When business is slow for protracted periods of time, managers and owners adjust by cutting costs where they can. In the most severe cases, they end up firing many employees and cutting off poorly performing lines of business. However, if your own situation is not as dire, you would do well to cut costs while keeping your company intact for as long as possible. To do this, follow our tips:
Reset your priorities
As of this writing, the country is getting back on its feet after her long bout with COVID-19. Vaccination programs are being rolled out, though the confluence of vaccination hesitancy and the rise of new viral strains may make America relapse back to severe lockdowns. In short, the country is not out of the woods yet, and external conditions may change drastically.
Such significant changes often mean that businesses must shift directions and focus on other priorities. To illustrate, film studios had to change production methods to comply with health protocols, and they gave greater importance to serving digital content streamers over theater goers.
Reevaluate your priorities and adjust your operations accordingly. What your team was gung ho about at the beginning of the year might not be what you should be focusing on right now. For example, if you own a restaurant and have allocated much of your resources to making food deliveries, you may want to shift back to providing dine-in services if conditions in your area allow you to do so.
Use a priorities matrix
A simple way to reset your priorities is by listing down tasks in an Eisenhower or priorities matrix. This matrix is a 4-quadrant grid in which the left and right columns are for “Urgent” and “Not urgent” tasks respectively, whereas the top and bottom rows are for “Important” and “Not important” tasks respectively. Urgency indicates how time-sensitive or how soon tasks must be accomplished. Importance, on the other hand, refers to how necessary a task is to the company’s survival.
Let’s take a look at each quadrant and what you need to do with the tasks you place in it:
- Urgent and important tasks – Accomplish these first.
- Urgent but not important tasks – Don’t let these distract you from doing tasks that are both urgent and important. It may be best to outsource these or delegate them to interns or probationary employees.
- Important but not urgent tasks – Prepare to handle these by doing long-term planning.
- Tasks that are neither urgent nor important – These take too long and/or don’t add much value to your business, so you're better off not tackling them at all.
Minimize redundant work by eliminating silos
When departments and teams aren’t transparent and don’t communicate with one another, they’ll form information silos — collections of data that are exclusive to only one party. Because other parties are not aware that such data already exists, they may spend time and effort gathering the same data and doing the same things the first party already did to it. To illustrate, a marketing report and a sales report may convey the same findings and reach the same conclusions if the marketing and sales departments don’t talk with each other.
One way to eliminate silos is by having managers regularly transmit important updates via company-wide communication channels. Another way is by sending a company-wide monthly email or newsletter sharing what your team has been and is currently up to. By letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing, then the left hand won’t have to do the same thing anymore.
Trim your IT fat
One easy area where you can save money is your app or software subscriptions. Take a closer look at all the programs you’re paying for, then determine how much your team actually uses these. You can let go of unused or barely used apps first, unsubscribe from redundant software services next. Seek the help of an IT professional who can streamline your IT infrastructure and optimize it for business growth.
Furthermore, you may have yet to maximize the utility of your most-used apps. You could have everyone learn more about what they can do with those apps and apply their newfound knowledge to achieve greater efficiencies.
Automate and use templates where you can
Your staff may be needlessly spending time doing things manually when they could simply let a software program do those automatically. For example, copy-pasting data entries from one app’s form to another app’s form or data sheet could be a mind-numbing and soul-crushing task. However, a quick inter-app integration could programmatically do the copy-pasting instead. This leaves the employee free to accomplish higher-value tasks.
Another way that staff members could save time and effort is by using document templates. By using templates, users don’t have to burn time researching what the document ought to look like and then applying the proper formatting. Instead, they would just have to fill in the template’s blanks.
Let our IT experts at Safebit help you optimize your IT expenditures. Drop us a line today.