ResultsIs your small business team, including you, as productive as it could be?  If it isn’t, wasting time may not be the culprit.  (See: Could you be wasting some of your valuable time?). Some of your operational or management practices may be the problem. Or maybe the technology you’re using needs an upgrade.

In the audio communications world we live in at Plantronics, we talk to many small business owners who report that they’ve achieved greater efficiency just by being able better manage calls coming in over their range of phones.  Blach Construction is a case in point. The company’s business development specialist found that our Savi wireless headset solution gave her hands-free connectivity to more efficiently manage calls whether they came in on her desk or mobile phone. Prior to using Savi, she had a headset for her desk phone but it didn’t work with her mobile so she was constantly switching headsets.

Even the quality of a call can enhance efficiency. San Francisco-based merchant bank Castle Crow & Company had old wired headsets that resulted in feedback, echo and dropped calls, which affected new business opportunities. They switched to Plantronics CS540 wireless headset, eliminating the quality problems and achieving 100 percent completion on outbound calls.

Communications is just one area to consider. Here are several others to review as you seek ways to improve your small business efficiency:

  • Remove layers of management: Too many cooks may not only spoil the cake; they can keep it from getting baked. Work gets delayed when it requires too many signoffs and decision makers. The key is to make sure everyone understands their job and what constitutes success; then empower them to succeed.
  • Assign work appropriately: The best way to sabotage productivity is to overload employees with so much work, they can’t get it done. Even if they manage to get through it, the quality will degrade undermining the efficiency of your organization. Assign your team members a manageable workload with agreed upon deliverables and timeframes and give them the flexibility to get it done where they choose – in the office, at home or at a local coffee shop.
  • Keep important records up to date: When you need information for reporting purposes, to answer a customer or client, or plan a promotion, you don’t want to waste time digging around in files online or off for information. Document and keep records up to date and in appropriate folders and files for easy access, such as in the cloud.
  • Formalize processes: Consider all the processes that your business uses. Standardize on those that make your operations run most smoothly whether it involves purchasing, hiring, and developing company marketing materials to ensure a consistent look and feel.
  • Make sure technology is reliable and secure: To begin with, don’t buy technology for technology’s sake. Make sure whatever you technology you deploy aids your team’s productivity and communication with each other and customers and gives you a competitive edge. Even when you make a decision, be sure whatever you buy is reliable and secure. There’s no efficiency gain if your IT department – in house or outsourced – is constantly dealing with down or compromised systems.

These are just some areas to think about as you consider how your small business works even more efficiently. What has been one of the most important changes you made to enhance your company’s efficiency and in turn, productivity?