You’re burning the midnight oil and sipping your first coffee with the sunrise, and in between dreaming about that new office suite.
You have a game plan to grow your business and you’re working nonstop to make good on your promises.
But the work never stops.
You can’t focus on the more important aspects of your business because you’re constantly bogged down in mundane tasks just to keep it running. Fortunately, there’s a better way.
Streamlining your business takes all the headache out of the day-to-day operations of managing your business so you can work on your business.
Plus, automating certain procedures helps your company become more cost-effective.
When there’s only one way of doing something, you’ll find less confusion, fewer mistakes, and almost zero delays in getting the work done.
So stick with us today as we cover seven of the most effective ways to streamline your business.
Follow through on these tips and you’ll have more time to work on what really matters. And maybe sleep for more than three hours (no promises).
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1. Consolidate All Your Information in One Place
Social media stats on multiple sites, website analytics in another, financial records somewhere else—it’s hard to grasp the big picture of your business when your data is scattered like a trail of breadcrumbs across the internet.
Instead of logging in and out of all your different sites to monitor your numbers, consider using an all-in-one business dashboard to track all your metrics in one secure place.
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Companies crushing this space include:
Taking advantage of software like this will give you individual dashboards in your command center to monitor everything from your social media and marketing efforts to your sales, IT, and financial stats.
Centralize your business metrics and you’ll save countless hours clicking around and compiling this intel on your own.
2. Get Your Team on the Same Page
Just like it can be frustrating tracking down your facts and figures, staying in communication with your employees can also turn into a super time-waster.
One employee prefers text messages, another’s constantly emailing to stay in the loop, and your devices are buzzing with notifications from 15 different messaging apps.
Simplify the lines of communication by adopting one form of maintaining contact.
With so many different apps and messaging services, touching base with your teammates has never been easier, whether you have remote employees or an in-house crew.
Using a communication tool will also cut down on the amount of emails, text messages, and other notifications you receive (#win).
Consider distractions a hassle of the past when you get everyone on board with one of these services:
Bonus: You can also share files, collaborate, and archive all communication for referencing with these services.
3. Set Up Standard Processes and Make then Accessible
You and your business follow certain procedures every day, whether you’re paying attention to your routine or not.
It may be a specific ritual you perform before you start your sales calls or the exact steps you take to ensure an invoice gets paid—we’re creatures of habit who do well with structure.
So set yourself (and your team) up with concrete processes and make them readily available when anyone needs them.
For example, let’s say you figured out a way to conduct market research without wasting half the day.
Instead of keeping that process all to yourself, create a document outlining your steps and upload it to your shared folder. It also helps to create templates to save yourself hours of repetitive work (think: standard email responses for new leads).
Manage your processes by enlisting the help of online project management software and apps designed to give your team a visual list of tasks to be accomplished, such as:
You can task other employees with these projects and rest assured knowing they’ll be done to your liking, as long as employees follow your procedure.
Outlining processes like this also cuts down on questions, hesitation, and unproductive time figuring out the best course of action. Instead of scratching your head wondering what to do, you’ll have all the steps outlined so you can take charge.
Block out one day a month to work on establishing your businesses’ core processes, or those you handle on a regular basis.
As your business grows, update these processes to run at optimal efficiency and discard unnecessary steps you’ve evolved from.
4. Automate Workflows with Web Automation
Web automation services connect all of your most-used apps so you can create workflows based on specific triggering events.
I.e., “When this happens in app A, I want this other action to happen in app B.”
Common automatic workflows for business owners include:
- Saving Gmail attachments directly to Dropbox
- Archiving @mentions from Twitter to a Google spreadsheet
- Syncing starred emails to Evernote
The beauty of these services is that they’re totally customizable and geared to save you time and money.
Spend time researching the functions of these top workflow automation companies to see what they may offer your business:
5. Talk About What’s Not Working
While all these processes should help your business increase efficiency, you’ll need to take a step back and evaluate what’s truly working.
Get into the habit of objectively auditing your procedures every month.
Find out what’s helping, what needs tweaking, and what should be scrapped entirely.
You can opt to hire an outside consulting agency, but oftentimes you’ll glean more useful feedback from your employees in the trenches.
Your teammates know exactly what slows them down and may even offer up solutions to increase productivity using programs you may not be aware of.
The faster you adopt more efficient procedures, the more you’ll get out of your employees.
6. Stop Multitasking and Start Monotasking
Even though you may feel more productive knocking out several of your to-do list tasks at the same time, research shows that multitasking is not only terrible for your productivity, it may even negatively impact your brain in the long run.
One study found that participants distracted for less than three seconds doubled the number of errors they made during an assigned task; those with interruptions averaging four seconds tripled their mistakes.
Multitasking causes us to perform at a much lower cognitive level because we’re less concentrated on the task at hand.
This costs companies up to 40% in lost productivity from their employees—or almost 16 hours a week!
So to streamline your workload, learn how to focus on one task (and coax your work crew to do the same).
As Cal Newport, author and professor at Georgetown University, told Fast Company:
“High-quality work produced is a function of two things—the amount of time you spend on the work and the intensity of your focus during this time. If you can increase your focus, you’ll get more done in less time.”
Set specific goals to complete one task at a time—uninterrupted—before moving on to others (like checking your emails or Twitter feed).
7. Consider Outsourcing Tasks
Outsourcing helps your business cut costs while giving you access to experienced talent from all over the world.
The key to outsourcing is knowing when to let go of certain jobs to outside agents and when to keep these tasks in-house.
Generally, time-consuming tasks like accounting, payroll, and IT services can be outsourced to free up your time so you can work on more profitable areas of your business.
Similarly, if you’re looking for highly-specialized talent—like a graphic designer or content writer—it may be more affordable to hire them occasionally for projects instead of keeping them on your payroll.
As Benji Hyam, cofounder of Grow and Convert and Wordable, was quoted:
“There isn’t time to learn how to be an expert in every area of the business. Play to your strengths and specialize in one to two areas that you can do better than anyone else – then offload the things you aren’t good at to fill your gaps.”
Get Your Business Lean and Streamlined
You’ll need to let go of these draining tasks for your business to grow.
When you automate routine chores and establish procedures for your employees to follow, your business will run like a well-oiled machine.
You and your team will be more efficient, more productive, and generate higher profits.
And then you’ll need to expand to hassle-free office spaces to grow your business to the next level.
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