All companies need to make the most of their resources and ensure optimum productivity. For small business owners, this challenge is even more critical. Ensuring that staff can do their jobs to the best of their ability and get things done on time is key to success and growth. But it’s not always easy.
Most business owners understand that motivation plays a vital role in productivity. If staff are happy and focused on their work, they are likely to perform better.
Of course, small businesses are faced with several challenges here:
- Staff may have to fill in the gaps when it comes to getting work done and that can lead to burnout and discontent.
- They may not have the skills or knowledge you are ideally looking for so providing training when needed is important.
- Small businesses need to bring their employees into the decision-making process and make them feel valued.
- Offering flexibility can also make a difference, for example, allowing people to work from home or have more accommodating working hours.
It’s critical to regularly check staff morale and talk directly with them about how they feel and what issues they may have.
Finding the Right Team
One of the key issues that small business owners face is understanding the relationship between team productivity vs team size. This can often be dictated by current resources – if you only have ten employees, your flexibility will be limited on some tasks that require more personnel.
Small teams may have skills gap issues. Larger ones can suffer from people not being utilized properly because there isn’t enough work to go around. It’s important to look at each part of your operation and work out how you can usefully employ people. The more you can do this, the more likely you are to increase productivity across the board.
Recognizing Good Performance
There’s nothing more dispiriting than working hard on a project and getting no recognition. Small businesses can’t always afford to give their staff bonuses and employees in these enterprises often put more work in because resources are scarce.
Good entrepreneurs are quick to say thank you and recognize when someone has done a good job. Ensure that if someone is working hard, even if you can’t give them a bonus, they know you value the job they are doing and you appreciate their efforts.
One of the key components in improving productivity today is using technology to make communication and other aspects of daily work more streamlined. There are hundreds of different productivity apps available nowadays and they have several advantages:
- They help team members stay focused on critical goals.
- They improve communication and ensure everyone is informed about a particular task.
- They allow people to better use their time and are a low cost, and sometimes free, way to add value to your operation.
It’s important to work with your staff to find the productivity app or technology solution that works for them and your business.
There’s no doubt that small businesses can sometimes become overwhelmed with their workload and, with less staff, people can be put under immense pressure during busy times.
Small tasks may be easy to do but they can take up the time and energy of employees. With the technology available, it’s worth looking at ways you can automate these tasks and make things easier.
The good news is that automation has become more accessible to smaller businesses – they can, for example, easily incorporate AI to answer standard questions online about the business rather than tying up staff on helplines. Sales invoices can be produced automatically and stored online, then accessed through cloud services.
Automating will free your staff so they can work on more important tasks and ensures that you move towards productivity and growth rather than stagnation.
Find Time to Review
Finally, small business owners must focus on the value of better productivity. It can be easy to let things go and stick with the same old processes. The entrepreneurs who are agile and change those processes for the better, however, are the ones that make the most of their resources.
You can’t change if you don’t review. Again, this is something that you should ideally do in partnership with your employees – it’s far easier to get buy-in when they feel like they are part of the process.
Do you need to bring on more staff? Do you need to provide more training? Should you be investing in different technologies? Can you automate this or that process? Have a list of things you want to explore and try to review progress at least every month. You’ll find that it makes a huge difference to your long-term productivity.