3 Free Ways to Run Your Business More Smoothly

These three ideas can help your business operate more smoothly without costing you any money.
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Written by Katherine Fan
Senior Writer, SMB
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Edited by Mary M. Flory
Lead Assigning Editor
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Owning a business is a multifaceted challenge. You're responsible for keeping your clients happy and your employees motivated. Plus, you also need to protect your revenue while simultaneously covering payroll and other business expenses.

Leading a company will always require a healthy tolerance for disruption. But the right toolkit can help you weather the turbulent moments in business and build a more resilient team.

Whether you have just one employee or helm a company of 5,000, these three ideas can help you streamline your business operations without costing you a penny.

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Delegate, delegate, delegate

As your company grows, your management team's ability to delegate directly impacts the business.

"When we don't delegate, we become bottlenecked," says Sabina Nawaz, executive coach to Fortune 500 C-level executives.

Effective delegation eliminates an organization's dependence on a few key decision-makers, freeing leaders to focus on strategic goals instead, Nawaz says.

Nawaz points out that effective delegation requires leaders to collaborate with team members instead of coldly assigning tasks. "Delegation is a dial, not a switch," she says. "You start on a low setting of that dial by bringing somebody alongside of you and having them watch you do the work. Then you teach them, then you guide them, and only then do you flip the switch."

Boost employee morale

High employee turnover can be disruptive for many reasons. Hiring and training new employees costs more than retaining your current workers. And employees can be spooked by seeing other coworkers walk out the door, dampening workplace morale.

"Relationships are essential for smooth operations," Rhonda Scharf, founder and CEO of corporate efficiency firm On The Right Track, said in an email. "If your team has genuine fondness, compassion, and understanding for one another, the entire organization will run more smoothly. If there are no relationships, there is no willingness to go the extra mile for a relative stranger."

Company leaders report a higher sense of belonging and inclusion within their companies when employees feel a strong sense of meaning in their work. That sentiment can stem from knowing that they are making a difference in the lives of others or that their research and development is innovative and unique.

Conducting "stay" interviews is a cost-free way to build retention and trust with your employees. "Especially right now in the face of the 'Great Resignation,' every conversation you have with an employee is a re-recruitment conversation," Nawaz says. So rather than waiting to ask for feedback during an exit interview, proactive leaders regularly schedule meetings that offer a safe environment where employees can voice their concerns without fear of career repercussions.

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Simplify collaboration

Effective tools make a huge difference for teamwork and productivity, especially as companies continue to maintain remote-friendly workplaces.

Project management tools like Asana or Trello improve efficiency by combining smaller tasks for a larger project within a single software system. After creating a team project, users can assign individual tasks to one another, request help and track overall progress toward completion. Asana offers a free basic plan for up to 15 users, while Trello's basic plan is free for unlimited users.

If your business would benefit from eye-catching graphics, don't worry about hiring a graphic designer just yet. Design platform Canva offers templates and designs that can be customized for any messaging. The basic plan is free, while the Pro version supports up to five users with enhanced services for $119.99 per year.