If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for a way to make your business more efficient. I speak with small and medium business owners on a daily basis, and I find it’s something even the best companies can improve on.
Efficiency, however, is a broad term that could mean a lot of things. But what it really boils down to is one question: How can my company make the biggest profit in the smallest amount of time? Here's our top tips for making your business more efficient.
1. Figure out how much money you’re throwing away, then find a way to reduce it
How often do you lose money because of simple mistakes, like making a delivery to the wrong address? How often are you penalised for arriving late? Even if you accept a certain amount of waste as being inevitable, the fact is that these things add up over the year, potentially taking a large chunk out of your profits.
2. Use your time more effectively
In a nutshell, time is money – or the potential for money. The more time you waste on inefficient activities, the less free time you have to spend doing productive activities that will help your business grow.
Michael Gerber, in his world-famous book ‘The E-myth revisited – Why most small businesses fail and what to do about it', stresses that one of the reasons businesses fail is that the owners spend too much time on day-to-day tasks. So if you are a small business owner, it’s vitally important to spend enough time steering your ship in the right direction.
One of the most common ways our clients improve their time efficiency is by using Okappy job management features. Because Okappy gives you automatic notifications whenever a job is added by a customer, or whenever the job status is updated by an employee, you spend less time chasing jobs up. In addition, you’ll spend less time filling out and duplicating job sheets, as all data is managed and sent to staff electronically. Okappy even generates invoices for you, saving yet more time.
3. Help your employees do their jobs better
This one is particularly important if your employees are out in the field. If you can’t assign jobs to staff and relay information to them easily, they will miss out on opportunities to finish jobs quickly. This could result in you taking on fewer jobs overall, meaning you’ll make less profit.
This is another reason that a mobile-based job system like Okappy is so useful. As soon as a job is entered into your system by you or a customer, it can then be assigned to an employee, who receives an instant notification on their mobile device. Additionally, you can simply communicate via Okappy's messaging system. It’s a lot easier than trying to get busy workers on the phone.
4. Ask your employees how you can improve
Have you ever been working for a company and thought “our company could save so much money if our managers only asked us for input”?
The fact is, a lot of companies just never think of asking low-level employees for help. Your employees do the same job every single day, so there’s a chance they know their corner of the business better than you do. Why not ask them if they have any ideas on how you could save money or improve your service?
5. Don’t give your customers a reason to go elsewhere
It may not always be possible to give a flawless service to your customers, but at the very least, you should make sure that you are doing a better job than your competitors. Even if you feel you’re already doing this, it’s worth asking yourself a couple of times a year, “if a competing company opened tomorrow, would I have any reason to be worried?”
One of the best ways to retain your regular orders is through giving good customer service. If you don’t, it could cost you – a 2014 study showed that UK businesses lose £12billion a year through poor customer service.
While we don’t want to overdo the self-promotion, this is another area where Okappy can help. Because your employees can update job statuses from their mobiles, it means that when customers call for updates, you’ll always have up-to-date information for them. Okappy also warns you if a job hasn’t been picked up or is running late, so you can correct the problem sooner.
Find out more about how Okappy's job management software can help your business.
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