Finding ways to make business more efficient can be time consuming, but there are plenty of tools, tips and techniques available to help businesses be more cost effective and boost productivity.

Here at The Insurance Octopus, we know the importance of efficiency when it comes to running a smooth and functional business. That’s why we’ve put together some of our favourite tips for making your business more efficient that we think are useful for businesses big and small.

Speed Up Your Workflow

A huge amount of time is spent on administration and sending information back and forth between customers and suppliers. Document sharing is now increasingly popular and with so many free platforms and applications available such as Dropbox and Google Docs is easier than ever.

Anything from communication, data sourcing and payments can be managed from mobile devices, so you can grow your business on the go.

Shorter Meetings Increase Efficiency

Morning catch-up meetings are great for keeping up to date with what everyone in your team is working on, but they also help to ensure that your team is prioritising their time and completing more urgent tasks over non-urgent ones.

One study has shown that sit-down meetings were 34% longer than stand-up meetings, but they produced no better decisions than stand-up meetings. Have you considered holding standing-up meetings to help speed things up?

Smart Office Space

Office space can be a large outlay for smaller or medium businesses.  Sharing meeting rooms and other communal spaces like kitchen facilities will help to reduce costs.

If you are a sole trader this could mean working in an office environment alongside other business as opposed to working from home or a local coffee shop

The added benefit of co-working spaces is that it creates collaboration and creativity between the various businesses and people sharing the space.

Small Changes Can Make a Big Savings

Improve efficiency and make small changes to company expenses procedures.

Look at automated booking and expense programmes to minimise the time and cost involved with reconciling expenses manually. This will also provide an overview of expenditure, which allows businesses to establish clear expense policies, identify key suppliers and negotiate better supplier rates.

Follow up with regular meetings with your suppliers to ensure they continue to meet your needs and to check you are effectively utilising the services they offer.

Manage Staff Expenses

Consider implementing a corporate card programme, which can help oversee and manage employee expenses.

It’s important to ensure that any expense claims are routed appropriately. Depending on the expense type, project or value, you may want to consider configuring your system so that claims are escalated to senior management once certain limits or rule breaches have been triggered.

Keep any forms that need to be filled in simple for the person filling it in as well as for the accounts team.

By carefully managing your staff expenses, you can help to ensure that employees are not being overly enthusiastic when spending company money.

Keep A Firm Grip On Cashflow

“Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, and cashflow is reality”, is an old saying for business owners.

Take a look at your payment process and key customers that make up 80% of your business. If payments on invoices are taking too long try courteous phone calls to your top 5 customers—this could make a big difference to your accounting.

Know your forward order book, only include a confirmed order when it is confirmed, keep it provisional when it is provisional, and be sceptical about anything that is provisional until confirmed.

Stay Connected On The Move

With growing trends of mobile and flexible working, employees are more connected  to the office wherever they are and are increasingly working on the go.  Portable technology offers huge support for business efficiency.

Employees can start to work productively as much as they do whilst on the go as they do when they are sitting at their desk.

For example; imagine your employees being able to print final amends to an important presentation in the car before heading into a meeting or scan important documents when out of the office into a workflow for colleagues back in the office.  Technology is now taking the working environment to the next level.

Become More Efficient With Time

Think about turning off your email and phones at certain points in the day to become productive and take creative thinking time. Create reminders with daily tasks and working prompts, then anything that isn’t completed reassign to a more realistic achievable day.

By practicing and making yourself have a good working routine you can actually become more productive with the time that you have.

Get The Best Deal On Insurance

Trawling insurance companies—either online or by telephone—to find the best deal on business insurance can be extremely costly in time.  Why not speak to us at The Insurance Octopus and we can help you save time by getting multiple comparison business insurance quotes?  Call us today or ask for a free call back.

The Legals

It is a very hectic time starting a business and then actually running the business. More often than not some of the legal matter can be missed or not finalised.

If you have started a business and decided to partner with a someone you know, a friend or a family member, it’s important to have a partnership agreement in place from the word go. You may think this sounds overly official, but without this type of agreement, all sorts of disputes can arise, even between the closest of friends.

Ensuring you have the legal matters sorted from the get-go can help to prevent any costly or damaging issues for the business.

And there you have it! If you have any tips for business start-up or for making our working day more productive let us know over on Twitter @theinsuranceoct.