5 ways to work smarter, not harder in your business

When a business grows, complexities start creeping in. Processes are added or adapted to suit the changing needs of the company. Orders and paperwork quickly pile up. With multiple systems for multiple purposes, the speed and accuracy of critical business reporting become affected.

Small business owners are frequently feeling the growing pains of process inefficiencies. Here are five ways for growing companies to work smarter, not harder, start reclaiming time, and reduce operating costs.

1. Eliminate errors

Manual data entry is one of the most time-consuming and error-prone administrative tasks. It’s easy to mistype a name or dollar value, and it happens more often than you may realise.

By integrating your eCommerce platform with your back-end sales software or ERP system, orders can flow directly from customers to the system that manages your orders. With no manual re-keying of information, the data remains exactly as entered. Customers receive what they ordered and have a positive experience. This also frees up your customer service team’s time to focus on more important initiatives.

2. Attack of the spreadsheet attachments

How many emails with spreadsheet attachments are your employees sending and receiving? Having multiple spreadsheet versions floating around is a quick way to end up with splintered data. One person adds information to their version, but without a single, master version, the data requires constant re-checking. Cloud-based file systems can provide real-time access to view and update business-critical reports. Cloud ERP systems will also take it one step further, utilising single-source data, live reports, and report snapshots on each user’s dashboard view.

3. Communication is key

Do you often see post-it notes on your employees’ desks with customer details or notes about a call received? It may seem harmless, but it’s an inefficient way to do business. Think of how many times you’ve called someone from their post-it details, only to find out that your caller has already spoken with another contact from your office.

A digital note-taking solution, or a CRM, can save time and confusion. When tracking communications within the one system, your team stays informed and can deliver an improved customer experience.

4. Get reliable reporting

Are you able to make critical financial decisions about your company on-the-spot? What about reporting on sales results, warehouse efficiency, and other key performance indicators? If you’re often waiting for individuals in the business to email their reports, the human effort will be adding up and the information can already be outdated when received.

Consider the systems you’re using to produce your business reporting. Are you able to schedule or automate reports to be delivered to your inbox at set intervals? If not, it may be time to start exploring new systems that provide accurate, real-time data so you can start making more agile decisions.

5. Make your warehouse more efficient

The warehouse can be the most hectic part of a business at times. However, focusing on efficiency can make it run a lot more smoothly. Easy changes, such as moving high-demand items closer to where the pick, pack and ship process happens, can significantly reduce the steps taken by warehouse staff and have a positive impact on productivity. By focusing on improving warehouse processes you can reclaim significant time and effort.

These five ways to work smarter, not harder, are just the beginning. The right business systems and processes can help you and your team find more ways to reclaim time and reduce operating costs.

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Stephen Canning
Stephen Canning is the CEO of cloud business technology company, JCurve Solutions. Mr Canning has proven experience in strategic, business and operational planning, including product and go-to-market strategies. He is passionate about process improvement and understands the challenges of rapidly growing a business.

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