5 Things Businesses Do to Be More Efficient and Prepared
Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said, “Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.” He may as well have been talking to small-business owners because although owning a business is highly rewarding, it also takes planning — and there’s never a shortage of challenges and surprises.
The good news is that taking a proactive approach to business operations can facilitate problem solving and help your company run more efficiently. Here are five easy, low-budget ideas to get you started.
- Simplify Billing
Documenting billable hours can be time consuming and a hassle, but it’s a necessary evil of owning a small business. If you aren’t diligent about tracking employee hours, you could miss out on income and spend more than you should on payroll. Consider using an app like OfficeTime to simplify your process. It documents billable time and generates invoices based on hours you and your employees work. OfficeTime is worth a try as it costs only $47.00 and is backed by a 120-day satisfaction guarantee.
- Leverage Freelancers
Hiring a freelancer can ramp up your company’s productivity and save money, too. For example, you could hire a contractor to perform time-intensive work like data entry — freeing up in-house staff to tackle higher-priority tasks. You can also hire a freelancer to supplement your staff during peak business hours or seasons, eliminating the expense of adding another full-time employee to your payroll. Upwork is one of the world’s leading freelancing platforms, and it’s an excellent source for workers who have a range of skills and experience.
- Set Mid-Year Goals
Personal development guru Brian Tracy is fond of saying, “Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor.” This is one reason it’s important to set business goals at the beginning of the year — and mid-year, too. Reviewing your business objectives in June offers strategic advantages, like alerting you to emerging problems and giving you time to solve them before the end of the year. Use the goal-tracking app LifeTick to integrate your company’s goals into your digital life and monitor your progress. Doing so will keep your objectives top of mind and help you stay motivated.
- Streamline Social Media
Mastering social media doesn’t require a colossal budget or a team of advertising professionals. A tool like Hootsuite can help you take your company’s social media presence to the next level. It’s a one-stop shop for scheduling and managing updates to platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and more. Hootsuite is used by big brands like HBO and Virgin Airlines, but it’s very affordable for small businesses at just $9.99 per month. You’ll also want to consider using Mention, a tool that monitors the Internet for your company name and any other key terms you decide. Mention will alert you if it finds your information anywhere online, which allows you to better control your Internet presence.
- Boost Team Collaboration
According to Henry Ford, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” If he were running a small business in the 21st century, we bet Ford would use a collaborative workplace management tool like Asana. Though Asana has been around for years, its recent redesign shows it’s still one of the best productivity and collaboration apps available for small businesses. Asana enables you to assign tasks to individuals or groups, and helps everyone keep track of their responsibilities. It also fosters a strong sense of teamwork, and clarifies responsibilities and next steps among team members.
Use one or more of these business-friendly apps to help boost productivity in your small business. Share your success with other small-business owners on social media, and let us know if there’s a great app you think belongs on this list.