Business is all about efficiency. Higher efficiency means higher profitability, less stress, and less chance of failure.
In fact, efficiency is a matter of life and death for many businesses.
Depending on the industry, the only thing that keeps many businesses on the right side of the profit/loss line is being efficient.
We all intuitively know what efficiency means, but it’s worth breaking down for focus.
Efficiency is about resources.
Business efficiency means offering goods or services by using the smallest possible amount of resources.
That could be capital, labour, energy consumption, or physical resources used to create a product.
1 – Train more, train better
Staff training is usually a key hold-up in a business.
Without a manager’s knowledge, we’ve found staff members completing tasks 2-3 times slower than they could if only they were shown a better method.
“Shown” is a really important word here. The single reason that staff members are not using the quickest method to complete a task is that they haven’t been trained to do so.
This training might be highly specific, or more generalised. E.g. it might take the form of a 1-to-1 session revolving around a particular task, or a group training day about Excel.
But in every instance the duty lies with the manager to monitor how tasks are being completed and take the time to train staff members on how to complete them quicker.
We’re strong believers in training, and that’s true in our management of our own developers. We operate a “No Silly Questions” policy, which is the exact opposite of what it sounds like. What our policy means is that no question that a staff member asks is silly. If you’re asking the question, it’s because you haven’t been taught the answer yet. And that isn’t silly, it’s a chance to learn.
So before we even suggest building software to improve efficiency, we often look at the tasks staff members are completing and work out how they can be streamlined from a training perspective.
However, often the fault is not about training, its about systems.
2 – Go digital
Systems are by far the worst causes of inefficiency.
Digital systems should work for you. They should be so good at completing their task that they require minimal interference from users, with huge output, but that’s often not the case with the software that many businesses use.
The majority of businesses we work with are either using:
- Outdated systems
- Badly chosen systems
- Badly configured systems
Off-the-shelf solutions can work really well, as long as they are set-up to actually meet your business needs. However for many situations a company needs something bespoke to fulfil a specific role.
With this, you have two main options:
- Create a bespoke solution using software that allows for it, such as Excel.
- Create a bespoke software platform.
Which solution is required depends on the specific context, but the main takeaway should be that spending time/money on digital solutions in the short run usually leads to massive savings in the long run.
For every client we have ever worked with, the cost of building software has always been outweighed by the savings this software has brought them.
If a company builds software where that isn’t true, they shouldn’t have built the software at all.
Luckily we thrive on efficiency – it’s what gets us going. That’s why our software rocks.
3 – Think more, work less
1 and 2 are great, but they require 3. By even reading this post you’re likely thinking about how your company could be more efficient. And that’s a surprisingly hard thing to do.
Most of us get so absorbed in the day-to-day that we forget to zoom out. We forget to look at the bigger picture.
But the bigger picture is where we make the moves that will change the course of our businesses for the better.
Before you put in place a new software system to reduce time spent on a task you need to realise that the problem even exists.
Once you realise, you can resolve.
This is the essential process for improving and increasing profitability.
Realise, resolve. Realise resolve.