Is your company less efficient than it could be?
You’re not alone. One of the most common reasons for early-stage failure is inefficiency. Mature companies aren’t immune either: As firms grow, they often become more bureaucratic and less agile. In that sclerotic state, they’re more likely to miss strategic opportunities, fail to recognize crucial market shifts, or simply buckle under their own weight.
“Many promising businesses fail due to accumulated operational inefficiencies,” says George Otte, Miami entrepreneur and chairman of Otte Polo Group. “Successful leaders recognize early on the vital importance of a streamlined operation, and take concrete steps to make it a reality.”
It is entirely possible to overcome operational efficiency. These six initiatives will help streamline your company’s operations and empower it to do more with less.
- Devote Structured Blocks of Time to Email
“Business leaders, CEOs and managers often receive hundreds, if not thousands, of emails a day,” writes Jacqueline Whitmore, a business etiquette expert. “Reading and responding to every message can become a drain on time and energy.”
Whitmore recommends setting aside discrete blocks of time throughout the day to respond to email. Don’t open or even check your email during this time. If you’re prone to distracting, turn off your phone or disable email notification settings during enforced quiet periods.
- Use a Virtual Assistant
Just as you delegate tasks to subordinate employees, you can outsource repetitive tasks that can’t easily be automated to off-site virtual assistants. Many virtual assistants are knowledgeable in your industry category and provide cost efficiencies by outsourcing to a third party.
For higher-value tasks, such as answering inbound calls to your main office or sales center, look to a telephone answering service that offers virtual receptionist services — see below.
- Outsource Call Handling to a Telephone Answering Service
If your enterprise handles large volumes of incoming or outgoing calls related to sales, appointments, customer inquiries, and the like, bring on a telephone answering service partner to reduce your core team’s workload. The best telephone answering services provide a wide range of services, including virtual receptionist, dispatching, call forwarding, message taking, appointment reminders, and more.
- Delegate More Effectively
Learn to let go and delegate more effectively. This starts with reducing your workload to the core activities at which you excel, and finding quality employees better equipped to handle non-core portions. As your company grows, flesh out your senior management team with leaders versed in hands-on management.
- Grow Into a Smaller Office Space
Simple changes to your office space can dramatically reduce your per-employee footprint, and potentially forestall a transition into a larger space — even with healthy growth. Move away from walled-off offices and cube-filled bullpens, toward shared spaces, workbenches, standing desk stations, huddle rooms, and small conference areas built for collaboration and quiet work.
- Get a Technical Support Partner
Stretch your technology’s lifespan with a trusted technical support partner that can help you proactively manage and effectively repair legacy hardware and software without requiring expensive upgrades. For maximum efficiency, look to a partner with both hands-on and remote support capabilities.
What are you doing to improve your company’s efficiency? What can you do better in the future?