. If you want to be more efficient, in any aspect of life, get someone else to do it for you. Most of us do this in some form all of the time. Pay a garage to service the car, or plumber to fix the shower. But apply the same logic more often. You can 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, you write 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 are the things that you do? How can you make these as simple to understand as possible? I wrote another article here which looked to try and simplify the process of picking new software. Software is a good example as I’m sure we’ve all experienced good software and bad.
To take a real world example a client had a new website built. 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.
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
I started to talk about this in #2, once you’ve recorded and measured what you’ve been doing, question why you’re doing it. Should you be? What would happen if you stopped doing it? If you’re not sure, just stop doing it and see what results you get.
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..
Why do they need it?
We’ve always sent it.
Because we have.
Oh. But why?
Off I’d trot to go and see Mrs xyz. You know this really important report we send you? Do you need it? Oh, no not any more, that was just because of this issue we’d had.
Another example is in the sporting world. You might do 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, now I’ve realised I’ve undermined my Do What You Love Tool but I’m hoping you get my point. If you really don’t like the bike, maybe just quit doing triathlons.
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. It is totally OK to take time out, grab coffee, chat to mates. The mindset here is when you are work mode ON, you are 100% ON.
#4 Embrace Change
This one can make people feel 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 make sure you understand why. The understanding just makes it all smoother, even if people don’t like it if they understand the reasons it’ll be easy to move forward. Take the wonderful P&O Ferries calamity. There was no communication so no matter how valid their reasons were/were not, they were met with fierce opposition.
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 number 2. What is it that you want to do and that you think technology can help you with. If you get that bit down first, then look for a trusted partner to support you to take on new tech and get the most from it. I’ve lots of experience in this area, and plenty of people who I can refer you to if you need it.
The one big thing to avoid here 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