With so many moving parts to coordinate and finite resources and time, running a business can be quite exhausting and chaotic at times. Most, if not all, business owners understand that efficiency and effectiveness are the cornerstones of running a streamlined operation. However, given the complexity of running a company successfully, what tools and tactics should small business owners use to streamline their businesses?
Use MDM Software
Business experts tout data as the new oil of today’s digital economy. Like crude oil, raw data carries minimal intrinsic value and instead provides value when it is collected accurately, processed, and linked to other vital data in a timely fashion. In that sense, MDM is like an oil production plant that enables companies to make full use of their data by refining it to improve its quality, and consequently, its potential value. Some reasons to use master data management software include:
- Enhanced Data Quality
- Business Process Standardization
- Better decision making
- Less data duplication
- Supplier risk insights
Businesses of all backgrounds can enjoy the advantages of outsourcing. Handling everything in-house as a small business is very unsustainable, not to mention the opportunity cost of frequently pulling employees from their designated tasks to work on one-off projects.
Effective management calls for striking a balance between performing day-to-day tasks in-house and outsourcing one-off projects or assignments with high competency requirements. Notwithstanding the cost of hiring a contract worker, outsourcing allows small businesses to perform non-core (but critical) functions without sacrificing quality.
Automate Repetitive Tasks
Monotony is a slow killer – repeating the same menial tasks every day leaves little, if any, room for higher-value tasks that require more attention. Scaling any business requires plenty of attention to detail and business owners who find themselves repeating the same tasks every day should consider investing in automation tools. For instance, marketing automation software can bill emails and send reminders to customers without much human input, freeing up staff to work on more critical tasks.
Reduce the Paper Trail
Minimizing paper consumption is perhaps the quickest way a business can streamline its operations. Paperwork tends to pile up quickly, leaving the office space cluttered and adding unnecessary lead-time. Not to mention, using too much paper contradicts eco-friendly practices that focus on waste minimization and saving the planet.
By tracing their paper trails and reducing paper consumption, small businesses can enhance the workflow in their physical spaces, reduce lead times and instantly streamline their operations.
Specialization and division of labor are the cornerstones of coordinated company efforts. Ideally, employees should not be jacks-of-all-trades; however, a little cross-training and periodic skills assessment would not hurt.
Skills development is a vicious cycle of exploring each team member’s strengths and weaknesses and facilitating their development in the identified areas. Not only does it inspire employees to greater productivity, but skills development also allows employees to take on greater responsibilities, consequently freeing up time for the business owner through task delegation.
Keep Travel Time to a Minimum
Business trips are a necessary expense – some conversations and transactions can only happen face-to-face. However, small business owners need to draw the line between conversations that need in-person attendance and those that do not. Business trips can be costly and time-consuming, and any business hours spent out of the office require an equal, if not greater, compensation.
Any commitment to streamlining business operations is usually a step in the direction of long-term prosperity. Small business owners can free themselves and their staff to produce better results by enhancing their companies’ operational efficiency.