Small businesses have unique opportunities that might not have been available to them in the past, thanks in large part to technology. Small businesses can operate in a way that’s more streamlined, more cost-effective and that paves the way for more innovation thanks primarily to automation and technological tools. In fact, sometimes small businesses can operate in a way that’s similar to much larger businesses in many ways.
If you’re a small business owner and you’re unsure where to start when it comes to improving efficiency, consider the following tips and technologies.
Dealing with employee attendance management can be a huge headache for small businesses. Even though large organizations have more employees and attendance management and vacation tracking can be more complex, they usually also have dedicated human resources departments to handle it all.
Small businesses don’t have this, and if you’re a business owner, you might be trying to juggle employee schedules, vacations, legal requirements and other issues related to time off.
Take all of these headaches and administrative burdens out of the equation by using a leave tracker or automated attendance management system. When small businesses use a leave management system or leave tracker, it gives them the ability to have a clear overview of who’s working, and where potential absenteeism problems could exist.
It can automate approvals, and a modern leave tracker gives employees the option to log-in on their own, submit their requests for time off and then check on the automated approvals.
A leave tracker, vacation tracker or leave management system not only alleviates some of the administrative work for small businesses, but can also improve organization, make sure understaffing isn’t a problem, and reduce conflict.
When you’re using an automated leave tracker solution, it can help cut down on payroll human errors, and you can log in and get a view of how much your employees are working, which is important.
Get Employees To Talk Face-to-Face
So a lot of this post is about using automation and technology like a leave tracker or attendance management system, but sometimes cutting down on digital communication and going back to the traditional ways of doing things can be helpful.
Within your small business when employees need to communicate internally with one another, encourage them to do so face-to-face. Save the technology for other tasks.
You don’t want your employees spending half their day answering emails, and then clarifying what the intent of those emails was. You don’t want to be doing that either. Face-to-face communication can save time, and help avoid confusion.
Okay, now we’re back to using technology and automation to improve business efficiency. You should try and make sure all of your payments are automated. This includes how you pay your vendors and your employees.
You don’t want to constantly be trying to chase down payments owed to you either.
First, if you don’t have a payroll system yet, get one. A payroll system helps alleviate mistakes and human error, and it’s well worth the cost to outsource that element of your business. A lot of business owners don’t fully understand the complexities of payroll anyway.
You can also automate your invoice management. You can set up rules for approvals when you receive an invoice and then make sure they get paid quickly. This helps ensure that you maintain good relationships with your vendors, and you may be able to pay invoices faster and take advantage of early pay discounts.
Along with payroll and invoice automation management, you can think about using online expense tracking solutions and accounting software.
Use Cloud Storage
Cloud software and storage solutions might have been the best thing to happen to businesses ever.
With cloud storage, you don’t have to worry about hardware and how you’ll store all your files and information. Your cloud service providers will take care of everything for you, including any necessary updates.
There are a lot of different ways you can go about improving productivity in your organization. A general tip is to automate any repetitive tasks or those tasks that are prone to human error. Your focus should be on maximizing the skills and talents of your employees. You don’t want them sitting around doing the same tasks over and over again if they don’t have to.
Instead, you want them to be focusing on meeting strategic objectives.
To begin improving productivity, you can have your employees start using time tracking software. This will give you and them the chance to see where they’re spending most of their time, and the information you get from time tracking software can help you create a specific plan for improving productivity.
Other ways to improve employee productivity can include using project management and various task management tools. This allows for employees to see where they need to be focusing, and as the business owner, it lets you see what’s getting done and what isn’t.
Finally, if you want to improve efficiency in a business, don’t be afraid of change. You have to be willing to embrace not only change but the general idea of technology if you want to stay efficient. There are a few ways you can embrace change and encourage efficiency.
First, don’t be a micromanager. If you’re a small business that has a lot of bureaucracy or specifics regarding how things are done, cut it out whenever possible. You want your employees to be quick thinkers and problem solvers. You want to give them the freedom to do things on their own whenever possible, and you want to cut out the unnecessary middle steps. You don’t want your employees to feel like there are obstacles to them getting from point A to point B. The goal of an efficient business isn’t to have as many steps in there as possible—it’s to get there in the best way possible.
Also, don’t shy away from new ideas and ways of doing things, such as outsourcing work to freelancers when possible, or letting employees work remotely.