4 steps to running a more efficient small business

May 02, 2014

Productivity is essential for the success of your small business. Expert Brian Moran shares tips on how to be more efficient in order to increase your productivity.

One of the many nagging questions business owners often ask themselves is “how can I run a more efficient company?” They look at their business from a distance and they see waste, time robbers and inefficiencies. Unfortunately, they also see issues that need to be addressed immediately so they file their thoughts in the back of their head and promise to address the problems as soon as they are done putting out fires. My company Small Business Edge works with entrepreneurs to help them run better businesses. And I’ve noticed more times than not, the promises made to address the problems in their business are never fulfilled; the inefficiencies remain in place and the company continues to muddle along.

If running a more efficient business and creating more time in the workday are items on your bucket list, then here are four ways to make your dreams a reality:

Review Organizational Workflow – Warning: This exercise will require you to set aside enough time in order to run it correctly. Start at the bottom and go through your company as a customer. From the moment someone calls your business or makes an inquiry online, how smoothly is the process in making the sale or fulfilling the order? Where is the weakest link and how can you fix it? Revenue is the fuel for your business. Clean the clutter from your company so that you never run out of fuel. Focusing on making your customers happy will increase customer retention and lead to higher business profits. Additionally, look at internal communications. How long does it take to get a response? The waiting time, when added up, could mean hours of limited workforce productivity. If you operate in a collaborative environment, make sure everyone is working in real time (e.g. Google Drive) as opposed to emailing documents back and forth to make edits and corrections. If you conduct meetings, have a policy that no meeting should last more than 30 minutes unless you are discussing certain long-term strategies for the company. I have seen great examples of “no sitting” meetings--everyone attending is required to stand. That’s one way to insure people will stick to the agenda! There are also apps to help keep your small business organized.

Reward Performance – If an employee figures out how to increase productivity, reward them for their efforts. Consider making it a policy where anyone who streamlines a process or comes up with a way to make your business more efficient is rewarded with an extra vacation day or lunch on the company. It’s simple yet brilliant.

Outsource for Efficiency – If you charge $100 per hour for your services then you lose $85 for every hour you spend doing work that could be outsourced for $15/hour. If you work 40 hours per week, the most efficient use of your time is filling up those hours with high quality work. It doesn’t pay for you to stuff envelopes or write monthly newsletters if you are an attorney or a consultant. That’s busy work. Pay someone else to run the back-end operations or marketing support and use prime-time work hours to generate revenue for your business. If you have 1-2 free hours/day, use them to take scheduled breaks and exercise or walk outside to clear your head and recharge your battery.

Create Metrics and Review Monthly – Running an efficient business is a work-in-progress; you must do it every single day. For those who pride themselves on being in good physical shape, you are the first to acknowledge that (1) it isn’t easy and (2) it requires eating healthy food and working out on a regular basis. The same rules apply to leading a healthy, fit company. Create specific, measurable goals each month and have a daily routine that helps you reach your objectives. Once you establish a new routine, gone will be the days of promising yourself that today is the day you will make the necessary changes to run a more efficient business.

Good As the Founder & CEO of Brian Moran & Associates, Brian is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs run better businesses. In 2012 and 2013 Brian was named one of the top 100 SMB Influencers in the country by Small Business Trends & Small Biz Technology. You can connect with Brian on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/BrianMoran) or by visiting the company web site (www.SmallBusinessEdge.com).