SMB owners and management teams know that their profitability depends on efficiency. Great ideas must be transformed into practical processes that produce products and attract customers.
Implementing the right technology is a big part of maintaining efficiency, but it must be combined with a comprehensive strategy. Fortunately, there are simple ways to make your SMB more efficient.
SMB management teams often want to handle all aspects of their businesses. Doing so can impose a terrible burden on you and, frankly, lead to less than efficient practices. Your business will benefit if you give up some control and outsource come tasks.
For instance, using a consulting service like TechBundle means you experience less downtime due to computer network issues, and you also know that your technology is up-to-date and running at an optimum level.
For a small business, simply processing payroll can take a toll on the staff, particularly if you do not have a separate payroll department. Outsourcing this vital but time-consuming task will free up more employee hours and add to your business’ productivity.
Hire creative thinkers
Rather than hiring people simply because they have the most technical skills, consider hiring creative thinkers. They have the ability to tackle problems from a number of perspectives and often “think big,” proposing innovative ideas that others might not even consider.
After all, SMBs have greater flexibility than large corporations to implement out-of-the-box ideas.
Creative thinkers are also better able to adapt to a business’s changing needs, including using new technology. They simply accept change better than their less creative counterparts.
Email can be an incredible time saver, particularly when used to communicate outside of the company. But too many internal emails can slow things down and actually impede productivity and efficiency.
Leaving your desk and having a discussion with another employee can resolve many smaller issues in a couple of minutes. Exchanging emails can drag out all day long, devoting much more time to small issues than is necessary.
Discussing business matters also helps your employment team bond better than simply exchanging data can do. Of course, you can’t jump up from your desk every five minutes, either, so a weekly “housekeeping” meeting may also be in order.
Eliminate some customers
Getting rid of customers seems counter-intuitive to business success, but some clients simply aren’t worth the trouble. Perhaps they pay late or not at all. In other instances, they may require constant attention, which keeps you from pursuing less-stressful and more lucrative accounts.
We recommend that you go slowly with this process.
First, identify your worst offenders and then warn them that things must change or your business relationship is over. Then follow through. Your business will save hours of frustration and you’ll be better able to serve customers that respect you and the service you provide.
Emphasize core activities
When your business began, you were probably focused on a few core activities. As time went on, you may have added services and products to your repertoire. Diversifying certainly isn’t a bad thing, but getting too far away from your central business plan can make your company less efficient and profitable.
Invest your time and money on the most important aspects of your business and minimize or eliminate and superfluous activities.
The myth of the multi-tasker has been pervasive in the last few decades, leading business leaders and employees to believe they should be working on a number of projects at once. Too often, this approach means that many tasks are never finished and some important ones are delayed.
To combat this, some companies have moved to the “single-task” model. In other words, employees are urged to see one project through from beginning to end, eliminating distractions and ensuring that tasks are finished and not just begun.
Create a mobile office
SMB leaders need 24/7 access in order to keep things running efficiently. You need to establish a mobile office that allows you to work from anywhere. For some, that may mean investing in a laptop powerful enough to easily manage your business needs.
You’ll also need a secure internet connection to protect sensitive business information. Having one at home is no problem. But when you’re on the go you need to be careful. We recommend that you buy a MiFi (small wireless router), or a high-speed mobile access card to secure your data.
You should never use a free, unsecured hotspot.
A mobile office requires access to all your business files, which means you’ll need a cloud computing solution. Storing information on the cloud means you can access it via any device no matter where you are.
So if you can’t make it to your office, no big deal. You still have access to all your information.
Efficient and competitive
SMBs must take advantage of technology to remain efficient and competitive. But technology alone will never be enough.
You need to emphasize hiring practices, outsourcing, and core activities to make time count at your business. It’s okay to divest yourself of troublesome clients and to return to in-person communication to improve your business, as well.
Don’t lock yourself into old methods that keep your business from continuous growth. And always feel free to reach out to the consultants at TechBundle if you need help making your SMB more efficient.