The one advantage of being a startup is flexibility. Your company may not have the resources of your more established competitors, but you have the ability to learn from their mistakes and form your entire business strategy from scratch without having to worry about the costs of switching to or from an established program.
One of the most effective strategies that a startup business can take on is known as “flextime scheduling”. What is this weird looking word, you ask? We can take a look at the practice by comparing some of the things that established businesses do to some of the things that they should do but may not be able to consider for one reason or another.
What is flextime scheduling?
There are many and varied definitions of flextime scheduling, but the core competency behind the term is saving a business money while increasing productivity by taking advantage of more flexible scheduling. This may include outsourcing non-core competencies to third party professional agencies or outsourcing sales or other aspects of the business to independent contractors. Even your core employees may be able to take advantage of flextime scheduling, actually working less while producing more, at once raising morale and creating higher productivity for the company.
How can a company work less and actually produce more?
Part of the answer to this question is based in biology - the human body is not made to perform the same repetitive task over and over again from 9 AM to 5 PM endlessly until it drops from exhaustion 40 years later. Simply allowing people to follow the natural ebb and flow of the body will increase productivity. Most people tend to do their best work in short bursts. Why should they be forced to sit at a desk when their brains are not working at full capacity and their bodies are aching to be anywhere else? Moreover, why should you pay them for this time? Exploring different methods of flexible scheduling with an appropriate payment structure saves the company money by paying only for the productive hours that an employee puts in.
Companies can also increase their productivity by outsourcing to people who do certain things faster than the company itself can. If you need new shoes, you can spend years learning how to make them, or you can simply go to the store and have your pick of the products of master craftsmen and be done with the task in 15 minutes. The same concept applies to all non-core competencies that a business has to take on. If a company does not have the in-house staff to properly perform search engine optimization, it would be foolish to try to teach itself when there are plenty of third party organizations that could handle the job.
Lose the storefront!
If outsourcing is done properly, it can completely virtualize the entire office. This means that a company will exist without a physical storefront, saving that company the risks and the expenses that come with maintaining that storefront. This is very possible for any company to do, even those that specialize in inventory and sales. With drop shipping rates falling to all time lows, there is no reason that you have to keep inventory in a warehouse storage space unless you just want to.
The Cost of Human Resources
Politics aside, the hard numbers are in on Obamacare. The cost of insuring your employees just went through the roof, spelling murder for many a small business that did not have the foresight to outsource, virtualize and otherwise use flextime scheduling. There is simply not enough room in a microbudget to deal with the rising costs of healthcare and run a business. No one will back this kind of a play any more, so you can forget about another round of funding just to serve as a middleman to the insurance company. Reducing the number of core staff on your payroll can help with this as well.
Photograph by Yann Caradec, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0