Streamlining your business saves money. It saves time. It saves manpower. All it takes is a little time to think about how you are currently doing business and how you can improve on what you are doing. For business owners who are too busy to reinvent the wheel, here are some proven ways to ensure a more streamlined business.
1. Change direction if you need to
Streamlining isn’t limited to cutting back and dropping activities. You need to start by consolidating or changing the work you do to align it with your goals. It may feel scary now to change direction, but it becomes scarier later when you don’t reach your goals.
2. Reduce time
A task will expand to fill the number of hours given to it. Usually if you give an employee 3 days to finish a task, they will take 3 days to do it, yet if you give them half a day for the same task, they will also finish it. I have found that being results focused and specific will help save time. If you give a person an exact deadline to complete important tasks (eg. Wednesday at 14:15), they will become more productive.
3. Motivate your staff and offer incentives
In my chicken farming days (many moons ago) I had to slaughter a certain number of broilers a day. I realised that my staff’s priorities were not necessarily my priorities and that I would not get the result I needed if I simply paid them for a day’s work. I put myself in their shoes and thought about what would motivate me. I had excellent results when I told my staff at the beginning of each day what the target was and that they could leave once the target had been met. Sometimes they worked so well that they finished a day’s work at noon! There was no compromise on quality either, because the work was not deemed done until I was completely satisfied with the quality.
4. Systemize your processes
Think of how you can make things easier, faster and cheaper. Create template emails, template forms and documents, auto responders, automatic payments, a “roles and responsibilities” chart, digital timesheets, etc. Solve your problems once. If a task has to be repeated, create a system for doing that task. This will also ensure that you have a standardized way of doing business.
5. Use remote workers
Only pay for what you use. See my post on the 8 Ways small business owners can benefit by outsourcing. You have an incredibly diverse talent pool at your fingertips and can choose the best for your business. Your overhead costs are less. Your business becomes more productive and streamlined.