Having a good business isn’t enough. You need to truly stand out in order to succeed, especially in an uncertain economy. This means maximizing your output while keeping investment of time and capital to a minimum. Here are four fundamental strategies that any entrepreneur can use to keep their company productive and efficient.
1. Modernize Your Infrastructure
Productivity begins with sound infrastructure. For modern businesses, this means a combination of hardware and software working in tandem. Normally, however, the latter is only as useful as the former. Cutting-edge software won’t run on obsolete computers. A historic building might be a beautiful place to work, but the ancient wiring often won’t support high-speed internet. Make certain that your physical infrastructure can support the digital upgrades that can really energize your business processes.
Once you do have those systems in place, there is a wide array of tools out there to scale production. Much of this is centered around automation via artificial intelligence (AI). Automated accounting systems, business analytics and even virtual customer service programs can all save on time and personnel. Don’t forget to invest in systems that multiply their effectiveness, such as a session border controller or other network security and communication enhancements.
2. Leverage the Power of Decentralization
Not too long ago, the idea of a decentralized workforce made business owners nervous. Cut to 2021 and remote work has proven itself and more. In fact, a recent study backed by Stanford University showed a 13% increase in productivity by home workers versus office-bound employees. There are multiple reasons for this, including the fact that the remote staff lost less time from sick days and distractions. Workers can also maximize their own potential by optimizing their schedules and work environment to their own individual needs. Consider giving your employees goals and deadlines while letting them chart their own paths to reaching them.
3. Attract a Dynamic Workforce
Right now, businesses across the US are scrambling to attract labor. Unfortunately, taking in unskilled or unmotivated employees often results in high turnover. Worse, failing to energize potential standouts effectively hands them to your competition. On average, it costs around 33% of an employee’s annual salary to replace a worker, so attracting the motivated and motivating the skilled are equally crucial.
There are two keys to attracting and retaining the best and brightest: vision and training. Recent research showed that around 40% of millennials chose a workplace because of its stance on sustainability issues, so emphasizing your company’s vision of what it brings to the world beyond just its physical offerings is vital. Ethics and quality should both be foundational values for any successful business. Honing the skills of employees and management alike through regular and immersive training exercises is also necessary. Indeed, the twin missions of motivation and education are inseparable and tend to reinforce each other. When labor and management grow together, everyone wins.
4. Optimize Your Organizational Structure
Lapses in productivity might not be the fault of labor or management, but of how the business itself is put together. Traditionally, businesses are organized around a hierarchical model. Owners are at the top of the pyramid with middle management below and then the workers at the bottom. This is great for creating incentives for advancement and cultivating specialists, but it can also result in slow reaction times in a crisis and a misuse of your most versatile people.
A flat organizational structure could be a good alternative. Flat structures spread out both responsibility and authority across a more-or-less equal workforce. This not only speeds interdepartmental communication but also nurtures versatility at all levels at the expense of specialization and direction. Both modalities offer advantages and disadvantages; finding the right solution requires knowing your organization’s unique needs.
It’s not easy to find the right combination of tools to build your business, but some ideas are just good common sense. Keep these tips in mind when getting your company on the move.