2022 is the year for growth, with economic conditions improving, consumers back in the buying game, and the pandemic waning. Growth may happen to organizations that plan to run business more efficiently.
Looking ahead over the next 12 to 18 months, companies may be hoping to see substantial growth. It may be possible, especially if organizations do the hard work now to prepare for opportunities to bound ahead of the competition.
In 2021, a great deal of transformation happened for many organizations. Economic and political climates changed, but so did the priorities of consumers, many of whom were faced with limited product access due to supply chain shortages.
One way to improve growth opportunities is to improve efficiency in operations. It’s not just about seeking sales increase but also trimming back and improving the overall business model to boost bottom lines.
How to Run Your Business More Efficiently With 6 Steps
There’s plenty to look forward to in 2022. Companies need to consider these strategies and tips to take advantage of it.
1. Evaluate employee wages and benefits
As the New York Times notes, the labor shortage impacting many businesses today is pushing up pay for many Americans. Wages at numerous companies – like Amazon, Chipotle, and Bank of America – have increased significantly. While the Federal Reserve is working to monitor wage growth (if it’s too fast, inflation may rise too quickly), for companies, it’s critical to consider the competition.
To improve operational efficiency, companies need to have productive employees. Those are often employees that feel valued and respected by the organization they are a part of. Contrary to many beliefs, workers are willing to work, but they want to be treated fairly and compensated equally.
Does that mean increasing pay? Not necessarily all of the time. However, companies should look at how well their pay scale matches that of their competitors. That’s going to bring in the best talent.
2. Outsource key operations
You don’t have to handle all your business operations in-house to retain control of your company and turn a profit. Plenty of operations are ideal for outsourcing to an individual or provider. In fact, you may already outsource occasionally, such as hiring independent marketing consultants or freelance graphic designers from time to time. However, you can’t overlook the value that you can get by making outsourcing a bigger part of your operational workflow.
Take your fulfillment process, for instance. If you sell products over the Internet to consumers, you need to handle all the associated warehousing, shipping, and receiving elements. These centers can become points of friction and expense. A potential outsourced solution is to partner with a full-service, third-party logistics (3PL) e-commerce solutions provider.
For best results, look for 3PL partners that utilize technology that will integrate with your current tech stack. As Tradefull, a 3PL complete e-commerce solution provider explains, having access to a single dashboard to manage everything from product descriptions to returns gives you the transparency you need to stay in the know.
There’s little doubt that outsourcing operations can provide a huge improvement to your company over time. The transition doesn’t have to be difficult to make, either. Take a look at your current operations. Evaluate which ones are causing you the most obstacles or chewing up profits. Then, consider ways to overcome operational inefficiencies with help from an outside source.
3. Recognize what’s holding employee productivity back
Employee productivity is hurting in many organizations. That directly translates into lower profits and limited efficiency. The question is, why?
One core reason is uncertainty. Political and economic conditions continue to be less clear than in years gone by. Consumers are facing inflation and are worried about their futures. At the same time, they are working to improve themselves by becoming more diversity-focused and supportive of those of different lifestyles. Employees are also battling different needs and desires, with many continuing to face the toll of the pandemic and the losses it brings.
All of that uncertainty doesn’t remain at home. It comes to working with employees. There are solutions that may help alleviate this.
- Encourage employees to be productive even when they struggle to do so. Do so in a positive and motivating way. Offer tools to help them, such as improved scheduling.
- Provide mental health and emotional support services to employees to encourage them to seek the support they need. Ensure it remains anonymous.
- Open the conversation to find out what their needs are. Are they worried about childcare? Do they struggle with focus because of unmet needs? Talk about what’s holding them back.
- Provide opportunities for enrichment, growth, and promotion. Often, employee productivity improves when they see the good that may come from it.
- Offer benefits that employees need and want. They may appreciate shorter workdays, flexible schedules, improved health plans, or other services. Open the door to communication to find out what those needs may be.
Improving employee productivity may help you run your business more efficiently, especially in your company’s day-to-day operations. It may also help improve employee retention rates, which means less time and money spent on training.
4. Be ready to tap into supplier product rollouts
The pandemic continues to impact supply chains for many organizations. In small business publications you can learn supply chain shortages and their increasing costs are driven by strong consumer demand for goods. For many businesses, that increasing cost is hurting growth and efficiency opportunities.
Companies must be aware of scarcities within their supply chain. More importantly, while not only noting when these are present, they also need to work closely to find alternatives. Some businesses are working to offer new solutions and products to help accommodate those unavailable products.
Turning to suppliers to ask for accommodations for supply insufficiencies is necessary. Some suppliers are working to source products from other locations or offer alternatives. This could help to increase the ability to produce goods. Working closely with suppliers to manage shortages is critical to helping you run your business operations more efficiently. Without a plan to deal with a lack of materials, companies grind to a halt, pushing their customers to find their own alternatives. Be proactive in seeking other supply options.
5. Work to automate operations as much as possible
With good time management, companies can do more and achieve bigger results. One way to boost time management is to improve automation. Often, organizations see automation as a big-ticket investment they have to make into their operation. Initially, it seems cost-prohibitive, but there are real opportunities to automate small tasks to see big results.
Consider the benefits of automation in various sectors of the company. Automate operations where possible. Automating that task could mean efficiency improvement if a machine can do it and a person does not need to oversee the process. That may include marketing, sales processes, customer service, and other areas.
Moreover, you could automate repetitive tasks such as the hiring process or application process. Work to eliminate tedious tasks that take too much time and yield very little insights.
6. Improve your business’s online footprint
It’s also beneficial to companies to get more of their business online. With this in mind, small businesses are specifically at risk for being left behind when it comes to efficiencies because they don’t provide consumers with access to online and mobile shopping.
Widen the online footprint of the company to move more operations online. That includes selling directly to customers on a website and not just relying on retailers to manage product sales. It may also mean working to bring more marketing efforts online where they are more likely to pay off through social media and brand building.
Improving an online presence may help in numerous ways. First, it helps to streamline both marketing and sales strategies. At the same time, it provides a much higher ROI because of the less demand on third-party retailers.
Additionally, building an online presence builds the company’s credibility and brand recognition, meaning less money needs to go towards educating the public about the company and its products. In turn, this enables you to run your business more efficiently.
Improving efficiency means taking a hard look at business models
Most importantly, organizations ready to embrace all that 2022 has to offer need to focus heavily on running business more efficiently. It may be a good time for a business to put some money and time into increasing sales or launching new products. It may be time to expand to new countries in an ever-expanding global marketplace.
Yet, at the heart of every business’s growth strategies is finding ways to be more efficient. Consider the value of outsourcing key tasks to professionals who can do it for less so you can focus on strategies that take your company to the next level this year.
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