Ask any company director what their major goals are for their firm, and you’ll no doubt find operating efficiently near – if not at – the top of the list. A well-run, efficient business makes it easier to turn a profit while also helping staff to be 100% clear on the responsibilities and improving the chances of them working well as a team.

However, while efficiency likely tops the list for most companies, if you scrape the surface a little deeper, many firms operate in incredibly ineffective ways, often following redundant or outdated practices which only serve to slow processes, frustrate employees and reduce profit margins.

No matter what type of company you run, if you perform a full audit on your operations, you’ll almost undoubtedly reveal areas where you could operate more economically and achieve a better Return on Investment (ROI). Here are just a few suggestions that might help your business become more cost-effective and streamlined.

Use your time more effectively

One of the biggest drains on firms is the ineffective use of time – particularly on the part of company owners. As the boss of a firm, you’ll likely feel a natural urge to do everything yourself, almost as though no-one could do a job as well as you. In fact, this viewpoint couldn’t be further from the truth. The very reason you employed staff in the first place was to help your company function better, so try to resist the temptation of thinking everything comes down to you and instead learn the value of delegating tasks. Your time is far better used guiding the direction of the firm, making contacts, and developing the business than it is on actually performing the work.

Identify areas of waste and eliminate them

Some level of waste is almost inevitable in every firm – but that doesn’t mean you should just accept it as normal. Look for areas where mistakes are recurring and find ways to eliminate the problems. Issues might include late delivery of projects, incorrect formatting of documents, delivering items to the wrong customer address, etc. Whatever it is, start logging where these errors occur and why the mistake happened. As you build a record of the parts of your business that are causing issues, so you’ll soon be able to find ways to counter them.

Give your staff the right tools to do their jobs

One of the most common complaints among staff working in firms is they don’t have tools suitable for doing their job. While the saying, “a bad workman blames his tools,” is often true, if you fail to give your staff the right equipment, they’ll never be able to perform well. Also, if your business relies a lot on teamwork (particularly among different departments), consider installing Task Management software to help your teams stay on top of projects and work collaboratively.

Listen to your staff and act upon their feedback

You may think you know your business inside and out, but, really, the people that are most knowledgeable of your processes and problem areas are likely to be the ones doing the job. Regularly meet with your staff to discuss areas where they think you could improve. You may be very surprised by what they tell you and the valuable insights they can give you to your firm.