There are a million and one ways a business wastes time and money – it’s just an unavoidable part of how things work. But there are some easy wins for business owners looking to boost productivity, stop wasting time, and use resources in a far better way. Many companies – particularly startups and small businesses trying to grow – can make significant improvements by focusing on the following areas:
Too many meetings
Meetings are an essential part of running a company. The conference room is where leaders get to set the agenda, and team members get to throw around innovative ideas. But it’s also a place that many businesses spend far too much time – which could be used far better elsewhere. It’s important to have meetings that have a clear purpose, a strict agenda, and that only involve the necessary members of staff. Proper planning can help keep your meetings speedy and productive, too – briefing employees beforehand, for example.
Lack of automation
How does your business deal with things like vacation requests or contract organization? In many cases, small to medium-sized companies have incredibly informal processes to address such things that could be sped up by a significant amount by introducing automation. Let’s use contract management as an example. According to http://symfact.com/contract-management-software/, it doesn’t take long for your things to get confusing with contracts. You will have agreements with vendors, customers, outsourced partners, lawyers, accountants, landlords – the list is endless. And ultimately, when there is so much going on and contracts flying around in every direction, it means you spend more time organizing than you do being productive. If you can find a system that allows you to deal with all these issues automatically, you will free up a lot of time and resources – and save a significant amount of money at the same time.
Keeping everything in house
Small businesses might be good at doing particular things – but no one is capable of achieving excellence in everything. And trying to keep everything in-house could be costing you regarding productivity. In the vast majority of cases, you will be better off finding a reputable, experienced and knowledgeable outsourced partner that can help you achieve your goals far quicker. With the right partners, you can tap into expertise, reduce costs, and allow your team to be more productive in the areas of work they excel in.
If you want to run a successful business, nothing is more important than sharing knowledge and information. The simple fact is that if you are not encouraging collaboration at all levels of your company, the chances are that you are wasting time and resources. You end up with people having to work out the same things as everyone else, making the same old mistakes, and never getting anywhere. An open, collaborative business that encourages interaction between employees can ensure that expertise and knowledge are shared, used, and improved to push the company forward.
Too much talk
That said, it’s too easy for communication to become too much of a focus – and the result is a drain on your time, resources, and money. Take emails as the perfect example. Are you sending your messages to everyone, regardless of whether the email is relevant to the recipient? Do your employees have to stop what they are doing every five minutes because messages are flying around that simply aren’t important to them? According to https://slack.com/is, it’s important to keep communications focused on the relevant people, whether it is a team, an individual, or a project related topic.
Too little technology
As you can see from the subjects discussed above, technology is the solution to many of productivity problems businesses have to endure. And if you aren’t taking advantage of the many different software, programs and platforms out there, it’s going to cost you in time, resources, and cold, hard cash. The more you invest in technology that helps you improve your processes, the more time you will save – and the more productive your business will be. Computers are, after all, there to help us get things done faster than we can do it manually, so make use of it, and your business will benefit.
Too much technology
However, while all this bright and sparkling technology is available to everyone, it doesn’t mean it is all suitable for your needs. Take project management software as the perfect example. While large corporations and enormous teams in large enterprises might benefit from the complex and in-depth solutions offered by the likes of Atlassian’s JIRA product, the simple truth is it may not be ideal for smaller companies that have less complex needs. Your business should only be using technology that makes your workplace more efficient and is suitable for the skills of your employees. You don’t want to reach a stage where everyone has to reach for a user’s manual every time they want to enter a figure into a database.
As a business leader, it’s your job to ensure that everyone knows precisely what is expected of them, and how their results will be measured. It’s vital to be clear on your company goals, directives, and rules, or you will quickly find that your workers start to do too much wondering rather than working. However, you should also avoid being overly specific. Micromanagement is another drain on your resources, and prevents people from being productive – at some point, you are going to have to relinquish control and start trusting people to do their jobs. And with clear guidelines, there is no reason why they can’t.
Finally, if morale in your business is low, don’t expect people to be working to their highest level. Again, it’s down to you as a leader to ensure that your people are happy, motivated, and driven to achieve. Ultimately, if your employees feel undervalued, overworked, and aren’t passionate about their jobs or your company, you are going to run into serious issues. A happy workforce works harder, saves more time, and requires fewer resources.