Startups are tricky business. Even with the most organized and robust business plan, you are bound to encounter issues and challenges that need quick and effective solutions. One thing that will be paramount to your new business’s success is to ensure that efficiency is always top of the list. Making sure there is little to no waste will keep the costs low, which means you have a much higher chance of making a profit early on.
But what are the steps to improve efficiency? Where should you focus your efforts? What will give the company maximum results? The fact is that it will likely take a number of tweaks and changes to start seeing an improvement. So, here are some great starting off points for your business to use.
Start Using a Kanban Board
Sometimes it comes down to re-imagining and re-working the way you go about your scheduling process. It could be that the methods your business is currently using just aren’t doing you any favors. So, how can you improve? One option is to embrace the Kanban model.
Kanban was actually started by the auto maker Toyota who decided they wanted to change up their scheduling system by making it more visual. It was then in 2007 that this system was improved upon further by David Anderson who introduced the Kanban method for knowledge work teams.
Using a Kanban board, you can create Cards, Columns, Swimlanes, and WIP Limits. There are also various categories of work stages such as Requested, In Progress, and Done. In addition, you can visualize both expedite and less critical work on sticky notes. The idea is that everything moves smoothly across the board and is easily visible by all. Nothing falls through the gaps or gets forgotten which makes the workflow efficient.
Fast forward to today and now you can use a Kanban board online, so there is no need for a physical board. This tool makes it possible for all team members to be part of the process and see what’s happening at all times. Kanban software makes it possible to streamline processes; identify any potential or occurring bottlenecks in the system; ensure there isn’t too much work in progress; identify and eliminate areas that are wasting time and resources; and even start to collect information that offers valuable insight into the business. All in all, it can have a massive positive effect on just how efficient your startup is.
Try Breaking Up Large Projects into Smaller Ones
Because everything is all-new in a startup, employees are likely still learning and trying to grasp the ropes. Assigning a bunch of large projects and tasks can feel overwhelming even for the most experienced of employees. Once an employee feels overwhelmed, you can bet the efficiency will be affected in a negative way.
A great solution is to take those large projects and break them up into smaller parts, dividing them up between departments and employees. Not only does this prevent people from feeling overwhelmed but it allows you to take advantage of specific skills and knowledge that each step of the project could benefit from. It also encourages communication between departments, which helps everything to stay efficient.
Hold Regular Meetings as a Way of Checking In
Now, you don’t want to go overboard on the meetings and distract people from their tasks, but holding regular meetings to just check in and ensure everyone is on the same page and on track can be very helpful. This gives employees a chance to ask questions, converse with one another, and you can communicate expectations and priorities.
Automation Can Have a Huge Impact on Efficiency
Automation is a tool that has drastically changed how businesses operate. Any time your company can integrate automation, you will in fact be improving efficiency. Even if it’s only in a few small areas that you can introduce automation, it’s a start and it will have a positive effect.
The key to this tip’s success is that you choose the right automation processes and tools, and that you properly train staff on how to use these tools.
Ensure You’re Using Employees to Their Fullest Potential
Finally, it’s a good idea to take a close look at your employees and ensure you’ve placed them in the right department and role that makes the best use of their skills and experience. It may even be that a little in-house shuffling is needed after the employee skills assessment.
Efficiency is something that all companies should strive for, regardless of how long they’ve been in business or how big/small they are. Efficiency truly leads to the road of success.