For businesses to succeed, it’s never been more important to focus on gaining the competitive edge in the market by structuring your business more efficiently.
Most importantly, with global workforce productivity growth at its lowest rate in nearly two decades, there’s probably never been a better opportunity for business leaders to step up and raise the stakes.
It’s an incredibly competitive environment out there for businesses today. In fact, figures compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the number of actively trading businesses rose by 3.1% in the 2017 financial year.
Increasing efficiency in your business will be key to running a more productive business which, in turn, becomes more competitive. But this isn’t about creating more hours in the day or making people work harder; instead, it’s about finding ways to work smarter with new digital technologies and more innovative management techniques.
Here are some tips to help run your business more efficiently as we make headway into a brand-new financial year.
Find opportunities to automate tasks
It’s easy to find plenty of commentary about “robots” taking people’s jobs, but there’s a much more positive way to view the effects of digital transformation on the modern workplace. By automating processes and workflows, technology is enabling employees to devote more of their time to the type of strategic, ‘value-add’ tasks that maximise a business’ bottom line.
For example, a lawyer who spends considerable time conducting due diligence, such as carrying out extensive property or business and company searches, can now use triSearch’s convenient platform to perform a fast, all-in-one search of multiple national databases. In this case, paid professional time can be redirected to revenue generating tasks while clients might recommend you for your reliability of information and quick turnaround times.
Encourage a more collaborative working environment
If people in your business aren’t collaborating with one another, the chances are, your business isn’t running very efficiently either. A lack of collaboration in the workplace is often associated with time wasted carrying out duplicate tasks and fixing avoidable errors, Meanwhile, projects can take longer to complete when teams aren’t pulling in the same direction. And there are plenty of other negative consequences too.
So, promote a more collaborative environment by encouraging teams to talk face-to-face more often, scheduling short daily meetings and considering whether task management software could work well with your team structure. As a leader, you could also set a great example for an open culture of communication by being approachable and inviting feedback and new ideas from employees.
Delegate whenever you can
Most small business owners are used to wearing a few different hats at once – taking care of business’ finance and marketing needs as well as generating new business or sales and engaging in core business functions. But as the business grows, it can be hard to let go of old habits and entrust your staff to take care of things for you.
With double-handling of tasks and micromanagement said to kill business efficiency, it’s important to delegate responsibilities according to your staff members’ strengths and weaknesses. This way, you’ll have more time to spend on growing the business while your employees will feel more motivated and encouraged to develop.
Outsource activities that aren’t related to your core business
It’s a common dilemma for small business owners; while you can’t be an expert at everything, it doesn’t always make financial sense to engage experienced part-time or full-time staff to help you. Outsourcing could be the perfect solution, giving you peace of mind things will be done properly while you’ll only pay for the work you need.
Payroll, accounting, HR functions, digital marketing and administrative support are just some of the fringe business activities you could outsource to free up your time for important core business activities.
Embrace the benefits of networking
Aside from paid-for marketing and advertising activities, networking is an effective way to organically increase your business presence and raise your profile. And with some out-of-the-box thinking, you’ll soon notice there are networking opportunities around every corner.
Attending relevant networking events and conferences, participating in community functions, engaging with forums and joining business or industry associations are all opportunities to spread the word about what you can offer. What’s more, engaging with other professionals, business owners and experts can be a great source of inspiration or future collaboration opportunities.
Focus on employee wellbeing
Studies show business productivity can be negatively impacted by poor employee wellbeing, largely owing to increased days off sick and decreasing engagement. So, start by implementing some measures to ensure employees enjoy a healthy work-life balance, such as limiting the use of emails outside of work and encouraging physical and social activities, helping them work more efficiently.
Insights by Deloitte suggest a holistic approach to workplace wellness programs will be key to achieving a more efficient and productive business and could include a variety of strategies which focus on physical, mental, financial and spiritual health.
Working efficiently in your business to boost your bottom line requires a careful balancing act. After all, becoming more efficient means knowing exactly where to concentrate your hardworking efforts and when to invest in new systems and technologies to ensure you achieve strong returns.