Charles Darwin caused a great deal of controversy when, in 1859, he published his now world famous magnum opus ‘On the Origin of Species’. It was important for many reasons but the one that caused so much trouble, and which reputedly made him consider destroying the manuscript rather than publishing it, was that he knew that he would face so much criticism from religious people who saw in his work a rebuke (it was actually a refutation) to what they saw as being the proof of God’s wisdom and omnipotence. It stills causes controversy today as the debate about whether evolution should be taught in schools continues to rage on. The book is now world famous, and yet it is often misunderstood. When Darwin wrote about ‘the survival of the fittest’, he was not referring to the athleticism or strength of certain animals and suggesting that for that reason, they would survive. He was describing the fact, observed in nature every day, that the animals which survive are the ones that are most suited to their environments. According to Darwin, creatures like snails and jellyfish, which may not seem all that advanced, are actually marvels of evolution exactly because they have survived for so long and continue to do so. They are perfectly adapted to their environment, and that allows them to succeed.
The exact same thing is true in business. Someone may start a business and have immense amounts of money to do it, but if they do not adapt themselves to their environment, they will quickly find themselves unable to compete with their more innovative rivals. Surviving in the world of business necessitates that you are aware of all sorts of different things, from changes in labor laws to shifts in the stock market, and more importantly, that you are able to adapt. To do this, your business will need to be as efficient as possible. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses is one thing, but you will also need to know how to make existing parts of your business perform better than they currently do. Here are a few ways that you may be able to do it:
Something that you often hear, from both private citizens and businesses alike, is that they are having cash flow problems. This refers to the fact that their money is not immediately available to them for a variety of reasons. It may be that they have invested a lot of money in getting their business off the ground and they are waiting for their return, or that they have completed work for which they are waiting to be paid. This can be particularly difficult because doing work on behalf of a client (whether it is delivering something to the other side of the country or doing their taxes) requires both time and resources, which both mean money. If you have to wait for the end of the month for your client to get around to paying their invoices, it may slow you down in investing more time and resources in future projects. If you find yourself with this problem, you should find out about freight bill factoring. This means that a company will pay you on behalf of your clients and let you get on with running your business. They will take a small commission but if it means that your business does not stagnate, it is money worth spending; you will likely lose more chasing up your clients, which is time better spent working for your new ones.
Another area of your business that you may be able to streamline is your workforce. It is not particularly pleasant when you have to fire someone, but if it is the difference between your business (and your livelihood) succeeding or failing, it becomes a necessary step. While employees are great, they can sometimes be rather inefficient. For example, a recent study found that an incredible 89% of people admit to wasting time at work each day. 38% of that wasted time is spent on social media. A separate study estimates that Twitter alone costs the British economy £1.38 billion a year. If you notice that your employees are not working as hard they could or should be, you may be better off letting them go and finding someone who is more committed to the company and the goals that you are trying to achieve.
While it may seem rather callous, the reality is that technology is now able to perform certain jobs more efficiently and at a lower cost. Employing someone to answer your phones may seem like a good idea because you want your customers to continue to have a human interaction with you, but automated phone services are much cheaper, and they never make a mistake. Not only that, they do not take weekends off or ever fall ill. Business can be incredibly competitive, and if you allow yourself to make a decision for any other reason than efficiency, you may quickly find yourself not able to compete at all. That is why it is important to use the best small business phone systems.
Another great way of streamlining your business is to outsource everything that you can. Whether this means letting someone else take care of your HR department, or relying on a company to take care of your transit needs rather than investing in a fleet of trucks and drivers yourself, it can be more efficient and more cost effective. You should make the market work for you. If one company does not offer you a good enough price, or they do not perform their job well enough, hire one of their competitors. The government legislates against monopolies and unfair business practices for exactly this reason: the free market spurs innovation and progress. Use that to your advantage.
Some people may think that simply surviving and making enough money to get by is good enough, but life can quickly become boring if you do not have any ambition. No company in the world is run perfectly and there are always areas in which too much money is spent for too little return, or resources are not used to their best advantage. If you spend time making yourself more efficient, you will make more money.