Being a business owner is both exhilarating and challenging at the same time. With the many challenges startups face in the Canadian marketplace today, discovering new business efficiency tactics, and making them work for you is essential. To avoid becoming a statistic, entrepreneurs should look at implementing systems that will help save both money and time; here are four areas for you to consider:
Set goals and plan
Goal setting is essential when growing a business. Your business started with a life-changing idea. Working toward new long-term business goals can be achieved with the same drive and thoughtful energy. Begin by using brainstorm methods such as mind mapping or list-making to determine how attainable the goal is and what financial commitments may be involved. You'll know you are on the right track when clear steps on how to attain the goal start to emerge. Then, break down the steps it will take to reach your goal into smaller sections that are both measurable and time based. Remember to regularly reflect and review your progress, adjusting your timeline as you go.
Stop wasting time
Daily tasks that you may have taken on yourself when there was limited staff or resources to delegate to may have become part of a comfortable routine. Small tasks can take away from your ability to complete the larger goals you have set out for yourself and your business development. No one likes a micro-manager. Delegate the less sensitive and less involved tasks to a reliable staff member or consider outsourcing daily functions. Business owners are commonly skeptical as to whether someone else can get the job done the way they like it or at the speed they need it. Often specialized contractors or keen managers may complete tasks better than you would.
An easy way to determine if there is daily workload you can offload is to create a list of tasks you do every day that you don't enjoy doing or aren't as skilled at as you would like to be. Then, review and research any virtual resources you can use to your benefit, such as investing in a call centre to handle customer service inquiries or a specialized contractor to be responsible for fleet management. Outsourcing and delegating leaves you with extra time that you can spend working on propelling your business forward by means of networking and promoting.
Test new trends
As a business owner, it is advantageous to stay on top of current trends regarding how larger organizations handle collaboration, communication, and technology. Small improvements can increase productivity and employee satisfaction. In many cases, small businesses can't compete with larger corporations who could be attracting your valuable employees.
Don't be afraid to consider unconventional workplace changes such as standing desks, walking meetings, or scheduling a time for staff to break during the day. It may boost morale while promoting a forward-thinking working environment. Equipping teams with smartphones may seem like a major investment, but it could potentially motivate them to be more productive at times when they wouldn't normally have been. Down time can become opportunities for employees to think and communicate about the business. Consider whether allowing certain staff to work remotely would be an added employee benefit without affecting the flow of customer service.
Let tech work for you
The era of online banking and accounting has never been as convenient, and businesses can take advantage of the increased flexibility and capabilities now available to them. User-friendly systems and mobile phone apps can automate payroll, scheduling, invoicing, and man accounting functions. To determine if investing in softwware is worthwhile, calculate how much time each function takes in a month and how much per hour you pay someone for it. If you break even on the investment in less than two years, it may be beneficial to have that person focusing on other aspects of the job that technology can't replicate, like thinking about the big picture and making decisision that will ultimately move your business forward and make you money.
Online banking is another way you can save time and be more efficient in daily business operations. Scotiabank recently announced that they can open their leading business bank accounts online, whenever it's convenient to the business owner. Combining operating and savings accounts based on usage volume allows small businesses to achieve their goals with lower fees and higher interest rates on savings.
You can also find insights into planning, starting, and growing your business with Scotiabank's online resources, and links to Small Business Advisors who are available to provide valuable strategies and advice relevant to your business needs.