These days, we’re all running low on a lot of things: time, energy, motivation, efficiency…the list goes on. We’ve all had to learn how to do more with less…or at least maintain our productivity levels as best we can. And like individuals, businesses are facing many of the same challenges on a larger scale. Last year, layoffs led to personnel shortages all around. Many companies still don’t have the ability to hire back to their former capacity. Other factors contributing to a general resource deficit include an almost complete shift to remote work and operating with fewer sales, clients, and customers. So in a world where we’re operating with reduced resources, businesses can either do more, do less, or do more with less.
5 Ways to Do More with Less
Give your employees adequate, even abundant, training.
We can no longer rely on a large staff to ensure that work gets completed so that nothing falls through the cracks. Instead, the name of the game is efficiency. A reduced number of employees must have higher productivity levels to balance what a larger workforce could do before.
While there are many ways to help boost productivity, one way is through excellent and abundant training. Whether you’re onboarding a new employee or offering training to seasoned workers, providing relevant and quality training to employees will not only literally help them do their jobs better, but it will also let them know that you care about them and want to invest in their careers.
Ensure each employee truly understands the operations of the business.
In many businesses, especially large ones, it’s easy for employees to fall into their own niche. But businesses can help employees get to know the entire organization. Then, employees can share ideas and gain a more holistic view of the company and its goals.
Frequent virtual meetings allow teams to connect more regularly, despite not being physically present together in an office. Businesses should capitalize on these meetings to allow employees from various departments to cross-pollinate their ideas and experiences. This way, each employee knows the business a bit better and understands how they fit into the organization’s larger picture.
Harness the power of relationships.
Whether organizational or personal, there is no doubt that the relationships businesses and their employees build in their industry are critical to success. Discuss a hot industry topic in a LinkedIn group, ask a burning question on a virtual happy hour, or reach out to an industry contact for their recommendations on a topic. In today’s world, we must rely on each other for support and assistance. People are often willing to share ideas or offer some advice to help out an industry contact. After all, the resources of many are always better than the resources of a few.
Limitation (of your budget) breeds freedom.
Here’s where we could take a card from our friends in the non-profit world. Because the goal of a non-profit isn’t to maximize profit—and because they often don’t operate on regular income—non-profits have learned how to check, re-check, balance, evaluate, and maintain their budgets, something the for-profit world has yet to master.
In her book Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business, Nancy Lublin encourages businesses to operate on a realistic budget, constantly evaluating the ins and outs of finances. In fact, Lublin even encourages businesses to reduce their budget. Operating with more limits forces businesses to think more innovatively than they would with a larger operating budget.
And instead of protesting against them, businesses that embrace the limits almost always end up with better results. Those who accept they have fewer resources to complete their work are forced to think creatively and thus spend more time searching for a solution instead of worrying about what could have been. Steering your business toward these unique solutions more quickly gives you a competitive edge for the future. Since many of us are actually operating with a lower budget than in the past, it’s time to get creative.
Set higher goals—set unrealistic goals.
Grant Cardone, in his book The 10x Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure, discusses the idea of setting unrealistic goals—goals that others will tell you are ridiculous or that you’ll never achieve. People who have only easily attainable goals are much more likely to lose motivation and give up on those goals. But those who shoot for the sky can wake up every day being excited about reaching that goal.
Like we discussed in the point above, constraint often breeds freedom. Even though many of us are operating with drastically reduced resources, let’s allow the creativity of limitation push us to new heights. Such constraints, coupled with ambitious goals, can motivate teams to throw in the towel on standard operating procedures and push those radical, and maybe even fringe, ideas to come to the fore.
When we let limitations breed innovation, utilize our professional relationships, and help our employees to understand and thrive in the organization through ongoing education, we can keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. We can keep learning how to do more with less.