Business efficiency is the goal of most modern companies – the idea of producing the best possible product with the smallest outlay to drive the largest profit. However, while there’s nothing new about the idea of business efficiency, the range of tools and techniques now available in today’s modern tech-driven world is making the task considerably easier.
If your firm struggles with productivity and efficiency issues, below are some ideas you could employ to help streamline operations, gain a better return on investment (ROI), and reduce losses.
Step right back to the beginning and write a business plan
Regardless of whether you’ve been in business for many years or are just starting out, spending time creating a well-ordered, logical business plan can be a great way to focus the mind and identify goals or areas where you might be underperforming. After all, there’s little point in trying to address issues in your firm if you don’t first have a clear idea of where you want your company to be. Writing a clear business plan will help you understand where the initial ideas and enthusiasm you had when you first started might have gone astray.
Increase digitalization/automation and embrace new tech
Industry experts suggest we’re currently in the throes of the next great industrial revolution – Industry 4.0 as it’s been called – and firms that fail to adapt to the increase of tech in the workplace will only stagnate and most likely fail. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the ongoing demise of traditional high street retailers that ignored the incessant march of technology, resisted change, and failed to adapt to the growth of e-commerce.
These days there is a massive range of digital enhancements and services you could integrate into your firm that will improve your overall operations while also reducing costs and increasing output. Technology is transforming many business tasks that were previously completed manually, helping free up resources for more productive uses. Modern tech can be used for everything from automated marketing apps to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms and data analysis to monitor performance. Even jobs like payroll and accounts can now be handled by autonomous software.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is particularly effective at performing time-consuming, laborious tasks – just the kind of duties that so often end up a massive drain on firms. By integrating more tech into your company, you’ll reduce your workload, which will allow your staff to concentrate on more productive and, ultimately, more profitable duties.
If you don’t already have these skills in-house, consider hiring the expertise of a qualified specialist or even look at studying a data science master online program, so you have the skills in-house and on-tap 24/7.
Data analysis and automation are transforming the modern business landscape, allowing firms of all sizes in all sectors to compete on a level playing field – even against the largest global corporations. Ignore them at your peril. Even if you don’t think your company could particularly benefit from greater digital integration, you can be pretty sure your competitors will be looking at it (or may have already moved towards digitalization).
Get online, get social and build your digital profile
Technology has transformed many facets of modern business, but perhaps none more so than the ways firms can now promote themselves. The web has become the tool of choice for consumers looking to research and buy products, so it’s essential you have a strong digital profile, one that accurately reflects the aims of your firm, what you produce, and – crucially – what you can do for your clients (existing and potential).
Speak to any seasoned salesperson and they’ll confirm – features don’t sell, benefits do. With this in mind, make sure your website focuses on how your product or service can improve the lives of your clients – or, if you’re a B2B firm, how they can help the client’s company.
Also, if your website is more than five years old, you should perform a full site audit – or, better yet, hire the services of a professional firm to take an impartial view of how your site works and how it looks. Online trends and technologies change quickly and if your site is more than five years old (many experts would argue three years old), then it’s unlikely you’ll be taking advantage of modern coding and design techniques.
If it’s possible, you should also look at ways to sell online via e-commerce. The e-com model doesn’t suit all companies but, if you can, you should try to automate the buying and selling process with an e-commerce-enable site. E-commerce has now expanded into even high-value products like cars and jewelry and today’s modern shopper almost expects the option of purchasing online.
Lastly, don’t discount the power of social media in your overall promotional strategy. Popular social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have completely upended the marketing and advertising industry, allowing companies to reach out directly to clients and spread into new markets. While it’s true many bosses still take a rather derisory view of social sites, the potential of these platforms to connect with customers and spread your message is almost unrivaled – and all at the fraction of the cost of traditional marketing channels.
Think about investing in SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a highly detailed and involved process used to propel sites up the search engine rankings to gain more exposure under keywords and phrases likely to be used by your customers.
A successful web marketing and SEO campaign will see your firm jump up the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) instead of languishing in obscurity.
It’s estimated around 71% of all consumer journeys start with an online search, so you must ensure you appear high up the SERPs to have any chance of attracting new business. Perhaps equally as important, having a high listing in sites like Google also helps build your legitimacy and the trust clients will place in you and your products and services.