Making a small business work and succeed can boil down to simple optimization. Keeping your company lean and mean lets you focus on all the tasks you have on your plate without wondering whether or not the company is being the best version of itself.
Here are 7 ways you can weed out inefficiency and give your small business the best odds of success:
1. Trim Your Email Lists
Mailing lists are still a powerful option for startups when it comes to reaching and maintain their audience. However, those lists can easily become bloated with people who wanted to use your promotion or deal at the time. That happens, and is not necessarily a massive loss, but every person not interacting with your posts is costing you money. You should occasionally take a look at your list and see who hasn’t interacted with or opened your messages since signing up. Remove those people from the lists so you can turn your efforts more towards those who have a shot at moving through the sales funnel.
2. Keep Your Gear Up-To-Date
Technology does two things in time – it evolves and it breaks down. Given enough time, your small business’s equipment will either become obsolete and unable to meet your needs, or will break down and need replacement. Check your team’s gear regularly to ensure that it is not holding them back. Additionally, you should also check if there are any software updates available. Those updates can allow your gear to run more smoothly and often patch any security issues that may have been discovered.
3. Automate What You Can
Automation is one of the best ways to streamline your company’s processes. Chat bots, for example, can give your customer service team room to breathe. However, you need to make sure what you automate is done properly. Those same chat bots should be left to handle simple inquiries, with harder or more complex issues still left for real people to handle.
An all-in-one software package like ServiceWorks can improve the efficiency of every area of your operations, from scheduling with customers to planning your service routes. The advantage of a system like this is that all the information is integrated — you can even coordinate sales and payments made in ServiceWorks directly with your bookkeeping files.
4. Periodically Review Company Procedures
When you first launch your company, one of your first goals is to develop a set of systems and practices that can help smooth out the company’s daily routines. However, developing those systems is often a matter of what works at that moment in time. Those systems may not have scaled properly and could be holding back your business. Periodically take a look at company procedures and figure out if they are still working or if they need a quick update.
5. Review Unused Files and Send Them to Storage
Hard drive space might be affordable, but keeping your drives clean can help your computers run faster and keep unnecessary files from clogging up search results. Have your entire team do a periodic check of files to see which ones have not been accessed in six months or more. Once found, those files should be moved off the hard drives and onto cloud storage, where they can be archived and accessed should the need arise in the future.
6. Get Feedback From the Team
No matter how involved you are, the fact is you are viewing the front lines from your desk. Most of the time, your view is macro. Your employees are in the trenches, actually experiencing the systems you’ve approved. On that level, they know those systems better than you. That is why you should ask them for feedback. They can tell you which parts of those systems are working and which ones are not.
7. Get an Outside Consultant
Sometimes, you and your team can be too deep into a system to spot its flaws. That could come as a result of comfort or complacency. Either way, there are times when some outside help could come in handy. Getting a consultant, someone who has never seen your system function before, could conceivably spot issues that you are unfortunately too close to see. The consultant you bring in could be a professional, or it could simply be a new hire you are on-boarding. The latter is especially useful, as you may show them details you could unconsciously not mention to a professional.
While those are useful tips, they are also far from the only ways you can improve the functionality of your small business. Whenever you spot a way to improve the company’s processes, no matter how small, consider enacting it. And be sure to sign up for your free 14-day trial of ServiceWorks — no credit card needed.
The best companies are not at the top because they have one big advantage or system. They are there because of an avalanche of little optimizations that add up to a smooth and productive business.