Most newbie entrepreneurs think that productivity and efficiency are the same. They are not, actually. Being productive allows employees to get more things done in a specified time period. Being efficient means employees can perform a given task in less time. While both productivity and efficiency are important for running a company, efficiency is recommended more for increasing profitability as well as employee satisfaction.
There are several forms of efficiency companies should aim for, such as individual employee efficiency, team efficiency, and overall company efficiency. Here are several suggestions for improving efficiency on many different levels in a small business or a startup:
1. Increase Access to Information for Employees.
Tasks can become time-consuming and highly inefficient when employees have to navigate old and slow networks to get access to information. Employees, even in small companies, need permission to access information. When employees or elements of a network are scattered between locations, this process becomes even more difficult. Therefore, to ensure efficiency, startups should invest in the right tools to give all employees easy access to information, says Bill Busbice, a developer of an efficiency app for truck owner-operators.
As young entrepreneurs already know, technology is the best solution to give employees access. Cloud-based software and apps can allow employees to get quick access to the information they need when they need it. Technology can streamline the process, get rid of outdated, slow systems and increase the overall efficiency of a business.
2. Switch to Self-Help Customer Service.
While providing customer service is essential for the modern market, it can really overwhelm the staff. Customer service reps could end up fast forwarding certain queries to the IT department or the marketing department, which will decrease efficiency on multiple fronts. A quick method to eliminate such time waste is to introduce self-customer service. It means that customers can find solutions to their problems by referring to written guides, videos, or FAQs. Doing so will reduce the number of queries the staff has to take time to answer.
3. Avoid Micromanaging.
Micromanaging, an obsession of some amateur managers, can vastly prolong getting certain things done. It’s strongly advised to avoid micromanaging and delegate or entrust certain tasks to competent employees. Micromanagement can, therefore, be reduced to some monitoring, which will still keep things moving forward fast.
4. Invest in Time Management Software.
Do use software that saves time to get things accomplished. For example, Buffer is a great tool that allows the sales team to schedule social media posts in advance so less time is dedicated to it. Likewise, find the right software tools that employees can use to increase their individual and team efficiency levels.
5. Ban Short Meetings.
It’s been long proven that short face-to-face meetings that last less than 15 minutes are highly inefficient and unproductive. They only waste time. Therefore, let employees communicate via email or Skype and discourage these meetings. Employees should only meet for meaningful meetings that result directly in getting a task done. Avoid short morning meetings as well because they don’t accomplish anything.
Increasing efficiency in business is a long process. Start with the above tips and move forward from there.