You have just crossed the threshold of being a business owner from the self-employed phase, and you find it impossibly hard to optimise your business productivity. How do you free up your resources for critical tasks while increasing your profit margins? We have all the answers for you.
Read these tips to find out how to increase business productivity!
1. Eliminate low priority tasks
When you are passionate about your job, it might be difficult to imagine eliminating a few tasks from your over-heaped plate. But consider this: It is not a professional failure but a victory if you are insightful enough to make decisions that will optimise your business productivity. How to go about it, you ask? Keep reading to find out more!
Make a comprehensive list of responsibilities you need to execute in the coming week. Categorise these tasks into “most urgent” and “moderately critical” columns. The tasks underneath the first column should comprise your to-do list, and the rest should be completed as and when you get some breathing room. Letting go is one of the most difficult things you will do, but it is also a decision that will help you stay on the right track.
This strategy is not just about eliminating semi-critical tasks but also about reducing your overall stress and freeing up your resources. Hence, you can focus on critical duties and commitments that need to be addressed as soon as possible.
2. Outsource repeatable and trainable tasks
You have now arrived at a list of tasks that need to be accomplished by the end of the week. A perfectionist entrepreneur will always want to do it all by themselves, but this is just not feasible. Delegation is a key role that you need to perform during such instances.
It is easier said than done. You have to undergo a conscious shift from a self-employed person to a promising business owner. Delegate the repeatable tasks that you can train others to execute, making the most of technology. While focusing on profession-related responsibilities is crucial, you also need to assign regular duties that take up most of the time by hiring efficient housekeeping staff and bookkeepers.
Use technology-based calendars and scheduling applications to delegate duties and even organise meetings to track each team member’s individual progress. You can also leave reminders for such tasks. There is no need for an assistant or long email chains.
3. Optimize your work processes
One thing that you will hear over and over again on online business communities is that optimizing work processes is key. Combine tasks of one kind and do them at the same time.
For instance, schedule all upcoming training sessions at the same time. Second, reduce the time that you have assigned for meetings to half the time planned. You will breeze through the meeting, agendas more quickly. Third, change your surroundings as often as possible. Plugin your headphones and work at the cafeteria. Go to the lounge area and then sort out the collaterals for your marketing plan. Do not stick to just one workspace, and you will find that your mind feels more stimulated to work.
Keep a strict boundary between your home and work life. Avoid thinking about work while you are at home. Dedicate time to yourself and your family. Block the time on your calendar when you feel the most productive and do not allow any external stimuli to get in the way.
Also having some perspective on the project deliverables using Gantt charts is a great route to follow. This bar graph outlines the entire project schedule in a manner that is easily understandable. The tasks are listed on the vertical axis while the horizontal axis displays the duration for each task. Use this to maximise your productivity by staying on top of the deadline commitments.
If you have employees, then a good collaboration tool is critical to work together on team projects productively and efficiently.
4. Invest in technology
Thanks to technological advancements, you no longer need to bear all the burden on your own. One of the most critical tasks in a small business is to keep track of your financial statuses. Tools such as QuickBooks help you sort out your bookkeeping woes, organize your receipts and perform invoicing while managing your account receivables. It will also conduct the payroll process, manage bills, print checks, control inventory, and do your budgeting for you.
Using QuickBooks saves you a considerable amount of time that you would have otherwise spent on performing tasks such as invoicing and online banking manually. You can also integrate platforms such as Outlook and Excel and transfer relevant data as and when you need to.
This translates into the elimination of common errors that are generally associated with data entry that is done on a manual basis. It allows you to track your business operations and contain financial information in an accessible format. QuickBooks will equip you with the requisite tools to eliminate the position of an accountant with a much accurate and efficient technological model that will get your work done at half the cost. Quite a deal, isn’t it?
5. Automate – Use of apps that can automate work processes
If you have been an entrepreneur for a while, you must be troubled by the stress of continually promoting your business on social media platforms. You might have even hired a social media strategist to come up with monthly plans to engage your target audience and attract a steady flow of new consumers. What if we told you that an app would do all this and more? You can schedule all your posts in a single week in advance and track keywords that attract viewers. The possibilities are limitless.
Use apps like Hootsuite and Buffer to schedule your social media posts. If you are bootstrapped and do not want to pay for a tool, there are a number of free Hoosuite and Buffer alternatives to pick from. These apps will help you customise your content based on the different layouts of the countless social media platforms out there. The best bit is that you can have a free account with each of these apps.
Try out the tips that we have listed above and let us know which ones you found to be the most useful.