Finding new ways to improve the productivity of your business should definitely be your top priority. As entrepreneurs, we need to work smarter, not harder. Most small business entrepreneurs complain that work seems never-ending, yet there is so little time.
Here are 6 strategies that you can use to improve productivity and take your business to the next level:
Automate Your Business Processes
Automation is not only for big businesses, as small businesses can hugely benefit from it as well. Start with identifying processes and tasks that can be automated with the least effort and investment. There are a lot of tools and systems online that you can use to help you do more things in less time.
If you’re running an eBay business, for example, there’s a wide variety of tools that you can use to automate each step of the selling process — from managing inventory, listing, cross promotions, payment, shipping, and sales reporting. Using automation tools can help you list more items, track sales and do follow-ups, and make your eBay selling life so much simpler. For firms that deal with services instead of products, there are professional services automation software that can help streamline business processes.
If you use social media, there are a number of tools that can help you schedule your posts in advance, track the results of your postings, know what’s being said about you and keep track of what’s happening in your space.
Use Templates for Repeated Tasks
Are there things that you do repeatedly in your business? If yes, then it may be time to create templates for these repeated things that you do.
Take for example emails. You can save a lot of time If you receive the same questions via email, again and again, take the time to write a response, then save it to your computer. When you get the same question again, just open your file and copy the response (with a little tweaking for any additional questions or personalization you wish to extend). This simple process can help you save time typing out your response over and over again. Look at your email clients and use their automation features, if offered (if they don’t have it, maybe it’s time to look for a different email client).
In addition to using automation processes, there are other ways you can use technology to help improve the productivity of your business.
You can use to-do list applications like Evernote or Wunderlist to get stuff done and complete projects on time. There are apps that you can install to help you avoid online distractions and monitor how you use the web such as the Tracking Time app. There are even apps like Time Out that will remind you to take breaks at set intervals.
Outsource Small Tasks
Are there things that you do each day that you don’t really like to do? Or things that you feel that you are not really good at? You can outsource them to a virtual assistant or a contractor who specialize in that area. This will free up your time to focus on the most important aspects of the business. After all, time is an investment and it is best to use your limited time on things that can grow the business.
Copy Business Models and Strategies that Work
Instead of trying to figure out how to get things done, check other businesses that have successfully done what you’ve been aiming to do and study how they did it. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Many successful business ideas and strategies are borrowed from others; you can copy them and figure out how to make it work for your business.
There’s a lot that you can learn and improve in your business by taking and listening to honest feedback and criticism. Ask your customers, suppliers, and advisors for their feedback on your approach, product and yourself. Avoid becoming defensive (yes, some criticisms may sting) and instead take a step back and evaluate their comments. Then see how you can integrate or implement their suggestions.