Your company is running smoothly enough, but you know things could be better. Sometimes, a project gets hung up a few days too long, or meetings that once felt productive and useful now seem to drag on for much too long. It can feel like wheels spinning in the mud, and it’s hard to get that traction back.
To fix these issues, it helps to focus on improving the efficiency of your business. Here are a few tips.
What would happen if your project manager or VA were no longer able to work? Could you easily (and quickly) train someone else to take over? For too many small business owners, the answer to that question is a very loud ‘No’.
When all the instructions for completing a task reside only in one person’s head, you’ve set yourself up for trouble.
Rather than risk struggling with logins and procedures, make it a point to document every task in your business, from how you manage your email to how a new product is launched. That way, if your best VA decides to leave, another team member (or new hire) can step in and keep things going.
Automate what you can
Business automation is not a luxury; it is a necessity. Automating tasks saves you time, ensures consistent service delivery and enables you to focus on those tasks that require critical thinking or a human touch.
Can you automate everything? Of course not. But you can implement this same level of efficiency and consistency by creating systems and workflows.
Limit interruptions & distractions
If you are having trouble completing tasks efficiently, reconsider how you structure your days. Are you having to deal with constant interruptions?
It has been proven that it takes a whopping 25 minutes on average to return to the original task after an interruption. What that means is distractions don’t just eat up time during the distraction, they derail your progress for up to half an hour after!
Consider blocking out chunks of time in your calendar for uninterrupted work (I am a huge morning person – so I quite literally have 8 to 10.30am every morning blocked out for tasks that need 100% of my focus). During this time:
- All notifications are paused,
- I don’t switch lanes.
- I prioritise a business critical task and get it done.
The other thing I see lots of people do is pick a day when no meetings get booked in. I can see how this would be amazing. Imagine: one day every week when you get to create content, catch up on the stuff that didn’t get done, and keep that business growing without dipping into family time or your weekends. I reckon that’d be a big win.
Use a task management software
Use a task management app like Trello or Asana so that all your communications and work progress lives in one spot. No more emails flying back and forth. No more “Have you got a minute?” meetings.
Seek Out More Efficient Systems
Take a look at your business and the tasks you perform every day. Where can you be more efficient? What tools would help you maximise your time? Where can you make your business more efficient, while still keeping the personality and brand your clients love and trust?
- A hosted help desk solution with “canned responses” to the most common questions. Click a button and answer in seconds instead of typing out a 3-paragraph response.
- Document templates ensure everything is formatted in a way that matches your brand, and will save you hours on every worksheet, resource guide, and even sales pages and blog posts.
- Duplicate your repeatable projects inside your project management system, change the dates and key details, and instead of spending 30 minutes assigning tasks to your team, you’ll spend 30 seconds.
It might also be time to upgrade your tools, if what you’re using is no longer as efficient as it could be. For example, if your autoresponder can’t move customers from one email funnel to another based on their behavior, you’re missing out on sales. Consider upgrading to Active Campaign, Ontraport or even Infusionsoft to make your sales process more automated.
A Final Word…
While it’s important to smooth out as many kinks as possible to help your business run more efficiently, you need to know where to draw the line. Your efforts to achieve efficiencies should never detract from your primary goal as a startup or small business — and that is to grow.