When it comes to running a small to medium-sized business, the dream is often to become so busy, you can barely keep up with the demand. This is, after all, the aim of starting any new venture. To be in demand is to be successful, so many of us will look at the stress and strain we are under and put it down to the fact that things are going in the right direction.
This may be true, but running a business when you barely have time to blink isn’t a sustainable way to work, and sooner or later you will crumble under the strain. Looking for the solution to becoming a victim of your own success? Streamlining, and automation.
How Streamlining Business Can Improve Company Efficiency
In this article, I’m going to tell you how streamlining or automating business processes can improve your company efficiency without needing to give it that much of time.
Let’s see how streamlining or automation can help your business for long run:
#1. Secured Software With Latest Patches
If your company has expanded to the point where you have multiple employees, perhaps in different locations, keeping their devices up to date and secure isn’t just preferable, it is extremely important.
If your accounts manager is running an old version of their web browser or hasn’t updated their OS security software in months, you can find yourself in a serious situation when it comes to viruses, keyloggers, or ransomware.
If this situation happens to you, it can cripple a company financially and take the focus away from running the business while you scramble to fix the mess. A simple way to avoid this is to automate your software patching throughout the company.
When your company isn’t completely staffed by tech-savvy employees, having a centralized system in place for software patching and security is a no-brainer. Rather than having your staff deal with their own security issues, automate it, and let them get on with the job they were hired for.
#2. Communication, All in One Place
When it comes to internal communication, there are plenty of companies out there that have no set structure at all.
Some team members use email as their primary means of communications, others may use chat clients such as Skype, or even their own personal WhatsApp groups to keep in touch while working away from the office. The problem with this fractured way of working is that information is spread across multiple platforms with little to no way of knowing where certain information is.
Having a centralized place where all work-based conversation is kept not only makes it easier to find information when you need it, but it also allows you to see what all members of your team are up to at any given point.
If you have ever been in a discussion with a colleague, only to spend the next half an hour scouring all the different communication channels to find the spreadsheet that you were talking about, then a centralized communication tool should be on your radar. With plenty of options, from Slack to Microsoft Teams, the chances are you will find an internal communication service to suit your particular set of needs.
Both of the aforementioned services allow you to set certain ‘channels’ for certain topics, so each of your departments can chat away happily in their own channel while dipping into others from time to time. This allows everyone in the team to see how the company is performing, who is working on what project, and most importantly, the built-in search functionality means that the spreadsheet that you are looking for is never more than a few clicks away.
Integration with other services such as Dropbox or Appear.in allow you to keep work-based chat centralized, without being draconian and blocking the use of other apps. Centralize your communication, and see how much easier it is to find the information you need. But keep in mind, if you choose to use a service such as Dropbox, make sure to follow best practices when it comes to keeping your files and folders encrypted to prevent malicious hackers from meddling with your data.
#3. Recurring or Boring Tasks? Automate!
If you are finding that a decent chunk of your time in the office is taken up with mundane, repeated, everyday tasks, then it could be time to look into automating more facets of your business.
Tasks such as booking staff holiday, repurchasing stock or components, and filing your accounts are all areas that tend to start on a sheet of paper, migrate onto a spreadsheet, and then fester there until they become too much of a problem to ignore. If this sounds familiar, it may be time to look into some services that will save you time and money.
Not only will these processes make your life easier, the chances are your employees will see these benefits too. If the options for requesting vacation times are either sticking a note on the HR desk, or using an automated app that shows what days have already been taken by other members of the team, then there can only be one winner.
Equally, if you are still printing and sending your invoices manually, then apps such as QuickBooks, Xero, or the plethora of other accounting apps out there, can take the hassle away from getting paid by your clients in a few clicks on mouse.
So, if you find yourself struggling to keep your head above the water when it comes to your working life, it can pay to look into different ways that technology can help you.
Automation and streamlining are the two biggest areas that can help make your workload more bearable, and let you get on with running your business. Let the experts do the rest.