Efficiency is important for all businesses but it is absolutely vital for a small business to be successful.  A local hairdressing salon that has a staff of five for example has a much smaller margin of error than a chain of day spas that has a staff of five hundred.   As the size of the business grows so does it’s margin of error.

By becoming a more efficient business it also means that you can scale up from small to medium and medium to large etc a lot more successfully.

So it’s fine knowing all of this, but what can you do to set up effective and streamlined processes?   Here’s five ways:

  1. Create a business plan
  2. Outsource non-core activities
  3. Automate
  4. Review your structure
  5. Track, review and repeat

Create a Business Plan

The first step you need to take is to create a business plan.   You need to know where you want your business to head before you can understand whether your business’s processes are efficient or even necessary.   Having a clear direction for your company allows you to look at what you’re doing and evaluate if it ties in with the overall aim.

If you don’t already have a business plan then this post will help you create one.  If you do have a business plan then make sure it’s up to date with the direction you want your company to take.   Successful businesses review their business plans on a regular basis.

Outsource Non-core Activities

When you’re running a business you have core activities, for example if you own a café one of your core activities would be to make amazing coffee.  If you were to run a florist shop one of your core activities would be to make beautiful floral arrangements.

Other things that are essential to running a successful business includes marketing and accounting.  These are not activities that are core to your business so you need to weigh up whether it’s worth your time (or your staff’s time) to do these activities as opposed to focusing on core activities.

In many cases outsourcing the marketing of your business or your accountancy requirements are much more cost effective in the long run.

Automate

Every business has repetitive tasks that need to be performed, rather than paying staff to complete these activities you can often automate them.

Examples where you can often automate includes social media, research and accounting.

Social Media – instead of taking time out of each day to create and post to social media that are lots of different scheduling programs that mean you can just sit down once a week or once a month for more effective time use.

Research – if you want to know about updates in your industry or just to keep an eye on your competition then set up Google Alerts.   Google scours the internet for you and delivers regular alerts and news to your inbox free of charge.

Accounting – bookkeeping can consume a lot of time for a small business.  If you feel like you’re not at the right place to outsource this then check out some of the software available.   The right accounting software dramatically cuts down the effort involved.   Some systems can also help you automate monitoring stock levels, paying bills and chasing invoice payments.

Review Your Structure

Your small business won’t be efficient if you are wasting time double handing jobs or trying to sort out who does what.

Setting up a clearly defined structure ensures that each aspect of your company has someone looking after it and that each role clarifies the associated responsibilities.  This means that when work comes in it is immediately picked up by the right person and is dealt with efficiently.

Reviewing your company’s structure includes ensuring roles are filled by those who best fit them and handing over control.   Two things can greatly add to inefficiency – micromanaging or having the wrong people in key positions.

Track, Review & Repeat

Efficiency is one of those things that you can’t just set and forget, it is a continuous process especially when your business is growing.   Track how your business is performing and how the changes you make affect the results.

Take time regularly to review whether the changes have helped or whether further adjustments are needed.   Like a business development plan for this to be a success it has to be a continual process.