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Making some small changes to your business can have a huge impact on its efficiency and maximise how your money is being spent. Efficiency is important for small business as it means you are using your time and resources to their maximum potential and saving money in the long run. If you just need to make a few small changes or have a complete overhaul, by focusing on the areas discussed below, you are bound to notice a difference to overall efficiency of your business.
Do you have lengthy staff meetings that go completely off track? Or do you meet with different staff members individually? Or do you have team meetings which always cover the same ground? If the answer to any of these questions is yes why not try meeting once a day for a few minutes. By having a quick catch up meeting first thing in the morning you can get a rundown of what everybody is doing that day and it is a chance for all employees to interact with each other and come up with new ideas.
Studies are increasingly showing that staff work more efficiently when they have fewer hours in the working day. It may sound counter-intuitive but fewer hours equal more efficient staff. A trial was carried out in Sweden, where nurses had their working day reduced to six hours. The trial showed that working fewer hours staff logged less sick leave, reported better perceived health and became more productive. However, this is really only an option for businesses that already have enough staff to cover business hours. If shorter days aren’t an option, giving staff more flexibility will increase productivity. As long as they do the required hours in a week and meet all their targets, why should it matter if they are sat at their desk 9 to 5? Also, consider part time staff if you need extra work doing but don’t have enough to fill a full time working week.
Providing effective training is crucial to running an efficient business. Workers frequently claim they have been sent on a ‘pointless training course’ with no apparent benefit. Some complain that they were ‘never taught properly’ when asked why they can’t use the new software. Ensuring everybody has access to relevant, high-quality training will boost morale and increase staff productivity and result in more time doing something and less time trying to work out how it is done.
One of the easiest ways to save money is to make sure your office space is energy efficient. Small changes such as turning off lights as you leave a vacant room and properly shutting down your computer when you leave for the day can be effective at making small savings. But if you want a complete energy efficiency overhaul consider having an energy efficiency audit and assessment for your office space. An audit will look into how your current systems operate and how they can run with more efficiency and cost effectiveness. Considering going paperless, move everything online. Use email as your preferred method of communication, look into online invoicing, and file all your important documents electronically (just make sure you back up). Basically, try to use the printer as little as possible- small steps like this can reduce your businesses carbon footprint.
Taking on board little changes, such as using centrally saved templates for everything, such as letters and invoices, will cut down time creating new documents. Or maybe updating your filing system regularly to ensure no time is wasted searching for a document in the depths of the filing cabinet.
Shop around for the best deal. If you need new equipment always look in at least three places and try to find the best deal. When it comes to renewing insurance or changing utility suppliers use a comparison website to make sure you find the best price.
Try to cut down on unnecessary outgoings, if you pay for a service and have not used it for at least three months, surely you don’t need it? Also, take a look at your stationary order, do you just order the same things each time? If so, have a look at which things you don’t need or are being wasted.
Most importantly, listen to ideas and ask staff members to come up with money saving tips or ways your business can be more efficient. Keep an open dialogue and encourage ideas in those quick morning meetings!
The Bottom Line: making small changes to the workplace can make your business run more efficiently and save money. Even small changes can have a big impact!
Rebecca Taylor is a Freelance Writer, working with Mane Services