Small businesses often focus heavily on efficiency in order to grow. This can be an excellent way to get off the ground, as the more productive you are, the more you can take on.
One of the best way to do this is to get rid of business practices that are not fit for purpose; something most companies have plenty of.
SMEs are actually in an excellent position to do this, as they are more adaptable than larger companies. Processes tend not to be set in stone, and any changes do not have to be implemented across a large group of people. So which practices should you cut? Here are some of the most important.
1. The nine-to-five
Do you still work set hours from a central office? If so, consider scrapping that rule. Flexible working is the future and has shown itself to be more productive, as well as being better for morale. If you are a morning person, but your business partner or employee is more of a night owl, you will not be efficient at the same times of the day. In fact, 44% of women and 37% of men prefer to work at night.
Matt Byrom, manager at Wyzowl, told Business.com that "simply working for eight hours a day is no guarantee of productivity", which is why many companies have abandoned this. Instead, they focus on work produced. Your workday lasts as long as it takes to get your work done to a high standard, whether that's eight hours or four, and whenever those hours fall.
2. Delayed external responses
Running an SME is not easy, and you will often find that you respond to queries from customers or clients whenever you have time. However, in the current age of social media and millennials this could be actively harming your business.
People - especially young ones, who are a huge consumer demographic - expect quick responses from companies. Furthermore, this group is increasingly working its way up the corporate ladder, so the same philosophy should apply to B2B.
3. Poor communication
This is something that plagues all businesses, but for an SME with fewer staff than a huge multinational, communication can be even more vital. You need to make sure you're doing it in the best possible way for your company.
Some people recommend tools such as Slack over email, to avoid miscommunications, while for others it's a matter of avoiding buzzwords so that nobody gets confused about the message you're trying to send. Whatever works for you, use it.
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