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No matter how efficient your business is, there is always something you can improve.

Do you find that once productive meetings are no longer fun? Do they run for too long and little gets done? What about projects that run over time or run over budget? Are your processes and procedures efficient? Some days can feel that the more you try to do, the less productivity you and your team achieve.

Fixing these types of things is simple if you take the time to focus on the efficiency in key areas of your business. Here are five tips to help run a more efficient business.

  • Control meeting interruptions

Meetings can interrupt everyone’s day. A meeting at 11, lunch at 12, then an after-lunch meeting at 2 pm. This type of interruption a few times a week and there is not much time for anything else. How does anyone get anything done?

Try scheduling meetings all on one day on a regular basis, where you can, to maximise productivity. If you need regular company meetings, consider giving them a short 15-minute time limit at the start of the day. Use these meetings to keep staff in the loop about the business. Encourage open communication and staff feedback. This is a great way to identify areas for improvement, and to celebrate successes.

And, then there are those requests for quick minute meetings that turn into 15 minutes. These do nothing for your employees’ focus and concentration. This type of quick meeting is not good for staff productivity and an inefficient use of time. Instead, schedule short meetings. Set up a 10-minute meeting at a particular time. Keep it short, on topic, and to the point.

  • Nurture open communication

It is all well and good to tell your employees “my door is always open”. But unless you openly engage with your staff they may never knock at your door. How comfortable do your staff feel about knocking on your door?

Some of the most valuable feedback you can get is from staff working on the job. You want your people to voice their concerns. Your employees are the ones doing the job, they have invaluable insight into how to do things better. Employees can come up with new innovative solutions, if you let them.

By nurturing open communication your team will work better together. Staff will take on ownership of their jobs which boosts productivity.

  • Automate your business

Automate everything in your business that you can. There is good software in the market to help you. Whether it is sending invoices to customers or reordering stock, automating your accounts makes sense. It saves time and money in a competitive environment. This allows staff to get on with more complex tasks that require critical thinking.

While implementing the software to automate tasks costs time and money, it is an investment in your business long term.

  • Multitasking kills productivity

Yes, I know. We are all master multi-taskers, or so we think. But, if you do more than one thing at a time, how well do you do anything? You can usually be effective working on one or two tasks at a time. Anything more and the quality of work declines. This means wasting time going back to fix mistakes. When staff focus their energy on only one or two tasks without distractions, the quality of work will be better and productivity will rise.

  • Use the art of delegation

Learn to delegate. You cannot do everything yourself. When you overload yourself and your staff productivity plummets and mistakes get made. When you have a team, delegate suitable tasks to your people. For things you do not have staff for, like accounting, use accounting software that will automate many business functions. This leaves you free to choose the tasks you are best at to increase your productivity.

These are just a few things to consider at the beginning of a new year to setup your business for a success.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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