By Lori Melton
In today’s fast-paced business arena, finding ways to streamline processes can help cut costs, increase efficiency, and ultimately free up more time. Spending less time on unnecessary or routine tasks means more time can be dedicated to creating opportunities for growth and success. Check out the list below for some smart ways you can streamline your business right now.
Implementing a good document management system is a critical part of business success. Proper document management involves finding the most efficient way to create, share, organize and store information. Are you still using a mix of paper and electronic documentation? If so, start looking for ways to reduce the amount of physical paperwork being generated. Examine each document and decide whether it’s necessary to retain a physical copy. Eliminate what you don’t need. Can information in a report or memo be conveyed electronically via email?
If you don’t already have one, consider using a server to act as a digital filing cabinet. Using a central server to access, store and back up your important documentation is much more reliable than connecting a bunch of computers together. Plus, storing documents electronically will cut paper and printing costs, as well as save office space which is being occupied by filing cabinets.
Make Technology Work for You
Many business functions can be streamlined using software packages that automate tasks. For instance, using accounting software that can generate invoices, pay bills, send out bill reminder emails and much more saves time in doing these tasks separately or manually. Scheduling software packages such as TimeClock Plus will also help you create an employee schedule, track employee hours and attendance. You can contract a software designer to create custom software that will be tailored to meet the specific needs of your business and staff. Leveraging technology properly should ultimately save time and increase efficiency.
Create a Website
Creating and maintaining a company website can serve many important functions. First, it gives potential customers around-the-clock digital access to information about your business from your hours of operation, to a comprehensive list of the goods and services you provide, to a detailed list of FAQ and a way to generate online orders and sales. Having detailed information about your business at customers’ fingertips can reduce time employees spend on the phone answering questions.
Outsourcing key tasks such as HR functions, web design and development and accounting and payroll, and keeping corporate minutes are just some of the operations you can retain outside sources for. For instance, eMinutes, a law firm which incorporates companies in California, offers entity management services to corporations that includes preparing annual corporate minutes of the shareholders and board of directors with detailed, customized corporate resolutions for an annual fee. Overall, hiring outside service providers to perform important, time-consuming business functions will free up time to focus on other business areas.
Consolidate Suppliers and Insurance Providers
Dealing with fewer suppliers will reduce time spent placing multiple orders to multiple vendors, paying numerous bills at different times and receiving and processing multiple shipments. Using fewer suppliers may also lead to buying a bigger volume from a given supplier, which could lead to price breaks and cost reduction. Likewise, using one insurance agent to handle all your business insurance needs can simplify the insurance process. Having multiple policies under one portfolio makes paying premiums easier, allows for renewing the policies together at the same time, instead of juggling multiple renewals from different carriers.
Retain a Corporate Attorney
Having legal counsel on retainer can simplify many business legal matters when and if the need arises. For instance, a lawyer can help you decide whether to incorporate as a C-Corp, an S-Corp or form an LLC. Once a decision is made, your lawyer will take all the appropriate legal steps to complete the process. Furthermore, a corporate lawyer can help you form legal partnerships, handle employee or customer lawsuits, address breach of contract issues or any other matter for which legal input, advice or processes are needed. Having a lawyer on retainer will save time and stress in hastily trying to find someone if a legal issue suddenly arises.