Operate with Efficiency
September 20, 2022
The most successful businesses operate with efficiency. Regardless of the number of employees, businesses should review every process and procedure and determine how each can be made more efficient. Management in small businesses and SMEs never seem to have enough time, always rushed, have an overabundance of tasks that need to be completed, and worry constantly about business survival because of competition, economic cycles, lack of employees, and escalating costs due to inflation.
Efficiency in a business is not automatic. Systems need to be in place and goals established whether a business is in the startup phase or already a mature business. Something can always go wrong in a business regardless of precautions, but the more systems that are in place, the more training that employees receive, and the more goals that are established, the less detrimental effect a mistake or misstep will have on the business. Corrections can be immediately implemented that still allow for objectives to be met regardless of stumbling blocks along the way.
Set Definite Goals
Businesses must plan. This builds a foundation and a roadmap for the future. Goals, however, have to be clearly articulated, understood by everyone involved, and be definitive. Increasing sales by 5% over the last quarter is a definitive goal that everyone can understand. The goal of simply “increasing sales” doesn’t tell anyone exactly what is expected. Would the business be pleased with a sales increase of $10.00 or $100.00? Probably not, but the goal of simply “increasing sales” is not a definitive goal. Employees need to know what is expected of them or what needs to be accomplished to achieve the goal.
Communication and Interaction
Employees can and should learn from each other; however, communication and interaction have to take place. With open communication and department and company goals established, employees can offer support and recommendations to enhance efficiency and reduce the possibility of internal mistakes. One employee or department might have experienced a particular issue that can be eliminated or minimized by another department or team just through open communication and interaction.
When no one is responsible for improving a particular process or procedure within a business, the process or procedure very likely will never be improved. Assigning responsibility of various processes and procedures to different employees ensures that every important function in a business has a gatekeeper...someone who is responsible to make sure that their function is running as efficiently as possible. Constant review and accompanying recommendations become their responsibility.
All goals have to be measured and assessed for effectiveness if the goals are to be relevant. A goal (or plan) without execution does nothing to improve a business and move it forward. Therefore, there should be frequent (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.) meetings and/or updates regarding progress depending on the importance and complexity of a particular project. If goals were not met or not currently being met, then immediate corrrective action can be taken.
Operate with Efficiency
Operating with efficiency in a business does not mean keeping the status quo that can result in stagnation for a business. Operating with efficiency means changing processes, procedures, and projects after review and analysis with updated and new practices as warranted. It is just as important for small businesses and SMEs as it is for large businesses to operate as efficiently as possible. Operational improvement equates to increased profitability.