7 Hacks for Small Businesses: Streamline Your Business Operations for Max Effect & Efficiency
What is a “hack?” Well, the first thing that probably comes to mind when you hear that word might be the mysterious bad guy… sitting in the dark behind his keyboard and monitor… breaking into computers and systems of others for nefarious purposes. He’s the hacker and he “hacks.” Right?
Sure. But today, the word “hack” also has a slightly less ominous meaning too. In the worlds of business, success, productivity and really… anything, a hack is a shortcut or (non-harmful) “trick” that can help you save resources – time, money, or energy – while producing the same (or better) results.
While there are no 100% shortcuts in life, the business hacks below should help you get to where you want to be, faster.
Are you ready to launch your small business or generate greater profits? These hacks should help:
Consider Expanding Your Office
Are you still running your business out of the home? If so, you’re likely limiting growth in many ways. If you truly want your business to be a business, you need to treat it like one. Just as water expands to fill the size of the container it’s poured into – many experts say your business will behave the same way. They contend it’s only going to grow to fill the “space” you give it. One place to start is with physical space. Even if that just means creating a true office area in your home for now (as opposed to working from the couch or at the kitchen table), make sure to make it clear – to others and yourself – that your business is ‘real’ in order to give it – and you – the best chance for success.
Alternately, if your specific business doesn’t require you to be at a desk, then take it on the road. Are you trying to generate business? Then act like a salesman. Take calls on the go. Get out and network. You’ve likely heard, “Fake it until you make it.” There’s actually a lot of real merit to that idea. Faking it – at least at first – often tricks the brain into really believing you are what – or who – you act like you are. To make more sales, act like a salesman. Salesmen don’t sit and what for the phone to ring. On that same note, to make sure calls and especially, callbacks, are answered professionally, consider software such as Grasshopper. Grasshopper and others like it such as iPlum, can take incoming calls and route them to another number such as your cell phone or Skype account. Combined with their “auto-attendant” (basically, an automated receptionist that greets your callers and routes them to you), it makes your business appear like a business. That can make a huge difference when competing for customers or accounts.
Eager entrepreneurs often times bite off more than they can chew, leading to chaos and conflicts. Make scheduling a whole lot easier by introducing a calendar or appointment system into your business. Systems such as VCita or Calendly allow potential customers or clients to schedule appointments, demos, and meetings with you, during the time slots you set as available. This software automatically updates itself, so you can sit back and relax.
Hire with Confidence
Your business can go a long way with the right team behind you. On the other hand, hiring the wrong employee can come with major consequences. Consider an employee screening service such as ShareAble for Hires by Transunion. It offers employee screening for small businesses, helping you be more confident in your next job offer. Of course, they can also save you time, money, and effort from being involved with a bad employee.
This isn’t really a business hack, it’s essential. Being unorganized can cause you to misplace important documents or lose contact with clients. It can also put you in debt if you fail to keep up with your bills and taxes. There are many different software solutions available to help keep you on track. From document scanners to budgeting apps, be sure to take full advantage of any technology that can help run your business more efficiently.
A digital presence is a must in today’s world. Optimize your site by plugging in a few simple keywords to see your ranks rise in the search results. For bigger results, consider investing in your digital marketing. While this is an “expense” – it’s often worthwhile. After all, it will directly affect your ability to bring in new business. Just be sure to do your homework and hire a reputable company that can get you the greatest results for your investment. There is no shortage of people and companies out there claiming to be experts in this area. And while you want to get the best value, if the promises made are huge and the cost is so low that it all seems too good to be true, it likely is.
Staying focused and motivated is easier said than done. One way to stay on task and productive is to block off your access to distracting websites. These filters can help anyone stay on track and complete their task in a timely manner. Another productivity hack is time blocking or “sprints” where you work in chunks or spurts and then take a break. Just as with endurance running, this keeps you going for the long haul and in the end, you will likely get more done—even with the breaks factored into the equation.
Obviously, success usually doesn’t happen overnight. Most often, it is a process. But these few simple hacks can help you cut a corner or two while still maintaining the quality of your business. Implement them into your business and