smb-tech-trendsAre you and your team burning the midnight oil at your small business? If they are, is it because things are busy or because operations are just not as efficient as they could be? Getting the most out of your resources is important to any organization but even more important to a small business. With more limitations on staff, budget and outside services, you need to make sure you are running as efficiently as possible to remain competitive.

With the year drawing to close, now can be a good time to review your operations to make sure you are maximizing performance to take your business where you want to go in the New Year.  Here are some ways to help you run your small business more efficiently:

Cut down on meetings: Consider reducing the number of meetings you have and try to accomplish more in the ones you do. Get better input at your meetings by preparing your team in advance with information to help decision making.  Also consider if you are spending too much time out of the office meeting with customers or clients for issues you can just as easily address in a conference call or video conference to cut meeting time and travel.

Stop checking email: Checking email can become a time sink and keep you from doing more important things. Time management experts offer a range of suggestions on how often you should check your email throughout the day. Four to five times seems about right but never first thing in the morning – it can throw you off from what you need to do. Work on something more critical when you first get going in the morning and then at least 30 to 45 minutes into the day, check email.

Outsource: You may already be outsourcing your information technology to a consultant. Think about other operational functions you could outsource to free up your time and save you money in the long run. Human resources and accounting are two areas to consider along with marketing.

Plantronics smarter working small groupMaximize your workspace: Are printers and copiers convenient to most of your team so they don’t have to spend a lot of time walking back and forth from their desks? You also foster collaboration by providing your team with areas where they can easily meet to share ideas and brainstorm, such as in our Plantronics Smarter Working environment at headquarters in Santa Cruz.

Provide cross training: Cross training your team to handle more than one job function can be a real boost to efficiency. If someone is out sick or on vacation certain operations won’t slow down or come to a halt in their absence. You also won’t need to bring on additional help or take on the work yourself.

Leverage technology: Today’s technology – cloud computing, unified communications, mobile devices and more — makes it possible to stay connected to your team, customers, suppliers and partners and your company’s information wherever you are. Also the use of wired headsets can help boost efficiency enabling employees to be hands free while on a call to check something on the computer. Wireless headsets give employees even more freedom to continue a call while they walk across the office to retrieve a document or walk to another office to check on something with a colleague.

What would you add to this list to make your small business more efficient?