This is the fourth article in a series about strengthening your small business’s core values.

To be busy is to be alive—or so it seems these days. An article at Psychology Today affirms that given the option of having more time or more money, people want time and are willing to invest money to gain it. Investing in time-saving solutions makes daily life more efficient. 

If you surveyed 10 people waiting in line—at the grocery store, in a drive-through lane, at the bank—I bet at least 7 would be considering Murphy’s Law. It’s the adage about anything that could go wrong, will. How many of us, when faced with waiting in a long line, feel like we have a knack for picking the line with the longest wait, every time? It’s not a good feeling! 

Waiting in line feels terrible because it feels like a waste of time. And since time is one of our most valuable treasures, anything we can do to multitask or use it more efficiently is a real win. (And waiting in line provides the best perspective for discovering inefficiencies in a system!) Becoming more efficient is important in all aspects of life, including the workplace. That connection between time and efficiency is a top concern for small business owners. Inefficient routines and practices weigh heavily on the budget. From poor customer service to bloated staffing needs to excess (or expired) inventory, inefficiency can take your business down.

Efficiency is all about finding the best use of resources for your business’s success. You need to find the right combination and application of time, people, finances, and inputs. From a financial management perspective, I love this! I want all the parts and pieces moving together without waste or disruption. Here at Officeheads, efficiency is one of our core values, and we frame it like this:

Make a Straight Path from Point A to B 

Framing it in this way helps us remember the goal—getting from point A to B—while recognizing the straightest path may not be the most obvious. That’s the thing about efficiency. It’s not just about finding the fastest route or the cheapest route. 

Efficiency is finding the right mix of inputs that will deliver the best offering to your clients.

Finding the right combination and application of time, people, finances, and inputs isn’t as simple as choosing whatever is fastest or cheapest or requires the least effort. You have to find the mix that delivers the best service and offering to your clients. That may not be the cheapest option, but if it best meets your clients’ needs, then that is the most efficient option. That is the best investment for the long haul.

One of the best examples of efficiency is the Chick-fil-A drive through experience. Customers regularly rave about it, even though research shows the average wait time is the worst in the industry. But customers don’t seem to care. Customers still rate Chick-fil-A’s service as orderly and efficient, despite the long wait times, because Chick-fil-A has determined that the most efficient path from point A to B is not resting solely on the wait. They have placed greater value on a friendly, caring customer/server interaction. And customers are eating it up.

As a core value, efficiency is important for fiscal responsibility, but it must be placed within the framework of serving your customers in a way that keeps them satisfied long term. To do that, you need to define where you are and where you are going. How do you define point A and B? For Chick-fil-A, point B is a friendly, warm, welcoming drive-through encounter. The straight path includes speed, but it is only part of the mix.

How might efficiency be defined for your small business? Start by defining your end goal. Determine what point B is and what inputs are needed to get there. Of course, it’s essential to make sure your financial engine is strong enough to get you to point B! You need wisdom to determine which resources to spend or conserve or cut. That’s where Officeheads can help. Our team is ready to help you get from point A to B by meeting your financial goals. Reach out today to learn more!