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5 Tips to Increase Productivity for Your Small Business

Starting a small business can be a stressful experience. You have your business and your employees to think about, as well as all the other business that are your competition. The good news is that it gets easier with time. The bad news is that the first year can be tough on you and your business, and that you must make sure that you set a good course you will follow until you sail into calmer waters. In business, setting a good course often means making sure the business’ productivity levels are good.

Set Performance Indicators and Find Ways to Track Them

What gets measured, gets managed, right? Well, it’s true with productivity. However, measuring productivity so that it can be managed is, at times, a very difficult task. The number of products you create, or services you perform, or things you sell, is one way to see how productive your business is. But it’s far from perfect.

Still, it’s important that you find a way to count in all the factors that can help you determine how productive your business is. Remember that quantity is not all that matters for productivity, and that quality counts for a lot. And when you figure out what you need to track to be able to measure your productivity, make sure that you get the gear that can help you do it — a Lathem time clock can, for example, help you track when your employees come to work, how many breaks they take, and when they go home.

Rely on Automation Whenever Possible

Doing away with all the tedious, but unavoidable, tasks is one way to make your business more productive. You can pass them on to one of your employees or team members, or hire a temp to handle the spillover, but today, it would be much more cost-effective to simply let a computer program do it for you.

Automation applications can do a lot of work for you. From scheduling and sending out emails, to taking care of your social media posting, and even developing personalized offers for your online store customers — automation tools can do it all, and then some. The best thing about them is that automation is booming, so you can expect new tools to come up and help improve your productivity even more.

Discourage the Culture of Multitasking

You can be tempted to encourage your staff or team to try to tackle as many tasks as possible at the same time. You can think that multitasking is a necessary skill in today’s work environments. And you can think that most of your employees are already accustomed to multitasking, with all the devices and apps they use.

But you’d be wrong to push multitasking as the go-to mode of work, because multitasking is bad. Really bad. Instead, you should encourage your employees to focus on a single task at a time, and to make sure that they devote their complete attention to it. You might even want to consider using the Pomodoro technique to help you maximize your employees’ focus.

Continually Improve Communication

You can start a business with five other people, with each of you living on a different continent. But we didn’t need the capability to easily create geographically dispersed teams to understand that communication is vital for productivity. We just seem to have learned to appreciate it more now.

Among the other tools your business will be using, make sure that communication tools are included. You can have integrated tools that allow you to manage your business and communicate all in one neat package, or you can rely on separate tools for things like task scheduling and communication. Either way, make sure that every part of your business has the means to instantaneously communicate with the other parts.

Accept that Perfection Is Not Possible

There’s no such thing as a perfectly productive business. Things will happen that are out of your hands, mistakes will be made, and directions changed. There’s so much that goes into running a successful small business, so many moving parts that following all of them and making sure they all perform at top productivity levels is not always possible.

It’s important that you know when your quest for enhanced productivity is starting to hurt your business. You can put too much pressure on your employees, for example, by setting impossible standards or asking them to stay at work for too long, which tends to backfire. You can alienate business partners or associates, or even clients and customers. And you can spend all your time trying to find your ideal of productivity instead of running your business. It’s important to know when to say that the productivity is at a good enough level, and to focus on other things.

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