7 Ways to Improve Productivity in a Small Business

Running a small business can often be more challenging than running a large one. There is simply a limited number of employees to tackle any task, and while the cash flow is also limited, there is no real way around this.

Small businesses are also tasked with working at their most efficient at all times, because that is the only way to keep up with the competition. Facilitating growth and maximizing profits may sound easy on paper, but in reality, it often comes down to the productivity and the efficiency of your team.

Hacking productivity is also something a lot of business owners talk about often, yet it is again easier said than done. If we could all be super productive all the time wouldn’t we want to be?

Here are a few ideas to help you boost the productivity of your own team.

Create better processes

An inefficient system has been the death of many a business so far. As you evolve, you need to adapt your processes as well, not something everyone does on time.

The best way to go about this is to enlist the help of your staff. Ask them to write down how much time they spend on each task or group of tasks, and where they feel they are losing the most time without much point. Once you know what your time loggers are, the solution may be to shift things around and delegate differently, or to hire someone to tackle the things your team can’t get to. You can also choose to turn to modern tech for automating certain processes if need be.

Hire an Accountant

Hire an Accountant

If you are running a small business, you shouldn’t also be running its finances, period. You are much better off focusing on driving growth than keeping an eye on the expenses and cash flow. Once tax season rolls around, you will be blocked for days, which will not help your productivity levels or your sanity.

Hiring a qualified accountant from Accountant Online can take a load off your mind and ensure that things are running smoothly on all fronts. You will have more time on your hands to work on the big issues, while the accountant takes care of the money side of the business.

Don’t Micromanage

If you have managers other than yourself, establish a mindset between all of you that allows your staff to work independently. If you are constantly breathing down their necks, they will not get much done, will they?

Managers are often caught up in keeping an eye and a half on their teams – but the team should be allowed to work on their own, and the management should be finding better ways to work, and writing better strategies for future projects, instead of making sure every paper is filed on time.

Set Realistic Goals

Goals are what will drive all of you to succeed, and setting them too high will not help your progress. The goal of the company should be made clear to everyone, so they can participate with their own ideas and thoughts, not leave everything up to the management. After all, not even the management will always know the best way forward.

You should also set individual goals and foster an environment where people can achieve them. These goals should be aligned with what that particular person is looking to achieve in their career, as well as the goals you have already set for the company. If these goals start to diverge too much, you will know you are no longer on the same path.

Learn to Delegate

Learn to Delegate

If any of you finds themselves overtasked, try to shift things around so the workload is more evenly distributed. As the business owner, you will want to take on certain things yourself, but that only means that other things will have to be taken on by someone else (like the accountant we mentioned above).

The same is true of any other team member – don’t expect any one person to pull significantly more weight than the others for a long period of time. That will only breed discontent and is a killer for productivity.  

Avoid Drawn out Meetings

Weekly, or even daily meetings are fine, as long as they have a clear agenda, and are not a place of bickering or self praise. Always know what you need to talk about, and keep everyone on point during the entire meeting. Anything above 20 minutes will not be productive any more. If anyone has a different agenda they would like to discuss, make sure you schedule a meeting for that particular topic.

You might also want to consider someone else running the meetings – as the boss, you might not elicit all the answers you are hoping to get, while a more neutral party may prove more efficient.

Facilitate Happiness

An employee who feels well is more likely to perform well. In order to achieve that, make sure your staff has regular breaks, and stock up the pantry with healthy food and drink choices. Avoid sugars and too much caffeine, and provide a space where your employees can eat, have a cup of tea and chat without disrupting anyone else.

Scheduling team building activities or company retreats is also a good way to get your employees to bond with each other outside the office. Keep an eye on the people who work well together and pair them up for certain tasks. If two people are clearly not a match, don’t try to force the issue. Make sure you always listen to what your people have to say about anything company related. Even when you feel you know best, you can always benefit form a second opinion.

Productivity is not always easy to achieve and maintain. There will undoubtedly be bad days, but don’t despair when they roll around. No one is a robot, and humans live on a perpetual curve of ups and downs. Learn how to shorten the downs and extend the ups, and you will be well on your way to success.

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