Careers Business Ownership Top Ways to Streamline Your Business Share PINTEREST Email Print Portra Images / Getty Images Business Ownership Operations & Success Operations & Technology Sustainable Businesses Supply Chain Management Marketing Market Research Business Law & Taxes Business Insurance Business Finance Accounting Industries Becoming an Owner By James Bucki James Bucki James Bucki has nearly two decades of experience in consulting, manufacturing, publishing, healthcare, banking, and education. He is also the director of computing technology at Genesee Community College. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 07/29/19 Efficiency can be increased in a number of ways if you're starting to feel like your workplace is on the verge of spiraling into chaos. But running a business can be complex, and you might not know where to start to begin restoring order. You can assess six key areas to decide if they can be streamlined to increase productivity. Remember to evaluate the impact that each of these will have on your bottom line as well as how they'll affect your customers, suppliers, employees, and business partners. Reduce Paper One of the quickest ways to streamline your business is to look at the paper flow. Paperwork can quickly pile up and add unnecessary lead times in a variety of areas. Ask the following questions of everyone who handles or creates a paper as you trace the paper trail. What information did he add to the paperwork and why was it necessary? What information did he take from the paperwork and why did he need it? Was this paperwork important for him in performing his job? If he responds, "Because it's always been done that way," this area of the process is almost certainly a prime candidate for streamlining and reducing paperwork. Information should be eliminated to reduce the amount of work necessary to process paperwork if each piece can't be justified. Another area affected by paperwork is filing and storage. File cabinets and storage boxes take up valuable office space. Use a document management system to archive paperwork for long-term storage and retrieval. This will free up office space that's presently being occupied by and wasted on paper storage. Reduce Your Business Cellphone Charges Saving money on cellphone business usage can be a quick and easy fix. Competition in the general cellphone market is fierce, and it's even more so for business cellphone customers. You can take advantage of the current marketplace and shop around to save money. Empower Your Employees Employees on the front line and in the trenches know their jobs better than anyone. The best employees have been with the company for a long time and they know the processes and decisions inside and out. Look for areas where supervisors and managers are involved in day-to-day operations of the business. These will be the most common areas that might benefit from empowering your employees. Trust them, share with them, and delegate the important stuff, not just the grunt labor. Remember, every time you make a decision or interaction out of the workflow, you improve its efficiency. B2B With Customers, Suppliers, and Partners Business to business (B2B) communications, also called e-commerce, goes way beyond just having a storefront on your website. Having the ability to share electronic information automatically will determine which businesses thrive and which ones struggle to keep afloat. Benefits of B2B communications include better customer service, increased sales, reduced inventory, capital savings, improved cash flow, and reduced lead times. Consolidate Software Do you have one piece of software for order entry and another for accounting? Is there yet another for inventory control? Do you employ somebody to key the data from one system into another? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you could benefit from an integrated software platform. A variety of packages is available today to meet the needs of small companies as well as large ones. Outsource No business is too large or too small to reap the numerous benefits of outsourcing. Restaurants can benefit as well as small businesses. There are many reasons to outsource a variety of functions. Planning and preparation are key if you want to successfully implement outsourcing.