After the ﬁrst time I hosted a Thanksgiving dinner at my house, I swore I would never do it again. I had no idea what it took to feed 14 people a traditional turkey dinner with all the proper ﬁxings. And I didn’t see the seriousness of the situation until it was too late: An hour before guests were to arrive, the turkey wasn’t in the oven, the kitchen looked like a small tornado had just passed through it, and I’d spent almost double the amount of money it would cost had I simply ordered a pre-cooked dinner from the supermarket.
At the end of the evening, all I wanted to do was fall into a deep coma and never see my kitchen again. I hardly enjoyed the food or the time with my guests because I was busy putting out ﬁres in the kitchen.
If I had planned my time better, organized my kitchen and been more aware of the costs involved, I could have avoided this disaster. I vowed to never have that kind of a day again. In fact, I promised to completely change the way I ran my kitchen.
Unfortunately, the degree of my disorganization had to get to a point where I had worked myself to exhaustion for me to grasp the seriousness of the situation. I knew there had to be a better way. But the real wake-up call came the following Monday morning when I realized that similar stress and frustrations existed in my business. My ofﬁce was a mess. I was working way too many hours, and I wasn’t making money. My kitchen was simply a reﬂection of what was going on in the rest of my life. What was missing in both my business and my kitchen was efficiency. If my business was better organized and had efficient systems in place, I could have less stress and make more money.
Luckily, the symptoms of an inefficient and unorganized business aren’t hard to recognize. Are you and your team working overtime or around the clock? Is your inbox out of control? Are the freedom and income you desire absent from your business? If you answered “yes” to any of these, your business is missing efficient systems and processes.
Since my Thanksgiving debacle, I have applied several strategies in both my kitchen and business that will help you get organized and increase your efﬁciency, as well. Running a kitchen is no different from running a business. A good kitchen is well-designed, organized, clean and prepped for a successful cooking experience. In the same way, you, your ﬁrm and your customers will have a better business experience once you take steps to be more organized.
Efficiency describes the extent to which time, effort or cost are well-used for the intended task, purpose or goal. The ultimate result of being efficient is being more effective. Efficiency is a measurable concept, quantitatively determined by the ratio of output to input. The output is the result, and the input is the cost. Peter E. Drucker, the well-known management consultant, educator and author, said it best: “Efficiency is doing things right, while effectiveness is doing the right things.”
It’s a simple equation: lower input (cost and maintenance) equals higher output (proﬁts). To develop this mind-set, ask yourself, “How can I get this done right and spend the least amount of time, energy and money?” You should consider this question before embarking on any activity that inﬂuences the results of your business. Every system and process in your business should point at making things more efficient and productive.
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