How to Make Your Business Run More Efficiently

How to Make Your Business Run More Efficiently

Small businesses can be impressively inefficient–have you ever had to push 40 hours of work into 2 or 3 work days and ended up being so overwhelmed you just ignored it all instead? It’s a self-destructive behavior, but any small business owner can relate to that experience occasionally.

In fact, there are times when we know exactly what we need to do to fix the problem, but there’s a learning curve to go with it and we still have that 40 hours of work to finish in those 2 or 3 work days, so we put it off. Fortunately, there are some easy ideas and resources to implement that can help you become more efficient and professional.

Improving quality of work, unchaining you and your employees from their desks, and satisfying your clients without having to put in more time and money that might not exist. Here are a few ideas to keep your business running the best way it can:

Auto-Schedule Your Payments

Paying a stack of bills every month takes valuable man hours, and it can be tempting to spend hours going through every line item when something seems off. Here’s a tip–identify a range in which you think certain bills should fall every month, and check in every week to make sure the bills that come in fall within that range. If they do, let it go through the auto-scheduled process.

If it looks excessive, then you can check it out. But if you set up vendor payments using accounts payable software, you don’t have to take the time to review invoices or write checks, prepare envelopes, and send them off. It’s done in minutes with outsourced assistance. Giving the bills the attention they need, and unless the bill falls out of that range, you never look at it again.

What About Your Accounts Receivable

It takes more time collecting money than it does paying out, so you should put some systems in place for that as well. For your clients, consider payroll systems or invoicing. If you have a client that pays you on a regular schedule for consistent amounts, they might be able to set you up on payroll, sending out payment every 2 weeks or monthly so you do not have to call.

Also consider automatic invoicing. By using invoicing software, you can enter the client information once and never have to access the information again, unless they’re late with payment. Accounts receivable is vital to your company, so never let it slip. Simply put, to stay in business, you have to go after the money you are owed for your services and stay on top of it.  

Document Everything

Business owners have 100 things going on at one time and there’s no way to remember it all. You can use Google Calendar for keeping track of appointments, and task managers like Asana or Trello for to-do list items. Your phone’s note system and Google Docs will prove invaluable as well,but if you want to really stay on top of your game, don’t forget the standby notebook and pen either.

Don’t rely on memory, you’re smart, but overwhelmed people are forgetful. What we’re really talking about here is strong note-taking, but don’t let this tip go ignored in any aspect. Documentation will save you time and money in the long run, and documentation is the thing most likely to go out the window when you have too much going on.

Create Emergency Backup Plans

Small businesses don’t have a lot of staffing, so when something doesn’t go according to plan, the clients feels it. A death in the family or major illness, computer failures, power outages, natural disasters? Your client understands, but your client has a bottom line too.

Know how to handle a crisis before it pops up. Train your staff to fill one another’s roles when necessary, including your own. When natural disasters are known in advance, evacuate with preparations to work remotely.

Look out for your employees and your assets–consider a disaster plan that covers in-office problems and covers the emergencies listed in a basic fashion . It will take care of workplace safety, but also get your ideas moving for how to solve other problems.

Use Cloud Storage Solutions

By 2020, it’s estimated that 80% of small businesses will operate from cloud systems. Cloud storage saves all your work so it’s accessible from anywhere with an internet connection and to anyone you give permissions to. When you’re on the run, you can access data from anywhere.

If you have to, you can work from your desktop, your laptop, your tablet, or your phone–even all at once in the same document if you really needed to. You can share the work with your staff and your clients rather than sending back and forth documents that are ever-changing, with old files accidentally being saved on top of new ones.

Be Prepared for Anything

The key to making a small business run more efficiently is preparation, but clearly, even that takes time. As you seek out the right resources and the right systems, then you can start the process by putting them into action.

Don’t wait until your to-do list is caught up or everything that is past-due is complete. If you’re already behind, you’ll just get more behind. If you can’t get these systems in place from the start, stop what you’re doing and get it done before it’s too late. You need processes and schedules to keep your business running the most efficient way possible.

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