4 ways to boost your productivity

A simplistic definition of productivity is the ratio of output to input. Put simply, boosting productivity is all about doing more with less. In today's world, disorganisation in small businesses can be replaced by efficiency and productivity if some simple and contemporary rules are followed.

Some key sectors of small business to look at include involving your employees in ironing out productivity inefficiencies and improving your business processes.

People/Labour

  • Identifying the productivity black spots

    As Nonie Sweeney of smallbusinesshq.com.au explains, a great way to boost productivity is to find out what's not working and what's causing efficiency levels to drop. These can be termed: 'productivity black spots' and it is important to utilise your employees in the process. 

    Ask yourself what are the recurring issues and it's important to ask your team to help you write a list of these. It may take some time to compile until you can see the patterns emerging. These repetitive issues are the symptoms of what's not working in the business. These 'black spots' are the underlying cause of the issues you are experiencing. However, you will need to do some root cause analysis, which is another way of saying you need to ask why. Once you do this analysis on a number of the 'symptoms' some common, underlying causes start to emerge.  These are the 'black spots'.

  • Work at fixing the black spots that need fixing

    Validate the 'black spots' with your employees and check with your staff to ensure you have identified the important 'black spots'.  Use their feedback to refine your next plan of action accordingly. 

    Be aware that your own viewpoint of the situation may be influencing the 'black spots' that you see. If the opinions of your employees are different to your own, it's important to find other ways to validate each viewpoint to determine which ones to tackle. When a decision is made stick to it and communicate it with all the employees on each level. There is no such thing as too much communication when it comes to changes.

Processes

  • Combine all social media platforms

    Social media is becoming increasingly important, particularly for small businesses, as using this is a free and easy way to get your businesses name out there to prospective and current clients. However, social media with all its pros is not without its cons. The big setback is the time it takes to effectively use this form of communication, for example Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, flickr, LinkedIn and the list goes on.

    Updating all of these and keeping them up to date has become a time consuming exercise for small businesses. Marcella Chamorro of under30ceo.com suggests using www.hootsuite.com. This is a site that allows you to manage multiple social networks in one go without all the double or triple handling. The point is to rest assured knowing that there is no need to jump around from place to place to find all of your social network messages. Thus productivity levels will likely receive a positive spike in the right direction.

  • Find out what is being said about your business and industry

    Communication with your customers is very important, but just like in a conversation listening is as important as speaking. Having the time to find out and research what is being said about your business is so important but at the same time difficult and time-consuming.

    Phoebe Netto of goodbusiness.net.au asks: 'Do you know what is being said about your business?' and points out that a core part of your business should revolve around listening to what your customers want, and what they might be saying about your business and your competitors. An efficient way to do this is to use Google alerts.

    Google alerts allow you to monitor developing news stories, keep up to date with competitor or industry movements, get the latest on important events and hear what others are saying about your business. Simply set up the topics and keywords that you want to be alerted about, and Google will email you to notify you when the search term crops up.

In a nutshell...

Yesterday's small business owners, through no fault of their own were typically disorganised, overwhelmed and time-poor because they did not know how to be effective. As a result they would limit the growth of their business, suffer from people problems, experience high stress levels, and have their health deteriorate along with their relationships.

Fortunately, today there are many small business owners that can boost productivity by searching for productivity drops and examining the cause of these, whilst simultaneously improving the processes in current use at their small business.

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