Businesses spend a lot of time worrying about the front office. An integral cog in every company’s operations, the front office is where businesses meet with customers. Sales associates are in the front office, but there’s a lot that happens behind the scenes, too.
Admin work is often the costliest.
The back office is where business is carried out, and this can include:
- Administration work
All of the tasks that make an office and business run optimally are carried out in the back office. Streamlining these tasks allows a business to save time and money without having to worry about affecting customer service and experience.
Here are six simple ways businesses can streamline admin tasks while boosting productivity at the same time.
1. Outsource Tasks That are Not Your Expertise
New business owners must take on a lot of roles. As a business owner, you’ll often take on the role of:
- Human resource specialist
- Office manager
- Bookkeeper / accountant
- Marketing expert
And these are just a few of the roles that a business owner may take on. It’s a lot of work, but it’s often a necessity. But unless you’re a marketing firm, why should you be in charge of marketing?
If you’re not an accountant, would your time be better spent doing the bookkeeping, or would it be better to hire a payroll provider to take on the work?
When businesses have the resources at their disposal, they should be outsourcing these tasks. Not only will they be better handled by a professional experienced in the field, but you’ll also have a lot more free time to do other, important tasks.
2. Schedule Payments When Possible
Small businesses have a lot of overhead in most cases. One mix-up or forgetful employee may lead to bills going unpaid. You may also have an issue of time wasted paying bills. It takes minutes to pay a bill online, and this is easily overlooked.
But let’s assume that you have a lot of bills to pay.
Why not pay now?
A lot of utilities and companies will allow you to pay for several months of service in advance. This may seem small, but it’s a change that can really add up over time. Hosting companies, for example, will often cut the monthly rate down significantly when you pay upfront.
This allows you to save time and money on:
- Going through mail
- Paying bills
- Sending bills out
When you pay in advance, you’ll also be able to make a larger deduction on your current taxes in many cases, or you can spread out the expenditures.
3. Lower the Amount of Staff Meetings
Staff meetings are great, and sometimes, they’re a necessity. The problem is that a lot of meetings are held without need. You’ll have a handful of employees in the same room, all waiting for the meeting to start.
Business comes to a standstill.
You also have the issue of employees letting their nerves get the best of them. Employees may be worried about the meeting leading to a lack in production.
Most businesses don’t need to have a weekly meeting. Executives complain about spending too much time in meetings, and some 74% of execs state that they doubt the meeting had an effect on the business.
So, consider your need for a meeting.
If you do need to have a meeting, be strategic about the amount of people that need to attend. You can have just one team leader attend, allowing for your business to be more productive and save time in the process.
4. Data Mine and Refine
We live in a world of big data. Businesses are spending more time analyzing data and refining their operations than ever before. Storage is cheap, and there are apps and software that can monitor all aspects of the back office.
Data mining is different for every business, but it can help a business understand where time is wasted.
Let’s assume that you run a web design firm. Employees are often online, reading email or spending time on a website that isn’t going to help them finish their work faster. It happens to every business, but it is a major time sink that lowers production.
There are tools available to monitor all of this traffic and wasted time to determine where employees are wasting time.
Owners of a one-person operation can choose to install plugins on their browser to do this tracking for them:
But these aren’t the only options available. You’ll find a lot of time and activity tracking solutions that will work well for your back office. Through a better understanding of where time is lost, it’s easier to start implementing time-saving changes.
5. Create Boundaries
A lot of new businesses are “winging it.” These businesses are just going with the flow, and they’re trying to make sense of all of their company’s operations. You’ll find that even seasoned, well-established businesses need to create boundaries.
What a lot of businesses are doing are:
- Setting limits on checking email
- Determining when is the best time to make calls
- Setting times when entering and exiting the office
Through boundaries, the back office will start spending more time on important business operations that make money.
6. Stop Procrastinating
Procrastination is not saving you time. It’s so easy to keep pushing things off, and it’s something that I struggled with a lot. What I did was read, and read a lot. Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog! is a book that I highly recommend that you read.
It’s all about procrastinating, and it outlines 21 ways for you to stop putting everything off. The key thing in the book, and I do recommend reading it all, is that you want to do the things you dread first thing in the morning.
This means doing your hardest tasks, or those that will take your most energy, first thing so that you don’t keep putting it off and keeping it in the back of your mind.