Running a small business is never easily achieved. There are so many moving parts to manage with limited employees to get all the work completed on time that it’s often tougher than it is for larger firms. This is because bigger companies can throw more people at any given problem and have larger budgets that they can leverage to different ends.
Accordingly, in this article, we focus on six tips to operate different aspects of a small business more efficiently to stay profitable in good times and leaner ones too.
Develop a Positive, Forward-thinking Workforce
Every employee is an important addition to a small firm. While this is true of all companies, it’s especially so for SMEs because a single mistake with one hire can have significant negative consequences. Either through a lack of productivity or bringing negativity into a shared working environment, the drag factor in a small office is not insignificant.
What smaller companies need is a positive workforce, people who are keen to push the company forward by providing better services to customers or innovative product ideas to assist the business in expanding beyond its current size. Actively develop this to maintain good morale.
Create a Multi-skilled Team
To avoid too large a payroll every month, it’s important to create a multi-skilled workforce where employees don’t religiously stick to their job description for dear life.
For instance, someone who works in a sales ledger clerk role can cross train as a purchase ledger clerk too. They might also dip their hand into payroll as well. Similarly, an employee who’s good at selling could track their sales digitally to avoid needing someone in administration to do this for them. This avoids sales data becoming backlogged and useless for the purpose of real-time reporting and analysis.
Business Insurance to Avoid Major Losses
Business insurance is critical for all businesses, but especially for SMEs.
For example, providing fleet insurance for a collection of company vehicles is important, not only due to the legal requirement but also because it reduces the likelihood of substantial monetary loss if one of your vehicles is involved in an accident.
Securing business fleet insurance quotes from Quotezone is easily done. Their platform gives you access to many fleet car insurance companies offering different policies. The policyholder can choose a policy that provides the right mix of coverage and appropriate clauses to protect their interests fully. Using a motor fleet insurance service like Quotezone is better than going direct to a single insurer because it enables SMEs to compare quotes from a wider range of providers.
Digitisation for Paperless Office Areas
Most companies have gone digital to some degree. They recognise the benefit of doing so and that it can be more cost-effective too. However, with a smaller company, there’s a need to fully embrace the concept and get past any hang-ups over using cloud services.
With the advent of cloud storage to provide periodic backup services for essential company servers and important files, an SME gets offsite backups at a low price. There’s no need to run DAT tapes overnight and store them off-site at considerable cost. Everything is far more time- and cost-efficient now.
Reviewing Tasks and Creating Standard Operating Procedures
It’s often the case that a manager doesn’t realise the procedures their staff still follow to this day. When reviewing them, they’re often surprised at the redundant steps in these procedures. By running through a review process, it’s possible to create a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that lays out what steps are still required to complete different tasks.
Using an SOP, new staff can get up to speed much faster and with fewer mistakes. Updating the SOP as required means it always stays relevant too. Using an optimised system like this puts small businesses ahead of the pack.
Automation is another useful way that small companies can do more with less. Arranging for automatic payments rather than having the purchase ledger clerk manually complete the task every month saves time. With ‘Pro’ versions of cloud-based backup solutions, backups get triggered automatically every night when the staff have gone home.
There’s a surprising number of tasks that can now be automated. It only requires research on the ways to do so. In the course of looking at tasks more closely, they can be simplified, reduced in frequency or skipped altogether. One of the greatest strengths of smaller companies is their ability to innovate and pivot more quickly. SMEs should take full advantage of being nimbler than huge multinational companies.
It’s tough for smaller UK companies to compete in national or international markets. By being more efficient, SMEs can move faster and succeed greatly when operating smartly.