How do you make your small business more productive?

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English: Product icon for MindView mind mappin...
English: Product icon for MindView mind mapping software. A productivity tool for MatchWare A/S (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this economy with high labour costs, low productivity and increased competition it’s worthwhile to look at your productivity in your start-up or small business.

The place to start is with yourself. As the title track to a Uriah Keep rock song went “Take a look at yourself”. As the driver and main performer in your small business you need to make sure that you are as productive as you could be. All it might mean is getting a full night’s rest, eating food that keeps you focused and alert and working in an environment where your temperature is controlled to the correct level. You may also want to watch noise. Some people like to crank up the music but others like a quiet environment where they are at their best.

The other thing is to look at areas that you can limit or reduce such as email, social media and even the amount of multitasking that you do because you lose a lot of time switching between tasks.

The other day an entrepreneur mentioned how she was using the same number of staff but getting more productivity from them. This isn’t always easy. As soon as you put “pressure” on staff for productivity they will become uneasy. Some may even rebel and slow down. Others may think they are being productive enough and see no reason to change.

It’s important to explain to staff why there is a need for productivity improvement in this economy where people are losing their jobs and competition is increasing. They need to be aware of the performance of your business and where and how they can contribute. Also, there needs to be a balance between getting things done and setting a pace that is realistic and enjoyable. Employees spend at least eight hours a day – and more in smaller businesses – and to expect them to work without any short breaks is unrealistic. Increasing employee productivity is a key ingredient in growing small business revenue.

Sometimes it feels almost impossible to know what to do next because you have so much to do in a day. A simple to-do list perhaps even with a deadline when you are going to complete each task can be an effective tool to work your way out of a pile of things to do. You might also want to manage distractions and not your time. It takes twice or more the length of time to recover from an interruption compared to the duration of an interruption. Avoid meetings where your presence is not required. This is one of the most sinful ways of wasting your time and kills productivity.

One of the most effective ways to get work done is to invest in your time by getting away from your business whether that’s early in the morning or in the late afternoon and taking time to recharge your batteries and with less stress think about how you can get on top of your game. The more productive you are, the more productive your employees will be as it makes common sense that you need to lead by example.

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