Automating your business does not mean that everything should be performed by a machine. Automating is another term used for streamlining and increasing efficiency. Now, no matter what type of business you have, efficiency is critical to the bottom line, your profit margin, so it makes sense to investigate five of the most common areas identified where businesses lack efficiency.
Despite the advancements in IT and digital technology, many businesses still rely on old-fashioned paperwork as well as using digital alternatives. The question you should ask yourself is what element of paperwork is essential, and which is simply ‘easier’ to work with. Sometimes we may have become so used to working with paper that we are reluctant to do away with it, but as with any change, once you get used to a new system, it is easy to look back and wonder how you managed with the old one. With easy access to cloud storage and more and more software available to streamline business operations, you should embrace these changes, not rail against them. As a simple example, have you noticed how many more businesses now email invoices and receipts rather than sending them through the post? This can save considerable time and also money.
Integrate operating systems
Have you embraced digital technology and now have software-based operating systems? If so, the next question is to ask if they are compatible? Do you use a different software product for your accounts and for your invoicing, your stock control and resource management? Today it is possible to consolidate many applications into one homogenous operating system.
The more people you have working in one place, the more ‘management’ and overseeing they require, which can distract from other more-productive work. Many elements of a business can be taken care of away from the premises, which can also lead to the possibility of expanding your business yet downsizing the premises. Outsourcing work can also reduce the cost of hiring employees as many outsourcing freelancers work on a simple per-hour basis.
Optimise your B2B procedures
Few businesses today operate without communicating with other businesses. Thus, optimising this communication can reap huge dividends. In a retail environment, for example, sharing data with your suppliers in relation to sales can increase sales, reduce inventory, result in capital savings, improve cashflow, and reduce lead times. Once again software packages can come to your rescue and do all the hard work for you, leaving you more time to do business rather than just run one.
One of the hardest transitions when expanding a business is to let go of the reins and to put responsibility for certain elements in the hands of someone else. Those in your business who have worked for you for quite some time probably have a better understanding of the business than you might give them credit for. Slowly divesting responsibility can be good for you, and also good for staff as they will take the increased responsibility as a promotion and a reward/acknowledgement for their good work.
So, when it comes to automating your business, think streamlining, not replacing valuable staff with machines… that way you will be able to use your own time more effectively.