By Cassie Elias
The old saying ‘work smarter not harder’ has proved to be invaluable to businesses across the United Kingdom over the last year.
2021 is set to be filled with growth and investment for SMEs in the UK, thanks to 74 percent of SME owners indicating their plans to invest in their small business this coming year. However, for a business to achieve those growth plans and true productivity on all levels, it must find clever and original ways to drive efficiency amongst its employees, managers, and even its owners. After all, some of the best-performing companies have a 40 percent higher productivity rate than their peers – and a 30-50 percent higher operating profit margin too, according to research by the Harvard Business Review.
Get Your Time And Asset Management Down To Improve Efficiency
Poor time and asset management can result in delayed growth plans, wastage of resources, and lower customer retention rates due to low customer satisfaction. Smart time management helps entrepreneurs avoid burnout and working those 80 hour weeks. In fact, small business owners already work 17 days overtime every year, according to research commissioned by Opus Energy.
To improve your time management, start with refining your planning process. Employing effective planning methods can help you keep track of how well your day is spent, and how your working hours are utilised. The same applies to your employees as well. The use of timesheet tracking can help business owners identify employee timelines, adherence to deadlines, and any variance areas that need to be streamlined and improved.
Decide On A Streamlined Communication And Prioritisation Protocol
Miscommunication is a common source of inefficiency within businesses across the globe. According to a study by Siemms, poor communication can cost your business up to £25,000 per employee per year. One way to improve this is by investing in the right communication and collaboration tools to keep your employees well connected. Appropriate training on effective communication skills should also be considered for employees and their managers.
Decide On Where You Stand On Automation, Outsourcing, And Keeping It In-House
To create a smarter business, creating opportunities for improved efficiency and time management is crucial. This is where automation comes in handy. The benefits of business process automation include cost reduction, reduced human errors, and better resource allocation – and efficiency by extension. Recent studies by Redwood Software and Sapio Research indicate that 59 percent of business processes can be automated by 2022. However, this does not necessarily mean automation and outsourcing is the right fit for your business or certain business processes.
While the majority of UK businesses are automating key processes like process mining, conducting a company and efficiency audit is always recommended. Experts also recommend beginning with bespoke software if you are introducing automation. Examine where your business experiences backlogs or inefficiencies before deciding on whether to automate or outsource the business function. If there is a clearly defined process for the task and it is a repetitive one, then it may be a prime candidate for automation.
However, if there is an indication that the process may be better off in-house, then it may be time to consider expanding your team (or exploring freelancing) rather than outsourcing. Finally, smarter business management also includes looking at the financial impacts of your decision making, including the decision to expand, automate or outsource. At the end of the day, the financial implications of these business moves should be beneficial to achieving your business goals, such as an increased profit margin. Therefore, investing in an automated software that you will not use consistently and reap a good return on may seem good as a strategy, but it would be unwise financially.
Being smarter in business does not stem from just one action. It encompasses the continuous commitment to finding ways to improve the way your business operates. Whether it is improving the way you make decisions or investing in the technology to improve your operational speed, remember to tailor your approach to your business and its market. Understanding the way your business works is the first step to making smarter, more informed business decisions.
Since you’re here…
More than 30,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on PA Life. PA Life sits right at the heart of the PA and EA community, providing advice, profiles, How To guides, reviews and more.
We’d like you to be part of our community too and you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as two weekly round-ups of the top stories, you will also have access to our bi-monthly magazine.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter.