To run smoothly and efficiently, a business needs all its components to work together like the gears of a well-oiled machine. Unaddressed problems in one department can often lead to more serious issues across the entire organization, with potentially devastating effects on your company's culture and development.
These seven entrepreneurs discuss the parts of a business that are most often overlooked by founders -- and why streamlining them is crucial for improving the cost and time efficiency of your organization.
Some business owners tend to look at employee onboarding as something that will take care of itself, and thus treat the process lightly. Ismael Wrixen, CEO of FE International, is not a fan of this practice: "While managers are often eager to get new hires into their positions immediately, over the years we have continued to extend the amount of time we spend onboarding new employees."
Although it may appear to cost you more in the short term, Wrixen says an extensive onboarding process leads to better retention and results. "This investment in people has paid off and saves costs and time in the long run," he explains.
Routine Project Systematization
Entrepreneurs should be actively looking for ways to systemize and automate routine projects and activities that could save them time and money. "There's a trick that I frequently deploy in my businesses. Break down a task into its smaller parts and see how you can automate them," Nicole Munoz of Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc. recommends.
Once you've broken down a project into smaller tasks, create small playbooks for each one and outsource them. "Often, you'll find that when you need to complete a task, it can be easily broken down and systematized. This will free up a lot of time," Munoz explains.
Organizing Data for Efficiency
"When I first started my business, I had to scrutinize every cost. When I decided to streamline the company's daily workflow with a CRM, I couldn't really afford the best available CRM on the market," recounts Jared Weitz, founder and CEO of United Capital Source Inc.
Many founders tend to overlook the importance of organizing data to gain insights and automating workflows for efficiency. "However, even lower cost CRMs that automate reporting and daily workflows are useful," Weitz underlines.
But streamlining operations for cost and time savings depends on more than just using the right tools -- you should be constantly evaluating your tools to make sure they aren't becoming redundant, according to Syed Balkhi, co-founder of WPBeginner.
"Every year, we take a look at all our software subscriptions to find out which ones we can stop paying for and which we should renew," Balkhi explains. "Companies are always changing and adding new features, so check up on what's new to avoid paying for technologies that do the same thing."
Setting Goals and Expectations
Tools aside, something many business owners neglect is setting clear goals and expectations for any project before starting it, according to Codie Sanchez, CEO and founder of Codie Ventures LLC.
"Since most communication is done remotely, it is critical to ask questions up front. I have my employees relay back to me, in their own words, what my ask was on a complex task and check in with me after the first day of their execution on it," she explains.
Meetings and Conference Calls
"There's no getting around the need for a meeting or conference call every now and then," says Bryce Welker, founder of Crush The CPA Exam, in the context of effective team communication.
"However, so much time spent in meetings is a complete waste: going over previous meetings, status reports on ongoing projects and other redundant topics that could be better covered in an email or Slack message," Welker adds. His solution is to make an effort to keep most meetings under 30 minutes long.
Customer Account Management
Internal communication issues and a lack of well-documented processes can lead to customer accounts being mishandled. "As a business-to-business startup with 10 people, we didn't realize that three sales team members were all managing accounts in different ways," says Michael Averto, CEO and co-founder of ChannelApe.
"We spent a few hours documenting a process, from new customer onboarding through renewal, so that we were all managing accounts the same way and benefiting from strategies others had," he explains. "After doing this, we saved not only time and money, but also improved customer satisfaction."