- Why is efficiency critical for small businesses?
- How does remote work boost efficiency?
- Why do you need on-demand spaces to maximize efficiency?
Q: How can a business improve efficiency?
A: Rental and lease costs are among the biggest financial liabilities for most businesses. An easy way to improve efficiency is to opt for a virtual office instead. With this system, you can choose a virtual office in any location while operating remotely.
Most entrepreneurs have no idea how inefficient their businesses really are.
Most employees are only truly productive for a few hours each day. A distracted employee takes a staggering 23 minutes to regain focus and return to productivity.
Sometimes, there are obvious lessons in the world of business efficiency. For example, automation and better technology almost always boost efficiency.
On the other hand, studies have revealed several surprising insights in this field. For example, a healthy diet can play a surprisingly integral role in helping workers become more efficient. Giving workers plenty of breaks and time to themselves tends to make them more efficient – not less.
And despite the “lazy millennial” stereotype, statistics show that the average American has become 253% more productive over the last few decades.
If you’re worried about business efficiency, it’s time to take a microscope to your company and figure out how you can improve.
Fortunately for you, we’re about to reveal some of the most important secrets for those on a quest for maximum efficiency.
- Why bother with business efficiency?
- How can remote work boost business efficiency?
- The role of on-demand spaces in efficient work environments
- Moving forward with business efficiency
Why Bother with Business Efficiency?
But why should you ever care? If your business is generating healthy profits, then you must be doing fine… right?
As the adage goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
While this mindset has some merit, you should always strive for your top potential. Don’t simply settle for “good enough.” Your business could be much more profitable if you simply take the time to review your weak spots.
Business efficiency is especially important for small businesses – even more so if you’re starting your first endeavor.
Small businesses – especially new ones – struggle to find a foothold in an increasingly competitive environment.
To remain competitive, these businesses need to increase their output while decreasing their input in the most effective way possible.
At the end of the day, the relationship between input and output is what efficiency is all about.
During those first few months, sales can be a little underwhelming. And if you’re unable to find a “quick fix” to increase sales, you can turn instead to business efficiency as you try to improve your operation.
- Input: This is what you’re putting into your business. Examples of input include raw materials, operating costs, employee salaries, and other resources.
- Output: This is what you’re getting out of your business. Output is represented by revenue or profit.
A business with high input and little output is said to be inefficient.
A business with low input and high output is said to be efficient.
Note that businesses can be generating millions of dollars in revenue while still being inefficient.
For example, a luxury jewelry company might earn $300 million per year in revenue – but if this revenue comes at the cost of $290 million worth of input, they are still extremely inefficient as a company.
Whether you’re running a small business or a massive enterprise, here are some actionable business efficiency tips:
Where You Can Improve Business Efficiency
Employee wages represent some of the biggest liabilities for businesses across the United States. Payroll can start to drag your business down – especially if your team isn’t being productive enough.
Take a close look at your employees and identify the least productive individuals. It’s a tough decision – but sometimes you have to put your business first and let people go. That being said, you should always retain your most talented individuals – even if your business is on the verge of bankruptcy.
Your best team members have the potential to save your business and push it towards higher levels of success.
Administrative tasks can quickly become far too tedious and time-consuming. Although many entrepreneurs completely overlook admin, these small details could prove to be your downfall if you’re not careful. There are many ways to make admin more efficient, including:
- Setting aside enough time for admin work
- Using HR software
- Break down large tasks into smaller, digestible chunks
- Delegate tasks efficiently
- Organize your digital workspace
- Focus on effective record keeping
In the modern age, there is no shortage of technological solutions that can boost business efficiency. From payroll and business efficiency software to virtual offices and live receptionists, technology can completely revolutionize almost every aspect of your operation.
The two most important things to focus on are automation and remote work. With these two technologies, you can eliminate office rent, employee wages, utilities, and much more – all while maintaining or even increasing the quality of the final product.
Inventory management is another important aspect of business efficiency. It’s all about balance.
On one hand, you need enough product ready to be distributed if needed. On the other hand, you should avoid having too much inventory, as this will lead to logistical issues and storage problems.
If you want to manage your inventory effectively, try these strategies:
- Make use of data analytics
- Use ERP software
- Use as much automation as possible
- Use planning tools to forecast supply and demand
- Make use of mobile technology
Customer experience is another area of your business that can start to drag down efficiency.
For example, a secretary is the face of your company as they greet people when they arrive at your office.
Today, these employees can be replaced with live receptionists – such as those offered by Alliance Virtual Offices. Instead of hiring a full-time employee, you can pay only a handful of dollars each month for someone who will answer your phone in a professional, friendly manner.
There are many other ways to improve customer service efficiency, so consider making this a priority.
It’s always a good idea to focus on communication if you’re serious about improving business efficiency. When team members cannot communicate, they end up making mistakes and getting in each other’s way.
For example, two team members might end up doing the same task due to miscommunication. Or even worse, a team member may not complete an important assignment because they were never informed about it.
The best communication is open, organic, and democratic. Your team should have the freedom to speak their mind and reach each other easily.
How Can Remote Work Boost Business Efficiency?
While all of the above areas are worth prioritizing if you’re serious about boosting business efficiency, there’s one specific area that can provide exceptional results:
As many businesses are slowly discovering, this “secret weapon” can reduce costs while improving efficiency to a tremendous degree.
But why is remote work so important for improving efficiency?
There are several benefits you should be aware of:
Eliminate the Commute
First of all, remote work allows you to eliminate the much-dreaded commute to an office.
Depending on where you live, a commute can take hours out of your day. These are hours you could be spending on optimizing your business and striving for higher levels of success.
Secondly, commutes cost money. With gas prices at their current level, even a 30-minute drive can start to affect your bank account.
While you might not think this is a big deal, your employees may be much less stable financially.
Finally, you need to consider the fact that a commute can cause considerable levels of stress – especially if there are constant traffic jams.
Stress can affect productivity and business efficiency.
Make Your Work Environment More Pleasant
Speaking of stress, one of the best ways to make your work experience more pleasant is to work from home. When you set up your home office and have access to a comfortable environment, it’s much easier to work effectively.
The same logic applies to your employees. Give them the chance to spend more time with their family and pets, and you might notice a considerable increase in their productivity levels.
The statistics support this notion, and most employees will be thankful for the opportunity to work from home.
Select the Best Talent
When you adopt a remote business model, you suddenly have access to a much larger pool of talent. Instead of simply hiring local people, you can work with talent from across the entire nation.
Having the freedom to pick and choose the best possible team helps you strive for maximum business efficiency.
This approach also allows you to hire freelancers rather than “employees.” This helps you reduce your obligations, including employers’ insurance.
In addition, you no longer need to worry about being sued for civil rights violations that may occur within a physical office.
Eliminate Unnecessary Employees
One of the most important benefits of a remote business is the ability to function at a high level with fewer employees.
Think of all the various employees that are necessary when you have a physical office:
- IT professionals
The list goes on. Additionally, many other professionals may be called to your office on an infrequent basis, including plumbers, electricians, landscapers, movers, and so on.
With a remote business, you can eliminate all of these costs and drastically improve efficiency.
Eliminate Expenses Associated with Physical Offices
Along with employee salaries, there are many other expenses associated with physical offices. The most obvious of these is the cost of renting or leasing the space.
Make no mistake, office space does not come cheap – and it can be difficult to turn a profit when you’re spending so much on rent each month.
The obvious solution is to work remotely and save all of this extra cash to reinvest back into your business.
This leftover capital can help with marketing, product development, branding, automation, and many other areas that can make your business even more efficient.
The Role of On-Demand Spaces in Efficient Work Environments
The truth is that remote work alone isn’t enough to maximize efficiency.
To make this strategy work, you need to take advantage of the right business tools.
These tools can help solve several common issues associated with remote work, including:
Lack of Physical Meeting Spaces
While a dedicated, full-time office space might be unnecessary, you will need somewhere to meet with clients, employees, investors, and leads from time to time. There’s just no avoiding the fact that sometimes, you can’t beat a face-to-face conversation.
Fortunately, service providers like Alliance Virtual Offices provide flexible, on-demand meeting rooms and workspaces that you can book anytime you like.
You only pay for these workspaces when you need them, so you still enjoy all the benefits of eliminating a traditional office space.
Alliance Virtual Offices’ flex spaces are available around the entire nation, and they offer a professional environment that reflects well on your business.
No Separation Between Work and Home Life
Another major challenge many remote workers face is a psychological one.
When you work from home, it can be difficult to separate your personal life from your career. This can lead to conflicts within your family, privacy concerns, and even security issues.
One of the best ways to create a clear barrier between work and life is to opt for a virtual address.
This allows you to have your mail sent to a secure, reliable service provider – such as Alliance Virtual Offices.
Once your mail arrives, it can be forwarded or stored for pickup. Because you’re officially registering your business at a virtual address, you can keep your personal address out of the public domain.
In addition, you can save your mailbox from being overwhelmed by business-related mail.
From a purely psychological perspective, registering your business at an address other than your home helps you separate your personal and work life.
Customer Service Challenges
Remote work can also cause issues with customer service. Ask any customer, and they’ll tell you that they prefer to interact with a real person when addressing their concerns.
This can be a bit of an issue when you’re trying to run a company with just a handful of employees. Sure – you can try a chatbot. But no one likes chatbots.
One of the best solutions is to sign up for a Live Receptionist offered by Alliance. This trained customer professional will answer your calls 24/7, and they can be instructed to provide specific information about your company.
This allows you and your team to focus on what matters most: Building your business.
Meanwhile, your Live Receptionist will take down information, forward messages, and provide plenty of information to customers without you having to lift a finger.
Moving Forward with Business Efficiency
At first glance, business efficiency might seem like a simple concept.
After all, it is simply a ratio of what you put in to your business and what you get out of your business.
But when you take a closer look, it’s clear that maximizing business efficiency can be much more challenging than you think.
There are several areas to consider when approaching business efficiency, from communication and admin to inventory and automation. You need to identify your weak areas and take necessary action to fix any issues.
Since each business is unique, internet research will only get you so far. The best efficiency strategy for your business depends on your specific circumstances.
That said, remote work is almost universally effective in improving efficiency for all businesses. By focusing on this specific element, you will experience genuine results.
But remote work isn’t a magic bullet that automatically improves efficiency. To make this work, you’ll need to take advantage of the many helpful tools and resources available to you.
Alliance Virtual Offices offers a host of services specifically geared towards remote businesses. These include:
- Virtual Addresses
- Meeting Rooms
- Live Receptionists
Check out Alliance Virtual Offices today if you’re serious about improving business efficiency, switching to remote work, and taking advantage of tools that streamline this transition.