Running a startup in a competitive market like today is challenging enough as it is. Every competitive advantage is a huge plus that puts you ahead of the competition, which is why every advantage is worth pursuing. Smooth operation is no longer enough; you have to operate as efficiently as possible to maintain an edge.
Boosting efficiency, however, is a lot simpler than you think. You now have more resources to utilize when it comes to increasing efficiency in your startup. To help you get started, here are some of the practical tips you can use.
Leverage One-on-One Meetings
No matter how good the messaging platform you utilize may be, nothing beats talking face to face. Human interaction within a startup is necessary for a number of reasons. For starters, talking to someone directly is an effective way to get answers quickly and correctly.
One-on-one meetings are even more important. Team leaders must make it a habit to spend some one-on-one time with team members. That’s how you really get to know individual members of the team, find out about their strengths and the challenges they face, and work towards improving their productivity.
One-on-one meetings are also handy for overcoming specific challenges. When a team member isn’t performing as usual, the quickest way to find out about the underlying issues is by talking to the team member in a safe and private environment.
Automate More Tasks
Automation is the key to expanding the capacity of your startup without growing your team. Rather than recruiting new team members and increasing your overhead, you can stay lean and grow at the same time with the help of automation.
More tasks can be automated with the right tool. You can, for instance, establish a feedback loop between the sales team and the marketing team. Once that feedback loop is established, you can begin using tools like Active Campaign to automate many marketing tasks. The same tool can be used alongside CRMs like Salesforce for an even greater impact.
Automation of order management tasks is also crucial. You can automate repetitive tasks such as generating reports and filing purchase orders by using automated order processing software from the beginning.
Improve Project Management
Tasks within a startup can be seen as small projects to complete, which is why good project management is the foundation of every startup success. By improving the way projects are handled, you are improving your operation on a more fundamental level.
You can use the agile project management principles beyond software development using tools like Kanbanize. The Kanbanize system is a great way to make sure that tasks are handled properly, bottlenecks are solved before they can turn into bigger problems, and projects are completed in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Equipping key team members with project management skills is also a fantastic investment to make. There are plenty of PM training courses that team members can now take online, so you can invest in growing their project management skills without affecting operations too much.You can visit Training Connection and sign up for a hands-on project management training.
The perfect working environment is, well, perfect, but it is also not easy to create. An environment that suits a handful of team members may not suit the rest of the company. Rather than wasting your energy and resources in trying to create that perfect work environment, focus more on dealing with possible distractions.
Unnecessary meetings in the middle of the day, calls and interruptions that throw team members off of their focus, and other similar distractions are the easiest ones to eliminate. You can establish a stronger culture and a set of policies to immediately deal with these issues. At the same time, you can work towards improving the work environment in a more gradual way.
Distractions can also come in problems that require immediate attention. Fortunately, better project management and the use of tools like Kanbanize and Salesforce allow team members to anticipate even the most complex problems. This alters the mindset from solving problems to preventing them from becoming problems.
Even the best team members cannot always multitask effectively. We often see ourselves as being good at working on multiple tasks at the same time, but we really aren’t that good at all. Focusing on one task at a time is always the better way to go.
What needs to be a habit is cross-functioning from one task to another in a seamless way. Instead of trying to do everything at once, you complete each task with maximum attention before moving to another. Once again, methods like Kanban are designed to minimize multitasking on a more fundamental level.
Minimizing multitasking is also something that can be done through process refinement. Take a closer look at your existing workflows and you will find ways to improve how tasks are handled across the entire company.
Integrate Continuous Improvement
That brings us to the last tip on our list: integrate continuous improvement. Changes need to be made in incremental fashion rather as one big transformation. You want to evolve with the market, not change how you operate entirely. In order to maintain your competitive advantage, continuous improvement is needed.
Before you can improve different parts of your operations, you need to establish evaluation as an active part of your processes. Evaluation also needs to happen continuously for continuous improvement to be made possible.
Don’t wait until the end of a cycle or a process to evaluate how you are doing as a team. As soon as you find issues to solve and potential improvements to add, act on them and refine the way you do things further. Agile project management is all about small, incremental improvements, so the methodology is perfect for the job.
Implement these tips and you will start getting ahead of the market bit by bit. Since the entire foundation of these efficiency upgrades is small but continuous improvements, don’t expect big leaps as the outcomes. There is nothing wrong with gaining an edge over your competition in smaller increments; you will still end up leading the market in the end.