There’s always room for improvement in business. Honing efficiency is critical to growth, and growth is critical to success. Even if you think your operation is at the top of its game, there are always things that can be made better and practices that can be perfected to keep moving forward. Here are six smart and tech-savvy ways that you can make your business more efficient in the new year.
1. Modernize Your Organizational Practices
Many businesses are hamstrung by their own reliance on outdated internal record-keeping and communication systems. Keeping hardcopies of important documents is good practice, but in the 21st century, your filing system should be more than a clunky cabinet and pen-stained ledger. Using digital technology can transform your organizational system for the better. Actually, digital transformation consulting is itself an industry, as business owners learn the value of going paperless and leveraging cloud-based tools to make everything run more smoothly.
2. Invest in Automation
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is slowly revolutionizing the business world. The most common use of AI in companies right now involves the automation of both physical and computerized tasks. Digital “robots” that are nothing more than code on a server can input and consume data, thus taking over tedious back-office administrative tasks. Call center transfers, emailing and the use of natural language processing (NLP) to extract information from legal documents are just some of the ways that AI is putting businesses on autopilot.
3. Make Analytics a Priority
Business analytics is what we call the process of taking an objective look at the past performance of a business in order to better gauge where it either should or will head. Central to this is predictive modeling, which uses OLAP (online analytical processing) to answer queries regarding the consequences of actions a business might take. This method is obviously only as effective as the statistics you have and your ability to use the data wisely. The good news is that you can take courses in this from the comfort of your own home while still running business day-to-day.
4. Use Data-Driven Marketing Research
Speaking of statistics, marketing research is another area of business optimization that benefits from computing. Of course there are plenty of subjective forms of marketing research like the ever-popular focus group. However, customer knowledge is ultimately built on a foundation of real data that has to be collated and digested. A good example of this is in solar technology marketing. According to a 2020 Yale study, acceptance of the idea of global warming varies from 49% in West Virginia to 79% in Hawaii. Knowing that fact can help a solar startup tailor their whole outreach campaign.
5. Streamline Customer Service
Given the fact that text messaging is the most used data service in the world, it shouldn’t be surprising that SMS customer service is taking off. According to a Businesswire report, 52% of customers prefer text conversations with support representatives over whatever customer service system they’re currently dealing with. Waiting on hold isn’t just annoying for customers. It’s a time and money waster for companies by keeping skilled sales people mired in useless phone conversations. Using technology to focus customer service mitigates a lot of deeper time-and-money issues.
6. Refine Your Web Presence
It’s a jungle out there. The world is awash in data, and that’s making it both easier to get seen and more difficult to be remembered by a mercurial public. Taking a deep dive into human psychology and how we digest perceptual information is vital to making your organization stand out from the crowd. Build your company’s websites and logos based on what science tells us about color theory and the impact of page layout on the mind, and you’ll do more than get attention: you’ll keep it.
At the end of the day, business optimization is just a fancy way to describe the endless process of learning new ways to refine the basic systems you already have in place. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be able to move your business into the future.