Every business owner dreams of skyrocketing their business. One way to make this happen is to follow this 6-step productivity strategy.
Today, more than ever before, we need to be productive. This is mainly due to the fact that we’re competing in a global economy where labor costs are a fraction of what they are here in North America. Productivity is defined as how well your business converts input (e.g. labor, materials, machines, capital) into goods and services (a.k.a. output). It’s also about working smarter – finding opportunities to improve your business’ efficiency. With this in mind, here’s what you need to take into consideration.
Test Flex Hours and Working Remotely
While it’s important to be committed to your decisions, you also need to be flexible to some extent. Sometimes simply offering flex hours is all you need to do to improve productivity. Other employees prefer to be allowed to work remotely. You can try one or both these for a set period all the while tracking how productive everyone is. When you find what works, you’ll want to expand on it in a few months. Let your employees know that if you notice productivity decreases or didn’t improve, you’ll end the program’s expansion, but don’t let this be an idle threat.
Align Your Strategic Plan
Workflow Max says it’s important to think about where you want your business to be in 18 months – 5 years before you delve any further into creating a productivity strategy. This is because you need to understand your business’ overarching strategic direction. Once you do so, you’ll finally be able to understand where productivity improvements fit into your larger plans and what the best ways to implement them are.
The key here lies in creating a living document. Instead of writing down your goals then pushing them aside and forgetting about them, you need to break the goals down into 5, 3, 2, and 1-year goals. From there you’ll want to break things down even further – into what you must accomplish each quarter. Now you have a document to refer to when you’re making decisions for your business.
Conduct a Productivity Audit
You must also review all your business processes in each department so you can determine where you need to make productivity improvements. Some of the roadblocks to watch for include:
- Slow admin processes
- Employees who don’t use all of a tool’s features
- Employees who are so overloaded they can’t move work through your pipeline
- Time-consuming or highly manual methodologies
Some ways of discovering these issues include:
- Talk to your employees. They’re the ones who are doing the work daily. You need to know what their process is so you can find bottlenecks to fix. This doesn’t have to be formal.
- Focus on fixing the problems in each department so you can improve your entire business.
- Check your list twice so you’re always focused on fixing the most critical issues first.
- Keep your goals in the forefront so you also focus on making a big impact on improving everyone’s work life.
Create Smartphone and Social Media Policies
American Express says most people are very distracted by smartphones and social media while at work. One study discovered people check their smartphone about 150 times in 16 hours – that’s once every 6.5 minutes. This same person will also have 22 phone calls and 23 text message interactions throughout that same day. You need to share statistics like this with your employees so they know how their smartphone is inhibiting your business’ productivity.
One solution you may consider by implementing a G Suite CRM like Copper. This could possibly solve a multitude issue all at once for you. Of course, there are other solutions available. For this reason, you may want to talk to someone to get some guidance, especially when you’re dealing with unfamiliar technology. If you decide to go “lone ranger” here, you should start by considering how technology could solve your productivity problems – especially when it comes to accounts, project management, document management and sharing, and inventory.
BDC says web-based technologies help business owners dramatically improve how their business is run, increase their market share, reduce costs, become more efficient, and solve customer-service problems. These tools include everything from spreadsheets to off-the-shelf software solutions and business-specific, custom-developed applications. Web-based technologies include things like e-purchasing and smart inventory control systems.
Some of the other considerations you need to make in this area are in terms of your process, outsourcing, the economics of sale, and strategic partnerships.
Your budget and resources will determine what solutions you implement. It’s also important for your staff to buy into your solutions so they don’t revert to their old habits. This is why you should bring in an expert to set your new technology up for you. Part of their job is to also provide training. Once this is done you need to be a good role model and possibly even consider offering incentives for those who perform the best.
Review Everything and Make Improvements
It’s important to watch to see what does and doesn’t work. For this, you’ll need a formal review process where all your employees give you feedback about how they think things are working. Even if you see massive improvements across the board, you may still find some kinks you still need to work out so your whole system works smoothly. Don’t forget about the clients who are affected here too. It’s a good idea to survey them to get their thoughts.
Create a Culture of Continuous Improvements
Don’t be too hasty in patting yourself on the back for a job well done. You can’t simply improve productivity and forget about it. This is an ongoing process in which you find the ways to keep track of your employees’ productivity, understand what’s happening, then improve on it. Project management software like Workflow Max is quite helpful here. With it, you’ll see trends and gather the data you need to continually improve. Of course, your employees also need to be actively involved here. While sharing this information can make you anxious, it will help you gain ideas on how to continue improving and scaling your business.