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StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article

Don’t Get Left In The Dust! How Inefficiency Can Cause Serious Problems For Your Business

When it comes to your business, there is one resource that is more valuable than any other. Many people will assume that this resource is money, and while that’s certainly a valid answer, it’s not quite the correct one. The single most valuable resource in your business is, in fact, time. This is because time is the only thing that, once you’ve spent it, you can never get it back. There’s no way to undo wasted time which means the most important thing for you to do is to make sure that you’re using your time as effectively as possible. However, many businesses end up falling into the trap of becoming incredibly inefficient simply because they don’t understand how to manage their time correctly. In order to prevent that from happening to you, here are some ways to make your business more efficient.

Planning and scheduling

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One of the most common mistakes that a lot of new business owners make is that they attempt to jump right into something without planning it carefully first. This desire is pretty sympathetic, after all, most people want to be doing something genuinely productive with their time. However, this actually ends up wasting more time because trying to play things by ear always leads to mistakes getting made and pointless threads being followed. The best thing that you can do is to take the time to plan out every move you make in regards to your business, both on a macro and micro level. Think about the overall trajectory of your business, think about the small, day-to-day interactions that you’re going to have. If you can plan everything down to the smallest detail, then you’re always going to be able to handle whatever new information is thrown at you.

Employee management

There’s no denying that your employees are one of the most important parts of your business as a whole. However, there are plenty of occasions where they can cause issues in terms of the efficiency of your business. For one thing, you want to make sure that you’re bringing in the right people who will always try to push your business forward. Similarly, the use of workforce management software can be incredibly valuable. It allows you to monitor when employees are clocking in and out as well as managing everything from paid leave to payroll.

Delegation

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One of the most common reasons that a lot of smaller businesses end up failing is that the business owner simply attempts to take on too much at once. Because of the level of personal investment, you have in your business, handing over parts of it to other people can be difficult. However, trying to handle everything yourself if not only going to be dangerous for your personal health but is also going to cause serious problems for your business. By delegating tasks to managers and supervisors, you’re able to ensure that each and every aspect of your business gets the attention and care that it requires, rather than attempting to spread yourself so thin that nothing really gets done.

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article

Cut Your Expenses Without Cutting Quality

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article
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So hey, here’s a shocking newsflash for you: starting and running a business is expensive. And if your expenses aren’t being eclipsed by your profits, then your business isn’t going to last very long at all. This is why you need to ensure you’re not making mistakes when it comes to those expenses. Here are some of the smart ways that new business owners can start cutting expenses – without cutting quality.

First up: keep track of your business expenses!

You’re definitely going to have a hard time cutting your business expenses if you can barely remember how much you’re actually spending! Gathering the required data is the first step to improving many areas of business, and finances are definitely no exception.

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The mistake that a lot of new business owners make is that they underestimate the importance of all this. That, or they assume they can keep track of expenses – or do all the bookkeeping – by themselves. But when your business starts taking off a little and starts buying assets and making deals, then those costs are going to get a lot more difficult to track, and very quickly.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to do all of this without an accountant. Work with them to track your expenses in as detailed a way as possible. Only then will you know what areas are costing the most money and where you can start making some cuts.

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Telecommuting is the way

There are loads of benefits to having your employees physically there in the office with you, no doubt. But when you that’s a requirement to run your business with the model you’ve chosen to use, then you have to introduce so many expenses.

The costs of running a business are often so high because you have to account for all those employees! The biggest expense in this area, of course, is the total cost of labour in the form of employee salaries. But there are loads of other costs to consider. For one, you need to ensure that you have an office big enough to house the employees. You also need to consider utilities – electricity and water usage.

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article
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There are also problems of time. How many times have you seen employees – or even yourself! – show up late due to commuting problems? And time is money, after all. The key could be to have workers telecommute, i.e. work from home. This is easier than ever with cloud computing and portable technology. Telecommuting has also been found in many studies to increase productivity – which means that you’re getting more bang for your buck when it comes to paying those salaries!

Proper inventory and supply management

Your business is going to have to buy a lot of things. If you’re an office, then you’ll have to buy loads of stationery, furniture, food, all that sort of stuff. If you’re in construction, then you’ll need to acquire equipment and permits. Regardless of your specific field, there are always going to be things you need to bring into the business.

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article
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All of these things need to be sourced, investigated, and purchased (sometimes via auction!) at the best possible price. You need to ensure that you get the most quality from the inventory and supplies that you’re procuring. Tracking orders, shipments, and invoices is also required. If all of this is done wrong, it can get very expensive – and without the quality to support how much you ended up purchasing.

Mistakes in this area will cost your business a lot. Even the smaller mistakes eventually build up over time and reveal themselves to cost a lot in total over the course of a year or so. When business owners are having a hard time finding out precisely where they’re losing money, the fault is often found in bad supply management. This is why you should put a focus on find a supply (or procurement) manager that is highly experienced. Companies like Portfolio procurement can help you find who you’re looking for.

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Hiring the right people

If an employee isn’t very productive or simply isn’t very good at their job, then you’re losing money. A lot of business owners don’t see it this way, even though they’re not happy with the situation. They don’t think of employees in terms of an investment, or an asset.

To some extent, maybe we can be thankful for that. It’s nice to be seen as, y’know, a human being instead of an asset or an investment! Still, this is the world of business and finance, and sometimes you need to abstract the human element to gauge just how well something is working. And if an employee simply isn’t doing their job all that well, then you’re not really getting what you paid for, right?

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One of the ways this can be tackled is by improving training when new employees begin. But a lot of business owners prefer non-formal methods of training; being guided by a fellow employee, for example. And if you do currently have employees that aren’t pulling their weight, then you need to have a word with them about their performance. The better the feedback you give, the more the employee will take on board. Hopefully, this will result in much stronger performance in future!

But perhaps the best way to ensure that costs are saved to the greatest extent is to hire the right people in the first place. You may wonder how such a thing is possible – can’t you only really tell how well someone will work once they’re on the job? The problem here is that business owners aren’t always as discerning as they should be. Especially if they’ve set themselves a date by which they need to have an employee.

Unless things are extremely urgent, you should be willing to take your time. Don’t fill that vacancy until you’ve found the best damn employee you possibly can. This can sometimes cost more when it comes to actual search methods, and you may feel that the empty position is, in itself, a loss of potential earnings. But in the long run, the expenses connected to that employee will seem better spent – and will really be worth it. This is one of the most underrated methods of reducing business expenses – by hiring the right people to boost your profits!

StrategyDriven Business Performance Assessment Program Best Practice Article

Business Performance Assessment Program Best Practice 15 – Large Group Closeout Briefings

StrategyDriven Business Performance Assessment Program Best Practice ArticleAn effective business performance assessment program does more than simply identify performance improvement opportunities. Highly effective programs reinforce management's commitment to and fosters a culture of continuous performance improvement among all organizational members.


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StrategyDriven Management Observation Program Best Practice Article

Management Observation Program Best Practice 16 – Don’t Tolerate Substandard Observations

StrategyDriven Management Observation Program Best Practice ArticlePeople, processes, and technologies are not perfect. And if they were, you’d still have something to write about.


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William Dann

Middle Management – The Leverage Point for Performance Improvement

Over 30 years of management consulting has made clear that the locus for a breakdown in performance improvement lies in middle management. Organizations focus on building executive teams with mixed records of success. First-line working groups tend to naturally coalesce as teams as they are doing the same work, share the same view of the organization, their customers, etc. But, the middle is often a desert between these two groups.

Middle managers oversee several functions which do not naturally come together as a team as is the case with front line groups. They are often not in the know and lack consultation regarding strategy by the executive team, so there is no shared reality there either.


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About the Author

William DannWilliam Dann is founder and president of Professional Growth Systems, LLC, (Anchorage, AK) and author of Creating High Performers: 7 Questions to Ask Your Direct Reports.

For more information visit ProfessionalGrowthSystems.com.