Business

5 Ways to boost efficiency on a budget

 

Efficiency is something that every organisation strives for, big or small, local or multinational, well-established or start-up.

However, it can be challenging to track, monitor and boost, particularly for those who provide a service rather than a physical good. As a Saas (Software as a Service) company ourselves, we understand the problems you face and really do feel your pain, but fortunately, we've found a few ways which have helped us out and thought we'd share what we've learnt.

1. Plan, plan and plan some more!

I honestly don't think it's possible to over plan. Having a written schedule and to-do list can do you W-O-N-D-E-R-S.

At the start of each quarter, take a couple of days and write a detailed plan; meticulously explaining what you'd like to achieve over the coming three months. Have clear headings and bulleted actions with realistic timings specified and share with others for an outside perspective to see if there are elements which you could collaborate on or improve.

If there are tasks which you intend to do on a regular basis, make yourself a timetable. It may sound trivial but knowing that stock control is always taken care of on a Monday afternoon and Wednesday mornings will be for client check-ins, takes a massive weight off shoulders.

As for daily to-do lists, I think they're a double-edged sword. I love to start my day jotting down what I'd like to achieve over the coming hours, but quickly the list gets out of hand and by 5 pm I glace at my Moleskin and am disappointed that I only got to cross a task out a handful of times.

It's vital to switch your mindset and start being realistic with what you can achieve in a day. It's far better to have completed 3 task to a high standard than to have started a million jobs and feel like you've not achieved anything; You'll soon begin to leave the office with a smile on your face and a stronger sense of accomplishment.

2. Cull the meetings and cut the emails.

How many meetings do you endure where you leave thinking it was a total waste of time and an email could have done the job with just a few short lines? I'll hazard a guess that it's over 50%?

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that all meetings are pointless and just an excuse to get the biscuit tin out, there are some circumstances a face to face conversation is necessary but certainly not most. Maybe consider slashing the number of internal meetings by half just for a month and see the impact it has, I think you'll be surprised!

By replacing specific meetings with a quick bulleted email and swapping out boardrooms and cafes for Skype, you'll see you're diary quickly clear and have oodles more time to focus on what you do best and providing the best service for your clients.

So if you're swapping your boardrooms for email, what are you are replacing your day-to-day emails with? Well, instant messaging isn't just for Facebook and the days of MSN, with tonnes of options on the market such as Google Hangouts, Slack and Hipchat, you can drop colleagues a couple of words and get an instant reply without having to craft a lengthy email, with a couple of lines of small talk, a weak attempt at a joke and running it through Grammarly.

3. Outsource away

No-one can do absolutely everything. Sure, you can try your damned hardest, but I can guarantee that if you're spreading yourself that thinly, odds are you'll be lacking in the quality department.

There seems to be an unnecessary shroud of shame surrounding outsourcing with little reason or justification. If you're not a whizz when it comes to accounting and dread sorting out payroll as it takes you days rather than minutes, maybe consider hiring an accountancy firm to help you out with this.

By having this task taken care of by a pro, you no longer have to panic and stress about whether you've done it correctly and if you'll have an angry mob of employees at your day when they've not been paid. You'll have your time back which you can spend growing and developing your business and given that it'll take a pro a fraction of the time.

4. Build a library

In any business, a significant proportion of your time is spent managing and responding to client enquiries, but you can easily eradicate a number of these by building a catalogue of resources.

Having an FAQ section which is easily accessible will encourage visitors to your site to seek the answer first before contacting you, so you'll feel considerably less inundated, and your organisation will probably win some brownie points for being so intuitive!

There are a handful of routes which you can go down. The most obvious being a help centre or even a blog with articles written on commonly asked topics. If you're written informative articles, it's always handy to include images or diagrams to illustrate your point.

However, if a couple of screenshots or photo's don't entirely cut it, you could always set up your own YouTube channel. I know this can sound quite daunting, but it's easy to set up, all you need is a Google account, a phone with a camera and some editing software. If you've got a Mac head to the App store and you can get iMovie for free, it's pretty basic, but for pulling together 5-minute videos, it's the dream!

5. Automation is the future

Now before you glaze over and start thinking that automation is replacing your entire workforce with robots, hear us out! It's merely streamlining your more laborious, time-consuming tasks so your team can better focus their efforts elsewhere, less scary?

By automating back-office admin, your staff can wave goodbye to sifting through filing cabinets looking for the right form and typing up contracts will be a thing of the past. Your employees will quickly become more efficient as a result of automation which will translate into a higher ROI as productivity will be through the roof.

You'll also have a sea of happy-smiley clients at your door as you can dedicate more time to each client.

I hope you've found at least a couple of these pointers handy! If you did, we'd appreciate you sharing this article on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn!

If you're interested in automating your business processes and streamlining your practices visit Swiftcase.co.uk and request a free day and 14-day trial with zero obligations and no card details required.