Advancing technology continues to level the business playing field, enabling SMBs to compete with huge enterprises. That said, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of relying on technology to keep your company competitive. If there’s one thing Moore’s Law teaches us, it’s that today’s tech will soon be outdated – so it behooves business owners to leverage tech as a short-term solution and not solely rely on it. Instead, an efficient business machine requires long term investment in culture-building, process standardization and documentation, in addition to arming your teams with the appropriate tech tools to succeed.
A Word on Culture and Hiring
Remember: short-term fixes mean nothing if there isn't a strong long-term system supporting those changes on an ongoing basis. A part of your business’ long term strategy should include values-based recruitment: hire for the culture you want to have – like, everyone grabbing hold of something and taking ownership – and the system will help support your business in the long run.
Supercharge Your Productivity
- Standardize Your Processes – If any task is completed more than 3 times, you should create an official standard process for it. Defining a standard not only shows what steps are needed to complete a process, but also helps manage expectations around what triggers the process, as well as the goals and outcomes.
- Document Your Processes – Now that you’ve standardized your process, record it. Make sure to include specific trigger(s) (or what initiates the steps), the goal(s) and outcome(s) (what do the steps cumulatively accomplish?), and all the steps required. Recording the process makes the task steps and outcomes more replicable, encourages delegation, and eases the hand-off transition between people.
Give Your Employees the Tools to Succeed
- Centralize in the Cloud - Accidents happen: computers can be damaged, hard drives can overheat and fry, and external hard drives can be misplaced. The solution to this? Enter: the Cloud. There are a myriad tools you can use (like Box, Dropbox, Evernote, and OneDrive) to store business documents digitally. In addition, documentation is centralized for anyone to access when they need it.
- Additional Support – Many companies run a lean organization with a “all-hands-on-deck” mentality. In these cases, it’s tough delegate your work to a teammate or subordinate because their workload is likely just as full as yours. In this case, consider outsourcing work to a virtual assistant or hiring a freelance individual to ease your workload.
Planting seeds for long-term success can be intimidating and difficult. But with the right people, tools, and technology, you’ll be on the path to success.