Saving money, time and effort. What business isn’t keen on achieving these big-ticket goals?
The issue is getting there, given that so many businesses are crushed by the weight of the daily grind.
Omania Terry has four words of wisdom for owners and managers: ‘Press the pause button’. No, Omania isn’t a wellness guru. She’s an efficiency expert who believes businesses must focus on “getting the right things right”.
“Businesses can’t afford to toss money out the window, but many do every day,” says Omania. “And businesses can’t afford to work inefficiently, which does nothing more than burn teams out, decrease morale and lead to poor customer service, but many do every day.”
Omania, who has a Masters’ of Business Administration, says achieving efficiency in business isn’t as overwhelming as many might think but it requires a methodical approach.
“If everyone on the team is on the fly, with no time to put in place an efficiency project manager, then the person at the top would be wise to seek external help,” says Omania. “It’s amazing what an independent, external expert can see and how quickly they can map a straightforward, realistic plan of attack for the three main areas that are fertile ground for inefficiencies in business—people, technology and finance.”
“I worked with one CEO who was determined to recruit new staff to cope with a burst of new business,” says Omania. “After a quick and objective analysis, I recommended that a simple restructure was the way to go. That business saved $250,000 right off the bat and employees were excited to gain new responsibilities and opportunities to grow.”
When aiming to gain efficiency, Omania says businesses should always streamline systems and processes. Implementing new or improving existing procedures is invaluable, as is improving productivity.
“This type of exercise is often straightforward,” says Omania. “At other times it involves designing and rolling out major change, but even this can often be achieved quickly. Restructuring office management and backend support usually leads to big gains.”
Another area often ripe for efficiency is supplier relationships. Omania recommends that businesses conduct an audit, assess value-for-money, and source new suppliers, if required. “Businesses get used to using the same suppliers because it’s easy,”’ says Omania, “but they need to be on top of what’s available in the market—what’s on offer, how much it costs and what’s best for the business competitively.”
One business Omania worked with, reworked systems, reduced staffing numbers, and increased profit by tens of thousands. Another reshaped processes, lightening the load for the CEO and the team, improving staff morale and striking a healthy work-life balance along the way. Still another pulled off a national conference without getting behind on regular work priorities.
“When sourcing an efficiency expert, don’t be oversold,” says Omania. “The best efficiency experts are prepared to dip in and out depending on where the business is at, often coming in to develop strategy and then returning periodically for health checks,” says Omania. “We start with a three-hour consultation and map from there. That’s all the time it takes to get moving.”