The cost of everything is going up, and if you want to stay competitive as a small business, you need to find ways to increase productivity. Small businesses have many advantages over their larger counterparts. They can often be more agile and innovative as they are often bound by fewer external regulations and bureaucratic structures.
As a small business owner, you may feel pulled in too many directions at once and not know where to focus your productivity improvement efforts. It’s best to start with the basics and incrementally implement changes instead of trying to do everything at once. Let’s look at five ways to improve productivity in your small business over time.
1. Eliminate time-wasting activities
While it’s easier said than done, establishing a culture of productivity at work is the primary driver of getting things done that starts from the top. Gone are the days of endless meetings; it’s not efficient, and it’s not usually useful for most participants. Instead of taking up everyone’s time, schedule real-time catch-ups or communications with only the essential employees. Similarly, an assault of emails is easily overlooked in favour of instant messaging, video chats or direct phone calls. Get to the point and speak to the decision maker directly, internally or externally, where possible.
While micromanaging isn’t particularly useful in the long run, it does pay to have social guidelines and structure in place. Limit social media at work and personal discussions during critical hours – it’s often without purpose and procrastination at best. Instead, consider providing a dedicated lunch or facilitating dedicated team-building or social activities to let off steam and deepen team connections.
2. Have a clear goal and plan to achieve it
Thomas Carlyle once said a person without a goal is like a ship without a rudder. Unless you enjoy the idea of getting lost at sea, you can probably see the value in this statement. Knowing where you want to go is just as important as how you do it. Set goals for each employee that align with their role and that motivate them to progress and achieve their potential. After all, the collective individual achievements of each of your employees are what drive your business on the whole. On the larger level, have a strategic direction of where you want your business to go. Are you aiming to be the leader in your area? Do you want to expand into new products and services? Schedule regular strategic and goal-setting meetings to keep your eye on the prize and prioritise fresh tasks to maintain progress.
3. Embrace the remote working culture
While somewhat controversial, getting the most out of remote work is actually one of the best ways to improve business productivity. We have seen the possibilities throughout Covid. In many cases, engagement with work significantly increased as employees were empowered to work in the environment that suited them best.
There is a range of tools now widely used to facilitate online engagement, such as Slack, Zoom, Google Suite and Microsoft 365. Encourage (and trust) employees to work in a way that is most productive for them. If full-remote work is too much to handle, consider a hybrid work mode that requires office collaboration only a few days a week. This way, the business can adapt to personal schedules and maximise productive work and collaboration.
4. Continuous improvement for business productivity
You’re not the only business that operates in your industry. Assess your competition and the best practices in your industry to see what others are doing that you are not, as well as potential opportunities to innovate. As a busy small business owner, this may not be feasible so consider investing in an expert external consultant to suggest step-by-step changes you could make within your business to improve over time, in line with the industry and competitive environment.
Another strategy along this line is to outsource repetitive or lower-skilled work to specialists in those tasks. Often international services are cheaper than hiring local employees, and their time zones may be flexible or complimentary, improving productivity outside of traditional working hours.
5. Invest in technology and equipment with small business finance
Depending on your small business’ industry, investing in new equipment (including software and other technology) is a traditional, tried-and-true way to improve output. New manufacturing machinery, vehicles, cooking appliances or other commercial equipment will keep your operations up-to-date and keep up with the competition.
Often investment in new technology requires a large amount of capital which may make it difficult to justify as a business productivity option. On the contrary, there are many financing options available for businesses looking to invest in growth. Small business loans and equipment or vehicle finance are both standard solutions for businesses looking to spread out the cost of new equipment over many months or even years.
When it comes to business finance, securing the right option for your business can be tricky. Capital Plus Finance is an experienced business finance broker that has your best interests at heart. With a panel of many lenders, The Capital Plus Finance team will do everything to help you secure a suitable funding solution, including business loans and equipment finance. Please call us anytime to find out more or to have an obligation-free chat about your personal and business situation.