Inefficiency, like rust, never sleeps, and can suddenly creep into any corner of your business. Vigilance against inefficiency is even more critical for small to medium-sized businesses because margins for error can be thin, and small but steady drains on revenue can suddenly hit a tipping point. So how can you run a tighter ship? Here are seven steps to take:
1. Automate wherever possible
This is our favorite efficiency booster, since we’re in the business of automating travel, expense and invoice management. But there are many routine tasks that can be streamlined and automated for greater efficiency, including network maintenance, marketing and customer support. You can see how much spreadsheet-based expense reporting may be costing you with our tool.
2. Be down for maximum uptime
A reliable, secure, and responsive company network ensures that your employees can access the information and resources they need, and maintain responsive contact with customers and suppliers. Many a sale has been lost due to technical difficulties.
3. Held up by a drawbridge? Don’t just sit there
Mobile productivity on the go is more critical than ever, especially in SMBs where employees often wear multiple hats. Make sure your employees have the mobile tools to connect to the company network, each other, and your customers from wherever they are.
Equip your employees with the tools they need to collaborate with each other, your customers, vendors, and partners. Capabilities such as interactive calendaring, videoconferencing, and document sharing help to keep everyone on the same page and bring out their best.
5. Save by outsourcing
SMB owners are used to doing it all, but it can be a false economy. For example, it may be more cost-effective to outsource network security tasks to a managed service provider and free your IT specialists to work on revenue-generating initiatives.
6. Reduce your email attachments
Attaching files to email for internal sharing and client review is the easy default. But, besides being notoriously insecure, this method consumes mailbox and server space, can degrade network performance, and requires you to send a new attachment with every revision. Consider exchanging documents through a secure client portal, where the files are stored in the cloud with the option of password protection, and sharing is achieved by emailing the link instead of the document. This can also eliminate the need to encrypt sensitive files, and ensures that everyone is accessing the latest version.
7. Keep employees satisfied with simple technology
Most employees typically use only four for five main features of an application, and the easier technology is to use, they more they’ll use it. Frustration with company technology is turning up more frequently exit interviews, so in addition to boosting productivity, keeping it simple helps to reduce your recruitment costs.
Identifying other opportunities to increase efficiencies in your company can be as simple as asking, “Is there a better way to do this?” With the robust competition to provide affordable productivity tools for the growing SMB market, chances are excellent that there is.