By Dennis Hung

It may be that time of the year where you perform quarterly reviews and discover that your business is lagging behind what it was the quarter before. What’s worse is that the lag may have been incremental over the past few years for some time. While it may not have been that worrisome at first, the lag has now snowballed and become an amount that is beginning to become worrisome. While you’ve made adjustments here and there, you may not be sure exactly what you need to do in order to get your business running efficiently again.

Efficiency is what makes a business profitable. If there are starts and stops or lags, then those are moments where you’re not making money. Too many of those moments can cost you money instead. To help you fine-tune your business model and have things running smoothly and efficiently once more, here are five tips that you may want to consider.

1. Go Through Employees Productivity

While this may seem like it might take a long time, especially if you have a lot of employees, one of the prime areas of inefficiency is your human labor. Take a moment to go through the human resource record and determine if there are any problems among your employees. Workplace conflicts can sometimes involve more than just two people. An entire office can lose productivity because of a tense work environment. If there are any issues that have been reported, you can take it upon yourself to fix the problems. Sometimes the employees just need to be sat down and talked to. In more dire circumstances, you may need to end up firing one. Workplace conflicts, however, aren’t agreeable to an efficient business, so you should be sure to stay on top of them at all times.

Another aspect of employee productivity is just their overall productivity. Are they getting the work out in a timely manner? Sure, everyone has off-days, but do you notice an employee who seems to have more off-days than good days? They could have something going on at home, or they may just not be motivated to perform well. Again, you can usually fix this by sitting down with the employee and discovering the reason behind their lack of productivity. It may be an issue they’re dealing with at home, or they may just feel like they lack the proper training for the job given to them. For the latter, you can give them a few more training sessions, and you might find that they become your most productive employee yet. Or perhaps they need a position elsewhere.

By keeping your employees motivated and promoting a fun and supportive workplace, you can push your employees to maintain a certain level of productivity. With them motivated and happy at work, you should be able to eliminate any lag you notice in the employment category.

2. Use The Power Of The Internet

The Internet has become such an expansive tool for business owners, that if you’re not utilizing it properly, then you’re missing out on a lot. Social media, especially, has become an excellent point for businesses to make connections with their customers. Whether you have a local business or a global one, you can still reach out to your customers and forge a close-knit relationship that will keep them coming to your business for years to come. It can also save you a bit on the marketing department. While you should certainly still use your marketing department in other aspects, having someone take care of the social media posts could potentially save your company from having to make another expensive commercial instead.

For businesses that offer a service, this direct conversation with their customers can allow them to receive authentic feedback as to any lags that the customer, themselves, are noticing. There may be a problem on their website that their software team is unaware of at the moment. That problem may be large enough to keep customers from being able to make purchases or schedule appointments. That’s a lot of money that they’re potentially losing. Having customers able to utilize social media–and have a team ready to respond on social media–businesses can become immediately aware of any problems in the functionality of their business. Never underestimate social media power.

3. Outsourcing Intelligently

The word outsourcing has been given a bad rap. Sure, some companies tend to outsource too much. However, those that do so intelligently can actually make their business run efficiently all while not alienating their customers and employees. The method to do this is to only outsource the non-core activities of your business. There are other businesses out there that can take care of things like payroll, accounting, human resource management and such. Except that they do it a lot better and cheaper because that’s their specialty.

It also frees you up to focus on the core activities that do make up your business. With a bit more of money opened up from saving on outsourcing, you can put that money towards innovation, marketing, basically, any aspect of your business that you feel could use a bit of a boost. More importantly, since someone else is taking care of those non-core activities for you, your own attention can be spent exactly where it belongs–on your business. You should see a quick boost in your business’s efficiency and productivity.

4. Automate

While some people may be a little leery about automating their businesses, those businesses are likely also incredibly inefficient. It’s no secret how much technology has helped to improve businesses. You should continue to incorporate technology into your business. Automation doesn’t always mean replacing your employees with software or robots either. For one, you’re going to need someone on hand who can monitor the software or robots, so you can actually create a new field of jobs that negates the loss of jobs. More importantly, you can use software, specifically, to help improve efficiency. This can be done as simply as allowing software to look at your business plan, expenditures, and productivity levels, and allowing it to devise a plan of action to take your business down that efficient route.

In addition, you can use software to host meetings. A lot of money can be spent on having to travel to meetings. No more. With so many programs out there now that offer smooth and powerful meetings, you can sit right in your own office and meet with your partners. Not only does this cost significantly less money, but it also saves up on time. By removing that travel time, you can instead focus it elsewhere on your business.

5. Make Communication Easy

Another aspect of inefficiency is a miscommunication or a lack of communication. Sometimes this can be easily solved with a meeting, but those meetings can be difficult to schedule or they can just end up wasting time. After all, do you really need a meeting when you could have just left a memo? Or if you just needed to speak to one person? Emails can be used, certainly, but even then they may not be clear. Or, if the two individuals are busy, they may not be able to reply to any questions the recipient had.

As such, smooth-lining communication is key. With all of the technology available, there’s no excuse for not streamlining communication. Whether you want to have an easy face-to-face conversation via webcam, or just utilize a fast-paced chat system software, you can make sure that your employees know what you need to them know from the get-go. Confusion can be sidestepped and your employees can get to work and improve the business’ productivity. More importantly, fewer meetings mean less time wasted.

At Your Fingertips

With the scope of technology and resources at hand, the scope of productivity and efficiency is at your fingertips. By implementing some of these tips, you can improve the efficiency of your business and see a rise in overall productivity and profits.

Dennis Hung is a writer of all things business. He’s an expert in sales planning, strategy, pricing, and product Marketing. He has extensive knowledge in organic-only SEO, social media marketing, lead generation, and management consulting. As well he has administrative experience training in call centers and personal sales teams.

Business stock photo by Anait/Shutterstock