Achieving efficiency is critical for small businesses to operate lean and be successful. Resources are valuable, and if wasted, it can cost your small business more money than you think. Five dollars here and five dollars there adds up, especially over time. Inefficiencies can result in more damages than just a loss of money. As you find ways to grow your business, it may be tempting to just find the easiest way to make things work rather than the most efficient way. However, sooner rather than later, you should evaluate how efficient your small business is. Whether you are just starting a business or have a well established small business, there are several free tools to help your small business achieve efficiency. Explore the list of tools below and try the tools you think your business will benefit the most from, you won’t regret it.
What are some benefits of running an efficient small business?
Inefficiencies can cause a domino effect of negative consequences. As your business grows, inefficiencies can eventually cause it to fail or impact profitability. While in pursuit of running an efficient business, you are likely to uncover several benefits as you make effective changes. The changes might not happen right away and they might not be so obvious you don’t have to look for them. Being aware of the benefits of efficiency can help you recognize these positive changes faster. Here are some benefits of running an efficient small business.. . .
#1. Being efficient can increase revenue
Each year businesses waste 20% to 30% of revenue on inefficiencies. Have you ever wondered what your company could do with an extra 20% of revenue? You can easily find out by refining processes to achieve efficiency. Keep in mind that efficiency is not just a result of finding the most efficient way to do things. Efficiency also stems from paying employees a living wage and producing quality products. Doing things the right way is a critical step toward achieving efficiency.
#2. Being efficient improves time management
In our professional and personal lives, time can be measured in terms of potential output, not just minutes and hours. For example, you may have one employee that can produce 10 reports in an hour constantly. While you may have another employee that can only produce 8 reports. One employee is more efficient than the other, thus improving their output. So why is one employee more efficient? Do you pay them more? Do they have a better manager? Or are they just simply a better worker? Determining what is influencing results can help your business be more efficient.
#3. Being efficient improves quality
Top Quality Management and Six Sigma provides methodologies that remind us that defects or missed quality benchmarks are a result of inefficiencies. If this is true, then improving efficiency should improve quality too. Inefficiencies may be in the form of disgruntled employees or old equipment. Oftentimes when business owners and managers evaluate efficiency they zone in on the actual process. However, when evaluating efficiency everything from equipment to employees to the environment should be evaluated. Increasing quality results can make a business more successful and efficient.
#4. Being efficient improves morale
As we mentioned earlier, inefficiencies can have a domino effect. As a result of inefficiencies employees may have a lack of trust. For example, when a company makes project announcements with no follow up or follow through, employees may develop a sense of doubt. Eventually this sense of doubt can turn into a lack of trust. If the employee feels that they can rely on what their employer tells them, they may be less motivated to perform. As a result, the employee may create inefficiencies. This is just one example of how inefficient can affect morale.
5 Free tools that can help your small business improve efficiency
Small businesses are often strapped for cash. The more free resources a small business takes advantage of, the better. From creating your own website to recruiting employees, there are several free tools available for small businesses. Whether you can afford to take risks or not, we encourage you to try some of the free tools listed below. Here are 5 free tools that can help your small business improve efficiency. . .
Creating a website that is user friendly can improve sales and efficiency. Whether you primarily sell products through online platforms such as Amazon or have a storefront, you should have a website. Websites can increase credibility and help drive traffic to your brand. Offering customers an efficient, quick, and to the point website can improve your overall brand. Wix offers businesses a platform to design and build high-quality websites. You can start by using the free plan and if it goes well, you can opt to use the Wix web hosting provider. At Wix, you can choose from over 500 professionally designed website templates.
Social media provides businesses with endless opportunities to connect with the community and boost brand awareness. It allows businesses to show off their personality as well as their products. However, hiring a professional to manage your social media account or finding time every day to log on and create content may be costly and or challenging. This is where HootSuite comes in. Hootsuite provides a user friendly and free dashboard that allows businesses to schedule social media posts. Now you can invest a few hours once a week or once a month to manage multiple social networks, schedule posts, and communicate with followers.
#3. Google Sheets or Google Docs
Staying up to date with the latest version of Excel and Microsoft Word can be costly. In addition, it may be inefficient to have to send out updated versions of documents. Once you start using Google Sheets and Google Docs, you will likely never use anything else. Google Docs and Google Sheets are free to use and can be shared and accessible by anyone with a Gmail account (which is also free). You and your team can view and edit documents together from remote locations. It doesn’t get much more efficient than that.
#4. Survey Monkey
Gathering feedback from customers can improve business efficiency and performance. Survey Monkey offers a free basic plan that allows businesses to create and send surveys with up to 10 questions. Under the free plan, you can view up to 40 responses per survey. If you want to view more you’ll need to upgrade. However, some feedback is better than none. Survey Monkey offers affordable plans for small and large businesses. If you are wondering if your customers are actually satisfied, uncover the true answer at Survey Monkey.
Effectively managing project and business ideas is critical for efficient operation. While Zoho has pay as you go plans, they also offer a free edition of their flagship CRM software. Zoho allows users to communicate and collaborate with customers, providers, and employees in regards to certain projects. This allows entrepreneurs to stay on track and execute ideas and projects. In addition, Zoho can backup information since it’s a cloud application. There are a variety of features that we encourage you to explore after you take advantage of Zoho’s free edition.
There is really only an upside to running an efficient business. While it may require serious focus and a time investment, improving efficiency should be at the center of your everyday practices. If you want to grow your business, efficiency is key. If you are a retailer, managing inventory efficiently will be critical. For small businesses that may be low on capitol, Kickfurther can provide affordable inventory financing. Kickfurther is the world’s first online inventory financing platform that enables companies to access funds that they are unable to acquire through traditional sources. We connect brands to a community of eager buyers who help fund the inventory on consignment and give brands the flexibility to pay that back as they receive cash from their sales. This alleviates the cash-flow pinch that lenders can cause without customized repayment schedules, allowing your brand to scale quickly without impeding your ability to maintain inventory or financial flexibility.