If you want to save money and time at work, the best thing you can do is to streamline your business. If you think that sounds like meaningless management talk, think again: streamlining your business means reducing your processes down to what really matters, so that you can get to the heart of what you’re doing more quickly and easily. Here are some tips on how you can do that.
Have Quicker Meetings
First of all, it’s time to start having quicker meetings. Everyone has been part of the sort of meeting that seems to stretch on interminably until the end of time – and absolutely nobody enjoys those meetings. They’re a waste of time and resources, and because they feel so stultifying, very little actually gets done and decided during them. Before meetings, plan out exactly what you want to say during them, and ensure that only the people who need to be there are there. Finally, why not have your meetings standing up? Standing up meetings are proven to end more quickly than meetings during which you sit down.
Consider What You Can Outsource
Outsourcing is a great way to ensure that you spend your time more wisely. Let’s face it: as the head of a company, you definitely don’t need to handle payroll, HR matters, accounting – you need to focus on the skills that put you where you are now. If you started your company, chances are it was because of an idea that you feel passionately about. If that’s the case, it’s time to focus on having ideas again. Hire external HR and finance teams so that you can give more attention to your company.
Ensure You’re Communicating Effectively
There are few aspects of business more important than communication, whether you’re talking to your colleagues or your customers, and communicating well can provide a great deal of efficiency. Make sure that you choose your words with care, so that people understand what you mean and you don’t have to go back and forth with messages that wouldn’t have been necessary had you given them more information in the first place. Also think about your methods of communication. Sometimes emails are effective, sometimes phone calls are better, and there are times that face to face meetings are the best. A lot of the time, it’s good to talk out an issue over the phone before sending an email with the basic points of the phone call detailed. You may think this would take longer, but in fact the phone call will enable you to answer any questions that might arise (and that would have taken longer to answer when going back and forth via emails) and the email containing the basic points will sum up everything that you said neatly so you’re both aware of the conclusions that you came to. It’s important to cover all your bases and to make sure that you have a physical note of what has been said so that you can refer to it in the future.
Go Paper Free
Going paper free is a great way to make your office more efficient. Let’s face it: searching through endless filing cabinets for documents that you need isn’t a good way to spend an afternoon. Having a paperless archive means that it’s much easier to search for what you need and that waiting times for documents will vastly decrease. Take a look at the way that you use paper in your office – do you need to print certain documents? Why does this information need to be on paper? Do you need to keep and file this paperwork? If you usually hand out paper notes at the beginning of meetings, why is this – could employees look at the meeting agendas on tablets instead? Sometimes an investment in technology may seem expensive in the short term, but long term it’s an excellent way to spend money.
Make Sure Your Shipping Is Effective
A lot of the time in business, there are small aspects like shipping where there could be a lot more efficiency. Take a look at the materials you’re using – for instance, wooden pallets break easily but plastic pallets last for longer. Also consider if there are any processes that could be automated, or whether there are roles that could be consolidated. It’s also a good idea to use recyclable materials where you can, for example shredded paper instead of bubble wrap and getting rid of plastic jiffy bags.
Consider how many tasks your company has that are repetitive and time consuming, and take a good look at the systems that complete them. It’s a good idea to work out if these systems can be consolidated – this can lower the operating cost of some departments.
Can You Work From Home?
In a lot of industries, people are working from home more and more often. This can be great in a number of ways. First of all, the commute time is taken away, meaning that people may be happier and able to rest more, meaning that their work and quality of life will improve. Secondly, you may be able to rent a more inexpensive, smaller office space. Consider whether you really need a big space for lots of people, or if it might be more effective if people were able to work remotely and flexibly from different places. However, this may not always be effective as some people may need to talk to others face to face so that they can bounce ideas off each other and discuss projects. Figure out a mixture of working from home and working in the office that suits you and your employees – striking that perfect balance is key to success. You should also remember that working via video conferencing and Skype can be extremely effective – this means that you can talk face to face while saving on office space costs and travel time.
Streamlining your business is a great way to improve your overall efficiency, therefore saving money and time.