A business owner, who is efficient in his work, is likely to incorporate a culture of efficiency in the team working with him. Small businesses, however, are often replete with efficiency issues because of one person making a majority of the decisions. Business efficiency is all about making the most of what you have. Small business owners often fall into the trap of overestimating or underestimating their resources, thus failing to function at their efficient best.
The biggest challenge of any small business owner or entrepreneur is to get projects done on time and on budget. Often, because of rapidly approaching deadlines, the focus shifts from providing quality work to just getting the job done. A small business owner needs to define his priorities, identify challenges and have a clear grasp of his resources and their limitations to be efficient and avoid such a scenario.
But most importantly, he needs to be efficient himself. Here are a few suggestions how a small business owner can scale up his and his company’s efficiency.
Focus on the Job at Hand
New business owners feel the need to seize every opportunity that comes their way. This can lead to them becoming side-tracked from the projects at hand or waste time chasing down leads that go nowhere. This will spread you thin and limit your efficiency and productivity and be detrimental to the business. Know your limitations and take up just enough projects to keep your resources occupied, no more, no less. Focus on delivering them to your standards and only then move on to others.
Make It Easier to Collaborate
Effective team-work is the key to efficiency. If your team lacks regular communication and is not on the same page as the client, then all the strategies and processes implemented come to nothing. Make sure your employees know the processes you are trying to put in place, the reason behind doing so and the clients’ requirements.
Streamline tools to increase communication between the team. Skype is a good example of a Web-based tool that can be used as for intra-office communication or between a remotely located team.
Identify Strengths and Work on Them
Use the Pareto principle or the 80-20 rule to help you identify the strengths of your business. The rule states that 80% of your profit is derived from 20% of your products or services. Identify what comprises the 20% and work to strengthen them. Spend your time and energy in products and services which you can provide while making the maximum profits. This is the cornerstone of an efficient enterprise.
Know When You Must Say No
A smallbusiness owner is always getting requests from friends, peers or clients to “pick their brain.”There may be employees who need suggestions and information which they could be getting from colleagues. Consider whether or not it is a good use of your time, and ask yourself is it leading to a fruitful friendship, a possible project or providing you information.
If not, decline respectfully. Set boundaries with clients and employees and they will quickly learn what and when to ask, and if they should handle it on their own. This will help you from getting into pointless discussions.
Work with Deadlines
Setting a fixed timeframe for your projects is a good way to ensure you are productive as well as efficient. Ensure that in the time allotted you are not distracted by anything. Good examples of these distractions are emails and phonecalls.
Since a smallbusiness owner gets hundreds of emails every day, it helps to create a dedicated slot for checking and responding to your mails, or you will find this spilling onto your other activities. If you have a meeting that can be conducted over the phone, do not hesitate to do so but try and reduce unnecessary and meandering conversations. These little things will help ensure that you stay on schedule with the work you have taken up.
Get Your Priorities Right
Understand the importance of all the tasks you need to do in a day, and rank them accordingly. Take up the most important activities when you are at your productive best. If you are a morning person do not waste this precious time in catching up on email.
Prioritizing your activities will ensure you get the most important work out of the way first which will ease your work and make you more productive throughout the week.
Allow Yourself Some Downtime
Keep taking short breaks at periodic intervals. Going at it hammer and tongs for hours can tire you easily and make you prone to mistakes, while slowing down the pace of your work. It is important to keep your brain feeling fresh. Go out for a short walk, or chat for a while with an employee. This will help in keeping you sharp and engaged through the day.
Use Technology in Your Favor
Smallbusiness owners, of all the people, need to make the most of the technology available around them. Small businesses are always running low on resources; these technologies help in streamlining operations, checking costs and making sure the projects come in on time. Moving to a cloud-based system would not be a bad idea to increase efficiency. Transferring core business functions to cloud or Web-based services to optimize results.
The biggest expenditure in a small business is the workforce.Scheduling work, tracking the productivity of the employees, and keeping an eye on the costs help a smallbusiness owner get the most out of his workforce. There are tools available online to help you with that and more.
An entrepreneur needs to be savvy about the various applications he can employ to ensure he gets the most out of his human resources.
Keep Your Team Happy
A happy team is a motivated team.As their leader it is the responsibility of the business owner to make sure that everyone in the team is content. Balance work and play inside office, and ensure you and your team take time out to just discuss things outside of work.
A happy employee is less likely to complain of being over-worked or badly managed. If the environment in the office feels more like a family and less like work it only works in the company’s favor.
An efficient leader ensures an efficient team and subsequently, an efficient organization. Being that leader is a decision you need to take, if not for yourself, then for the sake of your company.