Partnered Post. This post has been contributed to TheVisualCommunicationGuy.com.
To truly be successful at something in life, you need to understand how to become optimal. You have to embrace the idea of getting as much as possible for the least investment—that’s the simple way of explaining optimization. But let’s use an example to understand what we’re really talking about.
What is Optimization?
Let’s say you’re the only person in your business. You’re running a company as a solo entrepreneur with no other members of staff to assist you and you’re doing everything on your own. Since you’re inexperienced at most things outside of being creative with your business ideas, it’s taking you a long time to deal with your finances and bookkeeping. As an example, let’s assume that you spend roughly two hours each day managing your money. You track both incoming and outgoing, and you also calculate all of your taxes. After those hours are up, you’re ready to continue the rest of your work. This sounds fair, and you’ll grow your business at a fair decent pace as a solo entrepreneur, but here comes the problem: those two hours of work are eating up time.
You could’ve spent those two hours networking with clients, building new contacts for your business, recruiting staff or even developing a new business strategy. In other words, time is money and your time is better spent doing something else. To be optimal in this situation, your options are to either learn how to crunch the numbers faster, improve your accounting methods with something such as cloud accounting software, or hire someone else to do the work for you. These all take money and time. Learning how to do accounting faster will take some time to learn, purchasing a cloud accounting software subscription will take money, and hiring an accountant will take even more money.
As you can see, optimization involves spending more money in order to make more money. This is the simple rule of how all businesses work—you invest money into your company to make even bigger gains. This is the mindset that every business owner should have, and it’s a critical way of thinking if you want to improve your company and grow it. Now that you have a good understanding of what optimization is, here are a couple of fantastic ideas to optimize your business.
Support your staff
One of the most common places to optimize your business is by improving your staff. However, “improving” is a very broad term that could mean a number of different things, but here are a couple of suggestions to help you brainstorm.
First of all, you need to focus on employee satisfaction. Think of it this way; if you have a staff member operating at 50% efficiency (arbitrary number for the sake of example) then they’re going to be worth roughly 50% of their salary. How you calculate this efficiency is difficult, but it’s largely based on their satisfaction. If an employee comes to work sick and they work at 40% efficiency because they’re slow, they’re going to the toilet all the time and they can’t focus, then are they worth the hourly wage you’re paying them? It’s a difficult decision to make if you can’t crunch the numbers quickly enough, and trying to guess how efficiently they are operating can be a difficult task. With this in mind, it’s always a good investment to ensure that your staff at happy at their jobs and nothing is hindering them from doing good work. Aim to have your staff working at maximum efficiency by ensuring they are happy, content with their career choice, and supported properly.
Another way to focus on your staff is to ensure they have the right at-work support. A common example is with IT support for business. Let’s assume that your staff don’t understand how to fix a computer. If something breaks, then that member of staff who uses that computer will have their efficiency cut entirely because they can’t access a computer. It will take several hours to call a technician to come and repair it, and there’s a chance the hardware is completely broken and that member of staff will need to use someone else’s computer or be sent home. A contingency plan needs to be formed in scenarios like this. Have an IT support team ready and waiting so they can not only fix problems instantly, but they can also monitor computer hardware to predict failures and plan ahead by ordering components ahead of time.
Record Data and Analyze It
Optimization heavily depends on statistical evidence. As mentioned above, employees need to be rated on their efficiency in order to determine if they’re a worthwhile investment for your business or not. In order to calculate an employee’s efficiency, you need to have statistical evidence to base your claims or else you could be making a serious mistake. For starters, make sure that your member of staff has their hours and work tracked. This will help you form a basic understanding of how much work they’re doing, how fast it’s being completed, and the quality of the work they are doing.
By comparing these numbers against the employee’s salary, you can get a rough idea of how much they are actually contributing to your company. In a sense, the effort your employees put in can be quantified and once you get a rough idea of how well they are performing, you can make an educated decision that is backed up by statistical evidence on whether you should keep an employee or not.
The same applies to systems in your business as well. If you want to improve your website, then you first need to understand how much gain you’re getting back on your investment (the hosting and design of your website). You can track the number of users connecting to your website and you can also see how many times they’ve returned, the most popular pages on your website and so on. It goes without saying that trying to make decisions without having the information required to back it up can be difficult, which is why recording and analysing data is such a big deal.