Small businesses need to run efficiently to be successful and profitable.
Unlike larger companies, small businesses may not have the flexibility to try out many different efficiency methods before finding the ones that work best for them, so many of the tips below are for smaller companies looking to make smaller strides.
Running at peak efficiency is just as important to a small business as it is for larger ones and the tips below can help!
Periodically auditing your practices and procedures will help weed out the ones that are no longer working.
It will also help improve those that are working but could be more efficient.
Ask your employees to help with this process.
It can be frustrating for employees to be handed a procedure that they will have to utilize everyday with no ability to comment on its effectiveness or potential improvements.
Ensure the procedures you put in place help your employees be more efficient and ask for their feedback on the process.
The people with the hands on experience are the ones that can help you determine what will make things faster and easier.
2. Document Control
The ability to find necessary documents as easily as possible is a crucial part of operational efficiency.
Finding the most current variation of any particular piece of paperwork- contracts to drawings to specifications- can help keep you on your critical path. Keeping your business is organized is key!
Document revisions can also be important, depending on your type of business. If you sell services or goods that will require service in the future, knowing exactly what the final product the client ended up with is important when supporting them later.
Procedures for document control start from the top down. Set a good example and document control will be easy!
3. Consistent Procedures
Consistency makes for efficiency.
Creating and maintaining consistent procedures throughout your small business operations will help keep everyone on the same page, cutting down on confusion and rework. A simple plan of how to properly dispose of information properly, is an example of how to keep consistent procedures.
When procedures are consistent across the board, training employees is easier and assessing performance is a snap.
4. Small Steps
Nothing is going to be perfect right away.
Small, thoughtful steps in the right direction will get your business up to its optimal operational efficiency.
As technology evolves and becomes more applicable to your small business, you may be inclined to rush into upgrading and swapping all your systems over right away but taking small steps to ensure efficient integration of these technologies will likely be better for your company in the long run.
Adequate training on new systems with enough time for cross training is an important part of implementing new processes.
A clear schedule will keep you and your employees aware of the expectations you have for how they spend their time.
Keeping a schedule will help make sure your bills are paid on time and your customers’ needs are taken care of.
It will help forecast resources you may need as well as allow you to help schedule your personal life- everyone needs a vacation!
Maintaining your small business’s assets is important.
Whether or not its equipment used to manufacture your product or simply the printer/copier used by the office staff, keeping these items operational is critical to business running smoothly.
A little time and money now will help keep costs down in the long run- it’s better to maintain equipment as you go than pay for a complete breakdown when things finally fail.
The small business culture leans toward more relaxed office spaces and less pressure from management.
Keeping a positive work environment alive will help with your operational efficiency.
Happy workers are productive workers. If your employees feel like they can make suggestions for helping the business run smoothly, they will keep an eye out for these opportunities.