Small businesses are constantly looking for ways to save money while increasing productivity, especially in today’s shaky economic climate. With the right attitude, a little creativity and plenty of determination, it is possible to decrease operating costs and watch business skyrocket – all while keeping employees happy.
If your company needs some new ideas for trimming the budget and increasing your output, try these tips.
Whittle Down Your Supply Cabinet
The costs of supplies can certainly add up over time! Take small measures like: a) using recycled paper, b) re-labeling old file folders, and c) replacing a fax machine with a scanner to cut down on the paper trail and be more efficient. Get rid of the overflowing stash of plastic water bottles, and use a water filter or water cooler instead. Axe paper goods like plates and cutlery, and use real dishes, glasses and silverware that you can wash and re-use. Also, designate one person to do all the ordering; this is a great way to manage costs more effectively and implement changes in ordering.
Cut Down on Your Utility Bills
Utility bills are a significant cost to many businesses. Hire an expert to do an “energy audit” of your building and check for leaks and cracks (which can jack up your heating and cooling bills). Some states offer free energy audits and may even contribute toward the cost of patching any problem areas. To get started, Google “free energy audit” and the name of your state.
If you are a one-man operation, or you only have a few other employees that can work remotely, think about using a shared-office space, which decreases one of the largest business expenses (rent). Or, if you don’t need to meet with your clients face-to-face, work from home full-time.
Also, use compact fluorescent or LED lights, which are more expensive upfront but last longer and use less electricity (cutting down on your utility bill).
Re-Think Your Phone Plan
One of the best ways small businesses can save money and increase productivity is through business cell phone plans. Mobile service providers offer voice, data and international plans, even for small businesses. The best plans will be personalized to your business’s needs, with flexibility and a suite of features to help you maximize efficiency. With business cell phone plans, the company reaps the financial benefits of bundling services, and employees have the resources to up their productivity with a work phone and/or mobile device.
Invest In Your Employees
Sit down with each of your employees and find out their interests, skills and passions. You may discover that they have a certain skill set that isn’t being utilized in their current position, and there might be a way to integrate that into their role in the company. Employees are more motivated to work harder and smarter if they feel valued. Offer coaching, mentoring and training opportunities to build up their abilities, talents and sense of confidence.
Listen to Them
Being a good listener is crucial to leading a team of happy and productive employees. Try to glean some helpful insight into their position and learn about their unique challenges and obstacles. Make sure they have the resources to work efficiently; this includes proper personnel support, financial resources and training.
Review Their Work and Set Goals Regularly
Business experts recommend offering employee feedback regarding specific projects on a weekly basis, and feedback on overall performance every six months. During your reviews, help your employees set goals that are:
Reward your employees for their hard work and accomplishments. Remind them that they play a key role in the company’s overall success. A happy and valued employee will be more focused and more productive.
What are some ways that your company saves money or increases productivity? We would love to hear from you.