One of the best competitive advantages of your small business is that you’re able to stay flexible. You can be more agile than your larger competitors as long as you focus on running a lean operation that cuts costs and boosts productivity. Here are our tips to help you streamline your small business.
Do what you do best
One of the most important decisions a small business can make is how and when to hire outside experts. Freelance professionals can help small companies to maximise their productivity without the expense of full-time employees.
Technology has made contracting out non-core operations easier for small businesses by connecting them to skilled professionals around the world. After all, you can’t do everything yourself and you shouldn’t try. If a task doesn’t help you generate income or grow the business, it may be better to delegate it to an outside source.
To find skilled professional freelancers, start with your local network, professional associations or trade groups. Online ‘elancing’ services can also help small businesses to connect with contractors online.
By focusing on your core skills, you’ll free yourself up to think more strategically, be more responsive and look for more opportunities for growth.
Work where you are
Working from home or remotely, from coffee shops or a shared workspace, can save you significant overheads that you’d otherwise have to spend on office space.
However, it can be a strain having to take care of all tasks yourself, particularly if you run a one-person business, and it means you may not be able to answer customer phone calls you could convert into sales. There are several ways you can stay lean and agile without risking business efficiency.
First, you can look into getting a dedicated business line so you can stop your phone line getting clogged up with personal calls when your may have customers trying to reach you.
Wherever you’re working from, it’s important to strike the right balance between your personal and work life. Bringing your work home with you becomes even more of a challenge when your home is actually your office, but by maintaining strict rules and high standards of professionalism you can turn remote working into an advantage for your business.
Move to the cloud
Over the past few years, more and more communications, IT and software services have moved to the cloud. Online hosting offers major advantages to small businesses that will help you to stay lean and agile.
For a small business, the major benefits of cloud-based services are cost and flexibility. By hosting your key business services online, you remove the pricey overheads of hardware maintenance and licensing, so you pay less up front and you only have to pay for what you actually need.
With a cloud-based business phone service, for example, where phone calls are routed over the internet, you can have extra lines connected or disconnected straight away, whenever you need them. You don’t need to sign a long-term contract or buy extra capacity upfront to cope with possible future growth. You just pay for what you need.