We are aware that successful businesses are profitable companies. Research obtained from Harvard Business Review supports this. It shows that companies that are more productive by 40% have operating margins between 30 and 50 percent higher than other companies in their respective industry. If you’re a small-scale business owner, you probably think about what you can do to increase the efficiency of your business. The positive news? Some tech-enabled techniques could be helpful.
The first thing to consider is what is the term “productivity?
Productivity is the relationship between efficiency. Both be confused during family gatherings! This article written by Michael Mankins does a great job of separating the two concepts: Efficiency means doing the same thing with fewer inputs. While productivity, however, can be achieved using the resources you’ve got.
Focusing on efficiency, not efficiency, is a good idea and makes sense for small and micro enterprises (SMBs). Why? Because an SMB has limited opportunities to increase efficiency. You’re working with fewer staff and technology tools, and therefore the possibilities to cut back on your spending are restricted. However, there are strategies that you can take to maximize your technology and staff you do have or even swaps to boost efficiency. This is why productivity is an excellent choice for small businesses.
Hack 1: Utilize technology to improve your work.
It’s easy for people to fall into “more is more.” For instance, “I want to grow my business, so I need to add staff.” However, data obtained from Goldman Sachs shows that we’re in a time when the disparity between the number of jobs available and the supply of labor is at its highest during the post-war period. Even if you did want to increase your staff, however, it would not be easy to get it done. If you’ve never made the necessary changes to boost the efficiency of your current team, it’s unlikely that you’ll get the same benefit from hiring employees.
To increase efficiency within your current business structure, take a look at other levers to increase the productivity of the people you work with. Spend some time reflecting on the manual processes taking your employees’ time, and could they be automated? You’ll be surprised by some of the functions you can incorporate into your payment processing systems, including inventory management and corporate communications systems.
You can implement an online payment gateway to allow self-service payment options. You can establish an inventory control system that can assist you in finding products more quickly. In the area of business communications, which is my field that I’m an expert, you could use AI and automation to handle customer calls, route them to the right person in your team faster, and provide automated answers to the most common questions. For instance, if you’re an agent in real estate, you can create auto-replies via SMS for texts or calls that are received when you host your open houses.
Hack 2: Flex in your work with colleagues.
If your company allows it, being flexible when remote work can be valuable survey data provided from Owl Labs indicates that 90 percent of the people who worked at their homes during the epidemic claimed to have the same productivity or more as those who worked in an office. Not all jobs can indeed be accomplished remotely. For instance, if your company is an HVAC service provider, for example, your technicians won’t be able to perform their work from their homes. However, your accounting and dispatch personnel may be able.
Here’s where flexibility is crucial. Consider: Are there any items on the employee’s task lists that can be completed from a distance, like meetings, correspondence, or paperwork? Giving employees the option to complete these tasks at home could make a difference 60% of U.S. workers who can work from home would prefer to be able to do their work at home for a portion or all the time, as per the results of a Pew Research Center survey.
With the flexibility of how work is completed, your SMB to gain the advantages of remote work and keep your employees satisfied.
Hack 3. Prioritize your team’s work time.
Your time is valuable. It’s difficult to concentrate when you’re constantly distracted by calls, texts, phone calls, etc. According to research conducted by Udemy, over half of the workers believe that distractions at work reduce their productivity. However, most SMBs do not have the luxury of having a gatekeeper who can block calls, take phone calls even when everyone else is working, and record messages.
Technology can assist. AI and other technology tools are becoming more readily available in recent years. They are integrated into various apps to assist you in making intelligent decisions about how to use your time. Examples include an AI-powered call screener to determine the reason for the call, and you can decide if the call should be answered immediately or if it can be returned later. Also, SMS auto-replies that instantly transform missed calls and messages into text threads and shared phone numbers so that your team can respond to messages and phone calls if you’re not able to.
Hack 4 Don’t forget to take a rest.
The final tip isn’t a technology-related one, but it is worth noting to make sure that both you and the team members are taking breaks. Suppose it’s a couple of minutes to allow your brain to adjust and process new information or make sure your team members take the time to enjoy their (well-earned) vacation time. In that case, research suggests that having a break can help recharge your brain’s focus and increase creativity.
What’s that like? It’s monitoring your team throughout the day to ensure they’ve had a few mental breaks and then asking them to plan their time off for vacations (and use these days!) and implement “devices down” policies for weekends and evenings (at least a portion all the time). If you are a fan of relaxation, you’ll be able to avoid burnout and gain increased efficiency.
For SMBs, shifting the goal from efficiency to productivity is crucial to achieving growth. Technology advances make it easier for companies to increase productivity. It also acts as a multiplier to the existing team, providing the flexibility to work when and where you’re most productive. It also helps you make the most of your time during the day.