Friday December 18, 2015
Small businesses have to be highly efficient, simply because there''s no margin for wasted time or money. Whether you’re a sole proprietor or head of a small team, it’s critical for each individual to operate at maximum efficiency during the workday.
Seven small business owners shared the tips they have used in their own businesses to dramatically increase efficiency.
1. Prioritize Tasks
“My name is Jennifer Dawn and I''ve built 2 seven figure businesses and am working on my 3rd now. I''m a business owner and also coach many other small business owners.
Managing your time wisely is critical to small business success. It''s so easy to get caught up in the crazy busy all day long but not accomplish the tasks which are truly significant in moving the business forward. I designed a daily planner for myself that worked so well other business owners wanted one too.
Two critical components I use in the planner are:
- Take the time each morning to create a plan for the day. Willpower is strongest in the morning plus it gives you structure as the day progresses
- Prioritize your Top 10% tasks for the day
These are the items which really move the needle on your business but can often be pushed aside or procrastinated by "busy" work. Write these tasks down each day and get them done FIRST. These two steps while sounding simple, can make a huge difference in your business.”
"Write these tasks down each day and get them done FIRST." [Tweet this]
2. Chunk Your Schedule
The best way to increase efficiency is to have a weekly and monthly calendar where you allocate time to specific functions such as:
- Prospecting, including cold calling or warm calling
- Selling, including appointment and follow-up on all sales leads
- Delivering your solutions
- Administrative work
- Community commitment
Then you must be committed to adhering to those calendar commitments. Far too many business owners engage in the role of Captain Wing It where they spray their actions all over the place and pray something sticks.”
"Far too many business owners engage in the role of Captain Wing It." [Tweet this]
3. Automate Repetitive Processes
“As a small business owner that sells a subscription-based product, my first efficiency problem was finding a way to combine and automate invoicing, emailing, and payment processing. Having to do all of that manually every month was eating up a lot of my time that could be better spent growing my business. I was able to accomplish my goal of complete automation of my subscription processing, saving me countless hours every month.”
"My first efficiency problem was finding a way to combine and automate." [Tweet this]
4. Outsource Repetitive Tasks
“One of the biggest ways we increased efficiency in our business was to break down all data entry related tasks into step-by-step processes, document them, and outsource them to a data entry team.
From adding new products to our website to entering accounting records to aggregating data from multiple sources, anything that took even a few minutes a day of our time on a regular basis was broken down into a process that could be turned over to our team. Even a few small tasks a day really add up and would become a distraction and this increased our efficiency dramatically.”
"Even a few small tasks a day really add up." [Tweet this]
5. Anticipate, Don’t React
“Your customers don''t really want an update on the situation they just want to ensure you haven''t forgotten about them. You don''t have to hire someone to reply to the mails, that''s a waste of time.
The solution lies in anticipation. Reach out to them BEFORE they reach out to you for an update. Simply sent out an automatic e-mail couple of days after the order saying, “Hey didn''t forget you, will sent out your order shortly." You will reduce your e-mails by 85%, saving you a salary.”
6. Set Both Long- and Short-Term Goals
"In my experience I have had companies with great vision, talent, capital resources, and technology that were not achieving minimum benchmark goals. This was largely due to the team as a whole only focusing on the big picture and not setting incremental goals that could be quantified on a daily and/or weekly basis.
By changing our strategy to a mixture of short and long-term benchmarks we were able to continually advance and show progress week after week while continuing to work towards the desired end vision."
"Progress week after week while continuing to work towards the desired end." [Tweet this]
7. Keep Your Team Updated
“When you run a small team, you assume that everyone knows what everyone else''s goals are, and what they''re working on right now, and how it benefits the team as a whole. If you''re a business owner, you know that''s wrong. It''s even more work, because many times you don''t have a designated manager to keep everyone on track; You ARE that manager.
"You don''t have a designated manager to keep everyone on track." [Tweet this]
Every morning the team takes a look at our completed tasks and gives a 10-20 second update to everyone else. This lets us track progress as a team. Second, we go through what our most important tasks and goals are for that day, so everyone knows what everyone else will be working on, and why it''s important.”
How do you increase efficiency in your small business? Let me know in the comments!