How can you make your business more efficient? Here's what successful entrepreneurs advise.
Lifehacker's Simplifying Small Business series of tips is presented by Vodafone.
We've gathered together some of the best tips from our weekly Elevator Pitch column to address the question: how can you streamline and enhance your business? This is advice forged from experience.
Fail fast and don't dither
Rod Bishop of Jayride is a proponent of trying approaches quickly, keeping the ones that help and dumping the ones that don't:
If we have something that fails, for example a new feature on the website, we learn from that failure and improve Jayride for the future. Constantly making small failures so that you can learn from your mistakes lets you learn faster, and move faster than everyone else.
Outsource anything you can
Don't be afraid to outsource. Your time can be spent on your own core competencies, and finding the right people to do what they know best for your company pays off in buckets.
Don't waste too much time in meetings
Ash Davies of Tablo warns of the potential distraction of spending too much time seeking funds and not enough time improving life for customers:
It's so easy to become distracted by fundraising and focus more on meetings than creating a great experience for your users. There are a lot of distractions in the startup world. We place our users first.
Make use of cloud computing
Centralising business documents in the cloud can save significant amounts of time. Tom Davies from Chappelli Cycles is a big fan of Dropbox:
It's awesome. All our companies' images and important documents are located there for everybody to access as needed no matter where we are or what device we are on. Now, everything is always up to date and our various stores, distributors and partners can have access to the latest documents or images at any time.
Clear out apathetic employees
Staff who don't care are often more trouble than they're worth. Tony Delaney from Brownie Points sums up the importance of team choice rather than team size:
The biggest challenge to the business is apathy. Employers who do not understand the value of happy, focused, motivated and engaged employees who can make a major contribution to the success of the business are failing their business.
Choose a focus and stick to it
A recurring theme when we chat to entrepreneurs is not trying to bit off more than you can chew. As Jeremy Tompkins from Brief It noted: "You can't be everything to everybody. We've put this into play by deciding that we are not going to be a site for free legal advice and not going after that market."
Brad Thomas from Vindl reached a similar conclusion after being given just three words of advice — "mobile is king":
This simple piece of advice forced us to pivot substantially and put the majority of our resources into our mobile app development. We had originally started with a website, but changed as a result of these words. It means we're about to see an explosion in mobile usage and capability. Like most startups, we needed to prioritise where our money went and this piece of advice gave us the strength and guidance to do that.
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