Being effective in small business is critically important today. As small business owners, we are bombarded by ways in which to grow businesses and it often seems like doing MORE is the only path to success. When we begin to scale back, we often look first to being more efficient. Getting “more” done better. We confuse efficiency with being effective. We can be efficient without being effective. Our systems may be great at streamlining our processes and yet our growth may be stagnant. We are able to do more but we aren’t always focused on the “right” more to do.
“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” – Peter Drucker
As entrepreneurs, we need to recognize our core strengths and build around ourselves those that can help us optimize our weaknesses. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Being effective in small business is essential but it’s also important to be efficient. We do not want to be one or the other but build a system for our small business growth that is both. Let’s dig a bit further into the difference between being effective and efficient. We will also share three keys habits that will help you to achieve both for yourself and your business.
What is Efficient
According to Drucker efficiency is defined as, “Doing things right.” Efficiency is often synonymous with productivity. The core principles of efficiency include eliminating waste and streamlining processes. We understand that we have limited resource and to find the best uses for our energies is core to success. Where is our time best spent? Which areas of need are the most important?
Removing obstacles comes by analyzing the energy drains on our time. We need tools that help us to gather data on where we are spending our resources and which investments are bringing us a return. Efficiency, in the extreme, can remove the art from an organization and make it only science. As entrepreneurs, we want to bring both beauty and technical skill to our efforts.
What is Effective
Drucker defines effectiveness as, “Doing things the right way.” Whether we have our plan mapped out and all the details in order or we are fumbling through, it is important to move towards our vision. Even when our resources are limited, or running low, we can develop ways to remain productive. As we have noted previously, “You don’t have to be unproductive when faced with times when there are limited resources. Getting the most of these opportunities just requires some careful planning.”
We want to do things the right way. Our goals include developing a plan and follow it through. It’s important that we remain open to new information and adapt our system as we work through obstacles. Starting with a good foundation will enable us to create ways to be more efficient in our entrepreneurial journey. With a clarity of purpose, we can optimize our ability to be both effective and efficient. If you don’t know where to start, let us share a few simple to execute disciplines that will enable you to keep yourself on the right path.
How to Be More Effective in Your Small Business
Drucker championed the concept of management by objectives (also self-control) whereby he distinguished between needs and goals rather than a single value as the guiding principle for an organization. When we prioritize our goals we enable ourselves to focus on the things that are most important to us. Eliminating distractions will bring us the greatest leverage for our opportunities. Doing the right things should include reducing energy spent on the wrong things.
There are so many tools available to the modern entrepreneur. Taking the time to invest in automating your systems will boost your efficiency. Being able to focus on the areas where you can be the most effective can be achieved through automating your processes. We have broken down some of the best scheduling programs that can help you automate. Having the right tools will assist you to minimize redundancy and thus save you time. Many online and mobile applications are available to help keep you on track, on schedule and working optimally are worth utilizing.
In the spirit of efficiency and effectiveness, Peter Drucker said, “Do what you do best and outsource the rest.” While outsourcing on a national level can have negative connotations, at the personal level this can be very positive. Reaching out to expand your network of professionals can be a boost to your abilities. You may not be ready to hire full time help, but hiring a virtual assistant can be cost effective and a huge productivity boost. We have broken down what you can expect when you hire a virtual assistant as a guide to this process.
As small business owners, we want to be effective and efficient. If we struggle with one or the other we need to bring people and resources around us that fill in some of those gaps. Many of the greatest boosts to our abilities are simple habits such as elimination, automation and delegation. Take some time to identify your areas of need and to work through these three core disciplines so that you can start this year off with the right momentum.
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