Because of their hollow bones, birds are light enough for flight. They are a model of efficiency, and are always praised for this. As a society, we love efficient offenses in any sport, we shop for efficient heaters and air conditioners, and are searching for efficient sources of power.
Why should entrepreneurs strive for efficiency? Well, we all know the numbers on how many start-ups fail. You need more money coming in than going out, and until you can ensure a giant windfall coming in, one of the ways to come out on the good side of this equation is via efficient business practices. Efficiency will cause high morale, tight operations, and yes, profits.
Here are five paths to greater efficiency.
Staffing certainly creates high overhead–it’s a rare start-up that can afford many salaries for all the roles–HR, administration, bookkeeping , IT. But you don’t have the time nor expertise to do it all yourself.
When outsourcing, a likely and probably affordable method is going with agencies who will specialize in IT, accounting, and similar niches.
2. Exploit New Technology
When looking for ways to do things less expensively, one of your best allies is new technology. There’s a free online tool out there for just about every activity. Developers often embrace the open-source concept and often offer their products for free.
It needn’t be software for a specific niche–consider cloud computing. Storing your data in the cloud can save on hardware costs, and can certainly save billed man hours. It can free up time for you to do other tasks, ones that may have otherwise cost money.
Keep in mind that technology can also help you on the marketing and advertising front. There’s a lot more than facebook and Twitter out there, with various Web 2.0 tools for any outreach task.
3. Supplies, Not Surprises
If your business uses supplies of any kind for any reason, this could be a leak in expenditures. Obviously, the first thing to do is to shop around for cheaper sources for anything your business uses. While you probably did due diligence when starting your business, as you go along, you’ll need to keep updating this process–prices change and new suppliers come along. You may also find your current suppliers raising prices periodically, almost like a cost of living raise they’re giving themselves.
4. Print More Efficiently
It seems like everything has gone digital, and that all our communication happens electronically. And yet wasteful printing still happens all too often. It’s something to legislate around the office. Using yourself as a good example, get your worker bees to be very conscientious about how much ink and paper they use.
The good news is that the innovators are out there innovatin’, and they’ve developed a way or two two to print more efficiently. For instance, Toshiba has developed erasable toner, which amounts to re-usable paper.
Also in existence is software that identifies pages in a print job that aren’t pulling their weight, those with just URL’s, etc. Again, savings on paper.
5. Travel Less
Again, we live in a digital world, one in which helpful developers give us only too many helpful tools that increase efficiency. We are awash in video conferencing, web casts, podcasts, and similar technologies, all of which can cut down on hitting the road. Meeting with people face to face and pressing the flesh can be something for a little later in a business’s life, after it has passed the initial hurdles and its life is safe.