Boosting Your Bottom Line: Making Business Efficiency Your Top Priority
Businesses across the nation are adjusting to slimmer profit margins. The Financial Times reports that price spikes, labor shortages, and supply chain struggles are continuing to eat into profits while consumers are spending less in response to inflation.
As a business leader, you can discover new levels of profitability and boost your bottom line by maximizing efficiency in the workplace.
This is particularly important today, as modern workers report that they are only productive for 2 hours 53 minutes per day. As a leader, reclaiming this lost productivity should be your top priority while keeping staff healthy and happy.
Rising costs will undermine your profits if you fail to adjust. This is true regardless of what stage of business growth you are in today. Even well-established brands can suddenly go bust if they ignore rising costs and become overleveraged with debt.
Continuously re-evaluating your operations will help you discover costly bottlenecks and address fundamental issues. Adopting a process improvement mindset can help you respond to industry changes and remain relevant for consumers. Further cost-saving benefits of process improvement include:
- Improved time allocation for lower labor costs;
- Streamlined production to reduce variable costs;
- More responsible scaling for responsible growth.
Embracing process improvement can improve your firm’s ability to meet compliance requirements. This is helpful if you plan on growing your business and want to avoid fees and fines due to ineffective compliance protocols.
Your employees are the backbone of your business. Without them, efficiency would grind to a halt. However, many business leaders overlook employee wellbeing when profitability starts to decline.
If you want to enhance your operational efficiency, then keeping your employees healthy and happy should be a priority. Unhealthy, unhappy staff are extremely expensive, as you will be forced to pay for sick leave and will have to bring on new hires when they leave for greener pastures.
Stress can have a profound impact on employee well-being and health, too. Left untreated, chronic stress can increase the risk of musculoskeletal disorders, hypertension, heart attack, and stroke. Employees who are stressed are also more likely to suffer from oral ailments like gum disease, tooth decay, and cankers. This will sideline your employees and leave you short-staffed when you need employees the most.
Nothing will derail your business like an accident at work. In 2021 alone, workplace accidents and injuries cost a total of $167 billion. Injuries and accidents also resulted in 103,000,000 lost days of work, as many employees have to take extended time away after a mishap.
As a business owner, you should explore efficiency upgrades that improve safety. Even simple changes, like reducing workers’ workload, can significantly reduce the risk of accidents. Folks are far less likely to make a misstep when they are not overworked, burnt out, and fatigued by their workload.
You can improve worker safety and increase business efficiency by embracing the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT tech, like electronic logging devices, can improve safety and efficiency by tracking metrics related to employee safety. This is particularly important if you work in high-risk fields like delivery driving. Keep a tab on key data points like speed and braking. This reduces the risk of accidents and helps you retrain certain staff.
In today’s competitive business environment, you need to stand out from the crowd by providing excellent customer service. Effective, efficient customer service can improve brand loyalty, minimize damaging reviews, and convince consumers to make repeat purchases.
A recent survey of 3,200 consumers by Super Office found that 12% of all consumers expect a response time of under 15 minutes, while 46% say they want to hear back within 4 hours. This suggests that efficient, fast responses are key to heightened customer satisfaction.
If you cannot afford to employ a fleet of customer service agents, consider investing in automation software instead. Automated chatbots are capable of answering FAQs quickly and accurately. They can also send pre-generated responses to folks who get in contact during out-of-office hours. This can reassure customers that their query has been seen and that they will get a response soon.
Foregrounding efficiency in your customer service department can reduce the amount you spend on returns, too. US retailers predict that $761 billion of items will be returned every year. This can eat into profits and derail your day-to-day operations. You cannot avoid all returns, but you can mitigate many hasty returns with responsive, positive customer service.
Automating your business is not just good for customer service. Embracing the future of AI and automation can improve your efficiency and bolster your bottom line. Strategic changes, like automating your customer relationship management (CRM) software, can reduce the amount of time staff spend on menial responsibilities and free up time for creative, profit-boosting tasks.
If you are new to the idea of automation, start with low-hanging fruit like:
- File backups: Manually backing up important documents takes hours. Streamline the process by using cloud-based backups.
- Payroll: Your HR team does not want to spend all their time working through payroll. Automate much of the process so real employees can focus on fixing errors and addressing employee queries.
- Sales Funnel: Sales automation can improve the efficiency of your funnel by reaching out to new leads and collating data from across all of your platforms.
As your firm grows, you can explore more complex automation strategies. For example, if you currently run an e-commerce business, you can use automated software to keep stock of your inventory and automatically order new materials when supplies run low. This reduces lead time at your firm and ensures that you are always ready to take on new orders.
Effective communication keeps internal and external stakeholders happy and can maximize your operational efficiency. This is crucial when trying to boost your profits, as you’ll need buy-in from investors and employees alike.
As a business leader, you can guide your firm to higher levels of profitability and productivity by improving your own communication skills. Ask plenty of questions when conversing with other employees and focus on listening to them without interruption. If you struggle to listen without jumping in, consider taking notes to channel your thoughts and show your staff that you care about their insights.
You should review your communication strategy on an annual basis. This will ensure that your firm is up-to-date with the latest communication tech and can help you identify potential issues in your current strategy. A well-planned communication strategy improves collaboration in your company, too. This reduces the risk of costly oversights and helps you get more out of your most talented employees.
Boosting your bottom line is about more than cutting costs and raising your prices. Spark a period of profitable growth at your firm by embracing an ethos of process improvement. Continuous process improvement also helps you take advantage of breakthroughs in business tech like CRM automation, IoT tracking, and customer service chatbots. In sum, process improvement isn’t just ensuring short-term solutions, it’s ensuring the long-term success of your company.
*This article is written by Ainsley Lawrence. View more of Ainsley’s articles here.