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12 Productivity Boosts That Lead to Business Optimization
January 18, 2020
12 Productivity Boosts That Lead to Business Optimization

12 Productivity Boosts That Lead to Business Optimization

Simply put, a productive small business is an optimized small business. As a business owner, you’ll likely find yourself inundated with tasks. It’s rare for entrepreneurs to work the standard 9 to 5. However, regardless of how many hours you work, there’s only a finite amount of time in the day to complete tasks.

Optimizing your business requires an innovative approach; you should seek out creative methods to achieve business optimization within available timeframes. As the quote by Allan H. Mogensen goes, “work smarter, not harder.”

Why Productivity Matters for Small Business

Many small business owners fall into the same trap: attempting to get too many things done at the same time. This hinders productivity through a lack of focus and propensity for burnout. Productivity is, fortunately, simple to get back on track if lost.

Productivity is one of the essential metrics that factor into the success of a small business. There are many ways to boost the productivity of your organization. Overall, they collaborate to push business towards optimization and more productive output.

Many hear stories of small businesses turning into massive, profitable corporations through effective task management. What isn’t mentioned is the overwhelming percentage of companies that fail due to a lack of a proper productive mindset. This is survivorship bias in action.

Optimization and productivity are two of the factors that are most pivotal to whether small businesses will sink or swim.

Practicing Business Optimization

Successful business owners quickly realize they are the lynchpin to their company’s success. Instead of waiting for business problems to arise, they tackle the potential of these issues head-on. 

Of course, multitasking isn’t a superpower. It’s honed skills to focus on the effective and not just the efficient. This skill is passed on to their employees and team members. This is done through motivation and empowerment with the correct practices and tools for their job.

Below, we outline a dozen of our best tips for tackling optimization in business.

Our Business Optimization Tips and Tricks

Practicing business optimization can seem like a daunting task. However, you’d be surprised what a few small changes can do to your small business’s effectiveness.

Our tips below range from employee interaction to time tracking, meetings to collaboration tools, business process automation, and beyond. However, these tactics only scratch the surface of business optimization. Nevertheless, following just a few of them will help you run a more effective enterprise.

1. Encourage Break Time For Your Employees

Does it seem counterintuitive to encourage your staff to take frequent small breaks during the work day? Sure, it might. However, studies would suggest otherwise.

In a scientific study performed by Atsunori Ariga and Alejandro Lleras, this was researched under the guise of “vigilance decrement.” It showed that smaller breaks are crucial to ensure improved concentration in workers.

By taking short breaks often, workers maintain consistent performance through longer tasks. Conversely, working non-stop on demanding tasks without breaks can lead to declines in production.

One excellent method to work breaks into standard days is the Pomodoro Technique, discussed below in tip number 10.

1. Encourage Break Time For Your Employees

2. Track Time, But Don’t Micromanage

Most likely, you’ve heard about the usefulness of various time tracking tools and apps. These educational tools work to provide data and research into where employees’ time goes. Through time tracking, an organization can determine what aspects of their day are the most detrimental to overall productivity.

However, if you decide to utilize time tracking, it’s imperative to avoid micromanaging. Time tracking should never be used as an all-seeing oversight vehicle.

Instead, utilize time tracking tools to better allocate resources to tasks and projects by analyzing the data that results. When used appropriately, time tracking is one of the best optimization practices for businesses large and small.

3. Bring And Follow Meeting Agendas

This is typically the most stringent business process optimization rule to enact. While meetings can be crucial in some instances, they can also be detrimental to productivity.

Per Atlassian, the average worker spends over 30 hours monthly attending unproductive meetings. Next time, before scheduling a meeting, consider if it is better done via email or phone call.

If you must meet, try using the two pizza rule. Or, you could give standing meetings a try, which is known to eradicate wasted time. When you do meet, follow strict agendas to ensure things remain on task. That way, you can get your points across, and get back to the productivity machine.

4. Introduce GTD’s Two-Minute Rule

David Allen’s bestseller, Getting Things Done (GTD), brought to light the innovative concept of the two-minute rule. What this rule notes is that, if you see a task that’s completable in under two minutes, do it immediately.

While this may seem counterintuitive to most popular, structured productivity tactics, it works well in practice. The idea behind the two-minute rule is that completing tasks frees up time to tackle more relevant jobs. These tasks can range from email responses to sending reports to returning calls.

5. Utilize High-Quality Collaboration Tools

It’s 2020. Most non-retail, non-hospitality businesses don’t constrict themselves to traditional office settings. In fact, many online small businesses have employees fully distributed, working remotely.

As a business owner considering this possibility, the need to communicate effectively can be critical to employee productivity. This means you need a system where progress can be updated on projects.

Some great tools for team collaboration can be found in this article from Tech Radar. It includes options such as Slack, Asana, and Trello, among others.

These collaboration tools assist greatly in time savings, while also ensuring your full team is in sync, wherever they may be.

6. Embrace Business Automation Tactics

When done correctly, business automation is hugely beneficial to the optimization and productivity of small businesses. Automation truly is the future of small businesses. There are numerous methods for automating various facets of your business operations. Just a few are:

  • Automating customer service processes through the use of chatbots makes repetitive questions a breeze.
  • Setting up filters and triggers for email automation ensures that your email inbox won’t pile up.
  • When call center work gets to be too much, outsourcing your customer service calls helps free up valuable in-house resources.
  • Utilizing macros when working with spreadsheets. This automates repetitive tasks performed in Excel and Google Sheets.

7. Enhance Workplace Ergonomics

Ergonomics might not seem like something that should be at the forefront of your mind. However, improving the comfort of your workspace can have surprising results in overall productivity.

There’s a reason why some of the world’s most productive and fastest-growing companies are known for their workplace design. The combination of relaxation and comfort results in the best delivery of projects and services.

Standing desks, comfortable chairs, natural light, and healthier food and drink alternatives are all fantastic upgrades to improve your workplace. Happy, healthy, and comfortable employees result in a more optimized business.

8. Proactivity Over Reactivity

Being proactive instead of reactive is the mantra of the online reputation management world. However, it translates well into the standard workday as well.

Taking a more reactive approach to tasks like longer email responses and phone calls help your business efficiently putting out fires. However, this circles back to the idea that efficiency and effectiveness are two completely different things.

Conversely, start your workday with a proven strategy and to-do list. Then, outside tasks falling into the two-minute rule, try to stick to the tasks at hand proactively.

9. Mute Notifications to Improve Focus

Learning to “unplug” is likely the most reliable driver of increased focus and business productivity optimization available today. More often than not, we’re a slave to on-screen notifications. Whether an email, call, text, or other notification, each one pulls concentration away from important tasks.

10. Try the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a wildly popular time management structure first developed in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo. The core process of the Pomodoro Technique consists of six steps:

  1. Select a task you’d like to complete
  2. Start a Pomodoro or 25-minute period of uninterrupted work
  3. Work on the job until the Pomodoro is complete
  4. When the Pomodoro has been completed, note that it was done
  5. Take a short break
  6. Every four Pomodoros take a more extended, 20 to 30-minute break

Utilizing this time management technique works to ensure maximum productivity over these small bursts of time. It also keeps accountability in focus.

11. Learn From Successful Businesses

Successful businesses love two things:

  1. Growing their profit margins
  2. Telling other people and business owners how they became successful.

Listen to their advice. Remember, these successful massive corporations started as small businesses, too. What they did worked, and they were able to reach their business goals.

However, their strong points aren’t what you want to learn from. Instead, What learn from the failures that successful businesses made on their way to the top. This can help you determine how you can improve processes and avoid any errors that set these business owners back.

12. Talk To Your Employees, But Don’t Bug Them

It’s crucial to walk a line when speaking to employees. Be casual, but not too casual. Be an attentive manager, but avoid micromanagement.

Employees appreciate it when you treat them well and trust them. Overall, they aren’t going to like being talked to like underlings.

Ultimately, you should remember that clear, forthright communication leads to higher productivity and a better optimized business. Remember, being business doesn’t always lead to productivity.

12 Productivity Boosts That Lead to Business Optimization Infographic

Our Final Thoughts

Finding time to work on business process management (bpm) will usually pay for itself many times over. Ultimately, utilizing some of the above tactics goes a long way in boosting the productivity of your growing small business.

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].