The idea has been germinating for some time, the planning is in place and the slimline tech startup is ready to roll. The savvy small business owner will be wanting the operation to be as efficient as possible, ensuring that everything runs smoothly, customers are satisfied with their products or services, employees are content with their working circumstances and money comes flowing in.
Of course, everything would be so simple if all of the above worked as it should, but few things are perfect in this world, and slimline tech startups will need to face many challenges, similar to the challenges faced by many larger organizations.
A major challenge can be efficiency, especially when the business is small and may not have many employees or a significant level of investment available. Costs may also be under pressure and a need to reduce them may be necessary. How can a business become more efficient?
For many business owners, efficiency is all about reducing costs, and although that may be one method, it’s not simply a question of cutting away a certain percentage. Actions such as making people redundant, not using contractors for essential services, reducing training and banning travel may all have an effect on the bottom line, but not always in the way intended.
If contractors have been used, who will carry out the tasks they performed? Resources in-house is the usual answer, but resources can become overstretched, leading to people taking time off work for stress or sickness and impacting on operational efficiency. A reduction in training could mean that employees do not have the depth of knowledge needed to satisfy customers, potentially leading to loss of business and the consequent impact on revenue streams.
If employees become demotivated, the quality of their work is likely to suffer, and this too has a knock-on effect on productivity and customer relations.
Business owners can develop efficiencies without necessarily needing to do any of the above by examining business processes to see which are working most efficiently and why, then prioritizing work on those processes that are not contributing well to overall turnover.
Automating certain processes, such as invoicing, databases and accounting procedures, can improve the speed that tasks are achieved by cutting down on manual activity and human error, leaving employees to concentrate on developing and maintaining the customer base.
Outsourcing vs in house
Administration can be a time-consuming problem for small businesses. Employees who should be concentrating on the core business will often have to spend effectively unproductive time on admin tasks such as payroll or legislation and compliance issues. Many small tech businesses, especially those who contract their services out, find it cost-effective to use a company such as Atlantic Umbrella to take care of these administrative aspects. By using an umbrella company, business can free up employees who would otherwise be working on these and other issues, such as tax, allowing them to concentrate on work that directly impacts on bringing more revenue through the door. The cost of the services is small compared to paying the salary and costs of an employee.