Small businesses are at the heart of our economy, with more than two million operating across the nation and more than half a million Australians involved in startup activity at any point in time. As a business catalyst, I dedicate my time to helping these companies thrive and reach their full potential.
Small business owners wear many hats and often find it difficult to strike the delicate balance between working in the business and working on the business. We all know we should spend more time on big picture activities such as marketing, recruitment and business growth, however the day-to-day tasks have a tendency to monopolise our time, rather than delivering what customers want in an efficient and effective way.
In 2014, I founded Nine Pillars, a business consulting agency, which aims to help educate Australian business owners on how to increase efficiency and find ways to simplify internal administrative processes. We want to show Aussie businesses how to work smarter, not harder and to get them thinking about their big picture goals to sustain long-term business growth.
We encourage clients to break down their overall challenge into smaller, more palatable chunks which work together to provide a big picture view. Here are three areas you can focus on to improve business efficiency and free up time to work on the business:
Use technology to lighten your load
Many small businesses have not embraced new forms of technology which can help streamline business efforts. I’ve experienced the benefits first hand; in the past, I carried around a huge paper folder for each client with every piece of correspondence printed and organised inside. Now I use my tablet, Evernote to organise meeting notes and correspondence, Dropbox to share files, Google Sheets for team collaboration, and cloud-based Intuit QuickBooks Online to manage the books.
Get to know your numbers
Having previously worked as an accountant and business manager, I’m a keen numbers guy and believe they’re the language of business. It pays to speak the language if you want to succeed. The first thing I do when working with a new client is to deep-dive into their financials and operations. You can do this too, the idea here is to clarify your position in the market and determine where you want to be. Through deep analysis of the business’ financial situation, we are able to pull out insights on how to grow the company in a profitable way. From there the business owner can determine the right mix of tools and tactics that will help them work smarter, not harder.
Move to the cloud
I’m constantly spruiking the importance of moving to the cloud – particularly when it comes to doing the books. Cloud accounting has a wide range of benefits to help efficiency in everyday business. Personally, I use Intuit Quickbooks Online. Business owners can review their books to uncover insights, which means a higher standard of forecasting and decision making.
Overall your goal should always be to achieve more in the same amount of time – this will increase efficiency and profitability. It’s something that’s completely achievable if you have good business systems that make the business run smoothly and free up your time to work on the business.
About the author:
Anil Puri is a Director at Nine Pillars – a Sydney-based consultancy dedicated to helping Australian companies thrive and reach their potential. He has an accountant’s training, a businessman’s sensibilities, an educator’s mentality and a love of technology, all of which make him a great resource for entrepreneurs needing a helping hand.