Productivity for Small Businesses: Working Smarter, Not Harder

Working harder and longer hours at the expense of your health and free time shouldn't be your small business's plan for increasing productivity. Working more intelligently, utilizing tools, and resources, and adjusting day-to-day operations can lead to success and a more effective and efficient delivery.

1. Set goals:

  • Having a clear vision and aspirations is essential for any business that wants to succeed. A company with a well-defined sense of purpose, direction, and shared goals will be able to align its workforce toward achieving these objectives. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same end goal.
  • By setting out clear goals and objectives, you can create a sense of clarity and purpose among your employees. This clarity helps eliminate procrastination and confusion about what is expected of them, enabling them to focus their efforts on achieving these goals.
  • Furthermore, goal setting fosters a sense of inclusiveness within the organization. When employees are involved in the goal-setting process, they feel like they are part of the bigger picture and have a stake in the success of the company. This feeling of ownership enhances their sense of commitment to the company's success, thereby increasing their engagement and productivity.
  • Overall, setting goals is an effective way to boost morale, enhance productivity, and foster a positive work environment. By defining a shared purpose and working towards common objectives, you can create a workforce that is motivated, focused, and committed to achieving success for the business.

2. Prioritise:

  • As a small business, it can be tempting to accept every project that comes your way. However, it is crucial to understand when to decline an opportunity. Consider if taking on more work will stretch your resources too thin and potentially lead to lower-quality work. A negative reputation could harm your business in the long run, so maintaining high standards is important.
  • If you find yourself easily sidetracked and avoiding challenging tasks, it's a good idea to prioritize them and complete them first. When you're inundated with emails or inquiries and struggling to stay on top of your workload, set aside specific times to handle those tasks. 
  • Dedicate an hour at the start and end of each day to tackle emails, and hold a weekly staff meeting to discuss any outstanding matters. By creating a schedule, you can free up time to complete important tasks, and turn off email and messaging notifications to minimize distractions.

3. Tools and technology:

  • Nowadays, there is an excess of cutting-edge devices, technologies, and applications that can simplify our work lives. For instance, you can use a content management system to enhance your organization, time planners to work smarter, or time-saving software and extensions. You can also introduce automated systems that eliminate labor-intensive processes, which would be a sound investment. Employ all of these tools to optimize the way your business operates, ensuring that you work efficiently.
  • Make the most of the advanced technology that is available to us. Instead of traveling long distances, you can host video calls with colleagues and clients. This approach is cost-effective, eco-friendly, and time-saving, offering triple benefits.

4. Outsourcing:

  • When you have a specific project or task that requires specialized knowledge, it may not be cost-effective to hire a full-time employee for that position. In these cases, it can be beneficial to consider hiring a freelance expert who has the necessary expertise to complete the job. Freelance experts typically work on a project-by-project basis, meaning that you only need to pay for their services when they are needed.
  • Hiring a freelancer can also be advantageous because you have the flexibility to choose someone who is an expert in their field, and who has the specific skills and experience required for the task at hand. This can lead to higher quality output, as well as more efficient completion of the project. In addition, freelancers often have a diverse portfolio of work, which means that they can bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the table.
  • Another benefit of working with a freelance expert is that you have the ability to build a relationship with someone whom you trust and can rely on when you need their services in the future. This can be especially useful if you have recurring needs for specialized knowledge, as you can call on the same freelancer for each subsequent project.

5. Cost-effective office solutions:

  • If you're seeking ways to reduce your expenses, focusing on optimizing your office setup can be a valuable starting point. Serviced offices can eliminate the need for additional spending on office maintenance, costly IT infrastructure, and amenities by offering all-inclusive resources to maintain a professional workspace. 
  • Switching to a coworking space or virtual office may also be advantageous if your employees are mainly freelancers or work remotely. These alternatives provide you with a legitimate business address and a designated receptionist to handle mail and calls, as well as access to meeting rooms when necessary to gather your team.

6. Flexible working and employee benefits:

  • By allowing your employees to work on a schedule that suits their lifestyle, you can not only boost their morale (which is known to enhance productivity) but also create a more flexible structure for starting and ending work times. This can result in a reduced need for staff to take extra time off for appointments or school runs, leading to increased overall input from your team and ultimately improved output for your business.
  • Likewise, providing employee benefits that promote staff well-being can have a similar positive impact. Poor physical and mental health can result in absenteeism, which can greatly affect overall productivity. 
  • Implementing a healthcare plan can serve as a preventative measure, ensuring that your employees have access to professional medical practitioners to maintain good health and address any issues before they become more severe and problematic.