How to Streamline Your Small Business Operations
Running a tight ship is critical for small businesses. They just don’t have the slack to overspend needlessly and recover from it later. Small companies also have far less access to capital to borrow their way out of mistakes than their larger brethren. Subsequently, they must remain streamlined because they had less margin for error. Here are some useful steps to streamline the operations of your small business.
Use Affordable CRM by Combining Free Apps
CRM packages have become increasingly complex and costly. Small businesses often struggle with how to afford them and train their staff to use them effectively.
Instead, it’s possible to use Google Calendar to store appointment data and export it directly into Google Sheets. Thankfully, it is not difficult to get sheets and calendar working together, so it won’t require costly staff training to make it useful quickly. Keep contact information matched up with appointments to ensure sales staff remain updated.
TimeTackle provides the service through affordable subscription plans charges on a per user basis. So, costs are adjustable depending on how many staff members will grapple with Sheets and Calendar to manage their projects adroitly.
Outsource Where Necessary
When a task falls outside of the core competency of your team, then it’s worth considering outsourcing it.
For instance, when there’s no one in your company who has managed social media accounts for business before, asking an employee to do so can lead to a forced error. When they don’t understand clearly how business social accounts should be managed, it’s easy for the chosen employee to have a fit of emotion, leading to poorly considered live posts. While it can be deleted later, this won’t stop it from damaging the brand’s reputation.
To keep a small operation on point, it’s necessary to strip out tasks that the staff aren’t trained for or will be a distraction. Maintain the positive momentum by outsourcing these tasks to people who’ll complete them with greater competency.
Review Processes One by One
Review the existing processes within the business one-by-one. In some cases, an employee has been crying out to change how things are done but has been refused because “that’s how it’s always been done.” That has to end.
Assess properly whether their ideas will work in reality and save time. Give them a small bonus for successful ideas that get implemented well.
Look for ways to simplify, remove steps, or completely overhaul processes that can be done more efficiently. For the most part, try to reduce the complexity within existing processes. Also, look for new tools that will reduce the time to get tasks completed.
Staff tend to want to create mini fiefdoms. Not cooperating with people within the same department is often a problem. This includes failing to communicate and keep people in the loop. The relationships across departments can be even worse.
For companies to be operationally efficient, staff must have open lines of communication with everyone within the organization. Employees must be encouraged to talk about difficulties with the operations – particularly those that come down to communication blockages. Only this way can a line of communication be kept open.
While some staff fear automation and its impact on their job security, for small business operations, it’s essential to keep everything humming along. Why is this? Because removing the repetitive tasks from busy employees allows them to move onto more important tasks. These are interesting and ensure they can perform at their best without feeling like they’re getting burnt out. There is also likely to be a greater variety of tasks this way. For the employer, it can lead to higher employee retention rates coupled with lower recruitment costs too.
Fast-growing small companies often see growth as the most important thing. As a result, their operations become less and less efficient due to a lack of focus on them. By reining in that tendency, growth can be paired with greater efficiency for better overall results.
By Jessica Peters
Bio: Jessica Peters is a freelance writer from Melbourne who blogs about health and fitness. Jessica is an avid traveler and regularly crosses the globe to learn about other cultures while blogging from her laptop.