Streamlining can feel like a dream-something lofty you need to do, but can’t afford the time or money. You may feel at a loss due to lack of knowledge on where to start, lack of funds, lack of time. All of these could lead to not wanting to take a necessary step toward helping your business succeed, and becoming more efficient. All small business owners need is JUST ONE MORE ASAP PROJECT.
Case study: Applying Time Vs. Money to Your Business Operations
Problem: A client I’ve worked with in the past had an old cash register and an old punch card (clock in and out) system. Their cash register broke and they wanted to save money by not buying a new up to date system because the other one “got the job done,” and was cheaper. Separately, running the punch card system “the cheap way” required family members to take one night a month, with an “all hands on deck” approach to help them manually count and add up the time. They would utilize as many as 6 family members, calculators, pencils, paper, and work until all of the employees’ hours were tabulated. The next day the owners would have the checks ready for the employees.
Solution: I encouraged them to make the necessary time and monetary commitment by recommending a new electronic register system with an app that would allow their employees to clock in, out, and automatically tabulate, etc. It did take initial time to set up and cost money upfront, but it ended up saving countless hours, money, headache, and family issues in the long run.
When you are truly committed to moving your business to the next level of success, there are a few areas to strategize your resources, Time & Money Savers, Work Flow Automation, and Financial Analysis. We’ve listed the best places to start in each of those areas. It’s important to not become overwhelmed, but remember that an organized plan, taking into accountability, available resources, time and money available for these projects is going to give the largest amount of success without a huge amount of headaches. “Going For The Gold” only works if you have a steady, plan on getting there.
Top 5 Time & Money Savers for Small Businesses
- Timecard/Invoicing systems
- Calendar/appointment programs
- Electronic shared documents/files
- Customer Resource Management Systems
- Automated Social Media Schedulers
Workflow Automation – many times we get busy in the thick of the business that we don’t take time to step back and see how things can be improved. Consultants are great because they have an outside perspective, have experience in seeing successes and failures with other businesses, and can see processes in a different way than the business owner who is too busy to change things.
- Redundant tasks-why do we do it that way? Because it always has been done that way.–not good enough. Anytime the task is done over and over, there could be a techno-injected or new process invented to make them more efficient.
- Underperforming Employees-Uncle Joe needs a job but he also needs to follow the process manually in order to keep his job
- Team meetings– The well-honed team needs to continuously hear about the issues of the company, the Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals of the company, hear about changes in policy/procedure, and voice new ideas that can innovate.
Financial Analysis-keeping thorough books seems ridiculous on top of everything else a business owner needs to do to keep up. The best way to maintain your edge is to:
- Create realistic budgets for Marketing, Technology, and Product-and then revisit progress monthly
- Perform Financial Forecasts in Nov/Dec
- Perform Financial Performance review yearly Dec-Analyze where funds went and how effectively they were utilized
A business that is able to look at Time & Money savers, Workflow Automation, and Financial Analysis yearly will be able to catch many of the issues before they become large issues. They will also be able to save time and money while having time for what they love. Switching to fitting this type of strategy into what your business is already doing is painful at first, but when your business utilizes consultants, financial planners, and technology experts, the work can be done relatively fast. Slow going piece-meal on a few of these projects as the company has time and money is a great way to build a strong company a little more affordable, which is where a coach is handy.