You’ve probably heard the expression “Time is money.” When you’re running a business, you have to make the most of your limited time to maximize your revenue. With only so many working hours available each day, you’ll need to be proactive about operating efficiently.
Luckily, there are many small steps you can take to save time each day on essential tasks. Here are seven ways to boost the efficiency of your business.
1. Use a PEO to Handle HR Responsibilities
A professional employer organization is a third-party provider that can manage human resources tasks for your business. Working with a PEO is particularly beneficial for small businesses that don’t have their own HR department yet. A PEO can assist with payroll, benefits management, and other important HR responsibilities.
These HR tasks are essential, but they can also be time-consuming and repetitive. A PEO is a cost-effective way to outsource them. You’ll get help from experienced HR professionals rather than having to learn HR best practices yourself.
2. Automate Key Tasks With Machine Learning Technology
Artificial intelligence/machine learning has been one of the most exciting technological advancements of the past decade. With automated technology, you can use software to handle some of your biggest time sucks. By building automations, your team can avoid repetition and focus on more complex problem-solving and innovation.
There are so many ways to use automation in your work. For example, your marketing team can create and schedule social media posts and email newsletters ahead of time. Your customer service team can use AI chatbots to respond to FAQs. You can also use tools like Zapier or Zoho Flow to create automated workflows. These workflows are particularly helpful for sales professionals, as they can ensure that important touchpoints don’t get forgotten.
3. Build a Network of Contractors
As a small business, you may not have the budget to bring on more full-time hires just yet. However, when things get busy, you still need an extra set — or sets — of hands to stay on top of things. Engaging contractors on a part-time or freelance basis can enable you to fill the gaps.
By working with contractors, you’ll get the assistance you need without having to pay benefits. Many contractors are also experts in their field, so you’ll get valuable perspectives that can help your business grow. Start searching for contractors before you need them so you have a network to call on when things get overwhelming.
4. Streamline Internal Processes
Having standardized processes is important for any team. These processes enable everyone to stay on the same page and maintain a high quality of work. However, if processes are unnecessarily complicated, they could be slowing your team down.
Survey your team members to determine which tasks are taking up the most time each day. Look for places where you can get rid of unnecessary red tape to speed things up. For example, consider the number of documents and platforms you use to manage tasks and collect data. Could they be consolidated into one central folder, or could one platform handle all your data storage and analysis needs? This way, your team won’t waste so much time going back and forth.
5. Eliminate Unnecessary Meetings
A Bain & Company study found that 50% of work meetings are unnecessary. They’re also time-consuming and take your employees out of their workflow. To prevent meetings from getting out of hand, set a policy of limiting face-to-face meetings to essential planning and decision-making situations. This will give your team more time to complete their daily tasks without distracting interruptions.
Look for other ways to communicate efficiently. For most status updates, an email or Slack message is a quick and easy alternative to a face-to-face meeting. Many times, brainstorming can occur as effectively in a shared document as around a conference table. By confining meetings to truly essential occasions, you’ll boost your team’s efficiency significantly.
6. Use Project Management Tools
Project management tools are software programs that break projects into smaller tasks. You can assign each action item to relevant stakeholders on your team and track their progress from start to finish. Such tools are also a great place to share important project briefs and documents with everyone.
Project management tools save time by keeping all of your project information in one place. Everyone on your team knows exactly what they’re responsible for and when deadlines are, which minimizes confusion. When problems do come up, it’s easier to pinpoint where they started and solve them right away.
7. Reevaluate Your Approach Regularly
As your business grows, you’ll need to reevaluate your operations regularly for efficiency. Things will change as you take on more clients and grow your team. The approach that was most efficient when your business was smaller won’t necessarily work anymore, and that’s OK.
Keep an open dialogue with your team members. Ask for their suggestions about how processes could be improved or streamlined. Don’t be afraid to invest in time-saving tools for your business. Although these investments have an upfront cost, they can help you save money and time in the long term.
If you’re struggling to get through your to-do list each day, it’s time to take a hard look at your businesses’ operations. Chances are, there are workflows and strategies you could streamline to save time. Even saving just a few minutes each day can add up to hours of valuable extra time.