When you first start to run a business, often you are forced by circumstances to take short-cuts. With little resources in terms of budget and staffing, it’s natural to take the easy option – indeed, sometimes it’s the only practical thing to do. Once you’re up and running though, you may find that you’re left with legacy systems and types of operation that aren’t especially compatible. Perhaps you’ve since developed a strategy that now guides all of your business decisions that you didn’t have at the start. Either way, taking a closer look at your company to identify areas where efficiencies can be made is a useful process, and will save you time and money in the long term.
Ditch the paper trail
Too many businesses get buried under mountains of paper – inefficient, wasteful and bad for the planet! How much time do you waste on simple administrative tasks that could be more usefully employed in understanding your customer base, researching emerging market trends or dedicating to another area of your business? These days, there’s no need for a modern office to be so heavily reliant on printed matter. Using a cloud-based computing service means that documents are easily accessible – and shareable – from any device with a wi-fi connection. It also solves the waste of space that occurs with boxes of unfiled papers taking up valuable storage capacity, and reduces the time that you may spend searching for things. Look into a document management system if you have lots of historical paperwork that needs keeping – files are archived and returned upon request. Investing some time in tidying up your office paper trail leads to a lot less headaches.
Reduce your business utilities
If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that costs for utilities continue to climb. So you can make little savings that really add up over the long term by reviewing what you use and why. Lots of companies offer a free energy audit, with recommendations on how to reduce your power usage that are easy to implement. When it comes to costs for phone lines and internet, it also pays to do your homework – you can compare leased line costs here. No utility company rewards loyal customers – it’s up to you to find the best deals on the market. Simple things such as looking at the heating and cooling system in the office, and ensuring all appliances are switched off at the wall after use, can go a long way to reducing your bills. After all, a few pennies less on supplies equals more pennies on your bottom line – and they add up!
Learn to Delegate
Many small business owners that have expanded and taken on staff struggle with this one! Learning how to delegate effectively is a key skill, but it can seem hard when your business is your baby and you’re used to calling the shots. Trust in the people you have hired and the suppliers you work with and allow them space to make some decisions and exercise their judgement. The less of these routine operational decisions you can be involved in the better – not only does it free up your time for concentrating on the bigger picture, but it means happier staff that feel trusted and recognised for their own skills. Structuring the work-flow efficiently in this way is a big bonus to your company.
*This is a contributed post