As small business owners we have all been guilty of wasting time– chasing documents we can’t find, running after staff to find a suitable meeting time, answering the same question multiple times. Sound familiar?
We’ve assembled a list of seven simple tips for improving your business efficiency. These tips are relevant to all businesses, regardless of their size. In fact, the earlier you start implementing these ideas, the easier it will be to become and remain a productive and efficient business.
1. Make sure your customer database is up to date and you have processes in place to ensure it is kept that way.
A messy customer database means you will waste time chasing business, potentially embarrass your company with double up contact and may miss business opportunities altogether. Whether you use Outlook or a formal CRM System the key is to ensure your database is kept clean and current.
2. Document your processes and make them easy for your staff to access.
Set up a wiki or other knowledge base system and make sure your key processes and “how-tos” are stored here. This will save time training new staff and answering questions. It will also ensure that your business acts consistently, with everyone following the same procedures.
3. Set up a central filing system so that everyone can readily access all documents and graphics.
If everyone is allowed to set up and manage their own files and filing system it can be a nightmare trying to find documents when you need them. Big time waster! Take the time to establish a centralised filing system and insist that all staff members understand and use the system. Now documents will be easy to find.
4. Use cloud software like Dropbox or Google Drive so you can access your files when you need them.
These systems let you store all of your files on line and then sync to whatever computers and devices you choose. This is also an easy and efficient way to share documents with others.
5. Set up a centralised calendar system so that staff can access each other’s diaries.
A company wide calendar makes it much easier to coordinate meetings and stay on top of staff movements.
6. Set up group email lists so key project players are never left off messages.
Outlook and other mail platforms make this easy to do and this one small step can help ensure that projects do not go off the rails.
7. Keep your eyes peeled for apps that can improve your personal productivity.
The apps that work for you will depend on your own habits and type of business. But here are a couple of examples of simple apps that enhance productivity.
Boomerang for Gmail: By notifying you when someone doesn’t respond to your email after a certain number of days, this simple app helps make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Doodle: This app makes meeting planning easier. Send out simple surveys to nail meeting times. Users denote the times they are available to enable the leader to choose the best time.