Thursday, 8 January 2015

5 Essential Steps to make your business more efficient

Have you heard the catch cry we have to do more with less! In today’s economy our customers want more service and want to pay less.  Then there are five essential steps you can take to make your business more efficient.
Standardise Your Processes
The more people you have in your business the more imperative it is to standardise your processes. This is to ensure that your customer is always receiving the same level of service. What happens over time if left unchecked is your employees develop their own way of doing things, and this can lead to inefficiencies as a business as a whole. Standardisation enables you to simplify which can allow your business to interact with your supplies and business partners through the use of your IT systems interacting together, thereby gaining greater transparency and efficiency.
Leverage Technology
Technology is developing at a rapid rate these days. Just think of all the things we can do with a smartphone these days. You can send emails, do your banking, buy online, hold a videoconference all while being completely mobile. There are things that are happening in your business now that a system could be doing for you. A system can automate processes that are currently being done manually. For example if you have a customer relationship management system you can have all the details about your customer in one place. If you linked it to your phone system you would know what customer was ringing you as you answer the phone and had all the details on the screen to be able to have an informed conversation.

Open Communication   
Communication is so important and we try to spend so much time doing it, but really how effective and efficient are we at it. Do you find yourself in meetings all day trying to communicate with your staff what needs to be done, what the goals are for this week, or month that need to be achieved, and listening to staff as to what the roadblocks and brainstorming as to how these can be removed or overcome. We can spend so much time in meetings that the day has gone and we haven’t had a chance to do the real work.
The way to overcome this is when you are having a meeting you prepare an agenda and the meeting is run in a structured way with each item to be discussed on the agenda with specified time, someone taking minutes noting action points assigned to relevant staff this can reduce meeting time and make it more efficient and effective.
I have been into many businesses as a consultant and ask them about what are the critical pieces of information they need to run their business. They are usually quick to say what those things are but then add in takes them so much time to gather the information to report on a daily or weekly basis. The frustration they have that its not easy to get the information they want. They have bought a system and been sold how it could do all these fantastic things but when it was implemented their reporting needs were not captured upfront and it was only an afterthought once it was implemented.
To gain efficiency, effectiveness and better informed decision making it is vital that the business owner receives the correct information as and when they need it.
Engage a Consultant for a Health Check
A business is a bit like a car. It will keep running as long as you put fuel in it. But over time the car becomes sluggish and doesn’t perform to its best without a service. Your business is the same it will keep operating but it would benefit from a service at least once a year to fine tune it.  Have you ever had a car and not serviced it for a few years, when you take it in for a service you need a major overhaul.
By engaging a consultant they should be able to give a health check on the business by looking at the processes, the current systems, reporting needs and how information is communicated. Either give a clean bill of health or provide recommendations as to what changes can be made to gain greater efficiencies.
In selecting a consultant just remember not all consultants are created equal. Look for one has years of experience and more importantly has the runs on the board of getting results for their clients and can implement the recommendations if required.      

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