Due in no small part to inflationary pressures, we all know that the cost of living has risen over the past year…
The RBA’s series of rate hikes are aimed at combating inflationary stress; However, many argue that rising rates actually increase the pressure on individuals and businesses by increasing borrowing and mortgage stress.
While we await the results of this rate hike to reduce inflation while maintaining viability, small business owners may need to think outside the box to maintain solid cash flow.
For the first part of our small business blog series on inflation, we look at how you can use efficiency tactics to ease the stress of rising rates and maintain a healthy balance sheet.
How can increased efficiency help with inflation and rising operating costs?
Increasing the efficiency of your business operations is a win in itself. In particular, if you find ways to automate the time-consuming but essential busy work, you will immediately start working more smoothly and your business will run more smoothly as a result…
Time is money… so cleaning up those extra wasted hours will help your business bottom line. In other words, you can spend more of your energy on profit-making activities, which boosts productivity and eliminates cash wastage.
“Profit is determined by productivity; with added value and efficiency and effectiveness”. –Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr., CEO of Mayflower-Plymouth
1) Re-evaluate your software choices and look for better automation
Now is a good time to sit down and review your software systems. It may be wise to do some diligent research and then shop around to see if you can find effective solutions that cost much less.
If you’re paying monthly for some of your small business software, rather than buying it outright, then you’re in the best position to easily switch to a competitor.
The SaaS market is a very competitive space, so there’s every chance that a new solution will emerge that provides better value than your existing options.
While you’re at it, there’s likely to be some improvement in whatever category of software you’re considering. Don’t just look for a cheaper alternative, look for a system that better automates tasks and delivers better results with fewer manual processes.
2) Automate and integrate your systems
Once you’ve found the best value and highest quality solutions for your small business needs – look at integrating and automating them into your workflows to increase your overall efficiency.
For example, if you run a business that uses a POS (point of sale) system, you can benefit from a large amount of integration. By connecting your POS with your accounting software, CRM, or inventory tracking, you can reduce a host of manual processes.
If you run an e-commerce store, you can also connect your platform to similar systems and make the entire sales and recording process almost completely offline.
3) Be brutal in streamlining your workflows
Every business will have a set of work processes that detail how things are done and in what order. The scope is wide and can mean anything from how you pay your staff or how you order and prepare food if you own a restaurant. It could be automating how you pay your invoices, or how you do your books.
All your business processes can be optimized for efficiency! So, take note of the work done by you and your staff and evaluate them regularly.
(It’s easy to quickly map these out by making a simple numbered list that organizes the events of your common workflows.)
Once you’ve identified your processes, review the new ones. How can you reduce the number of steps? Is there a better hardware or software solution? Can you make certain workflows cheaper or eliminate certain jobs entirely?
If you’re vigilant about adopting lean, fast, and automated workflows, you’ll save yourself a lot of wasted time and energy.
4) Take time management seriously
In order to free up more time to focus on sales and marketing activities, or other profitable tasks, be very strict about your time management.
You don’t have to block out the whole week, but try to plan your daily calendar of events and write them down in advance. By improving your time planning and prioritization, such as creating a content marketing calendar or setting regular times to do your books, you’ll free up a lot of wasted time inefficiently.