5 Simple Hacks to Increase Productivity in Small Business

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Do you find yourself doing the same procedures over and over again?  Does it feel like you’re reinventing the wheel every time you start a task or project? What if you could implement simple hacks to increase productivity in your business?

Some of these projects may be quite simple; others more complex. Let’s explore some possibilities:

·         Host a teleseminar or webinar

·         Create a YouTube video using a Powerpoint presentation

·         Record a podcast

·         Invoice clients monthly

·         Follow-up with customers, clients, and network

·         Take the customer through the buying process

For each of these, and many more processes in your business, there are several steps that need to be executed, and missing one or more of them could be the difference between success and collapse.

Do you have systems in place to ensure that these flow smoothly so you increase productivity, or do you have to re-create the process each time? Do you spend hours of frustration of routine tasks or do you have the steps recorded so that you and or your team can execute them easily?

Here are 5 simple systems or hacks to increase productivity in your business. You can put them in place immediately to start using your time more effectively.

hacks to increase productivity in small business

Proper documentation to increase productivity 

One of the first things I encourage my clients to do is to get a binder and label it Operations Manual.  They often laugh and ask why would they need an Operations Manual as a Solopreneur? 

We then discuss importance of taking a few minutes to document the steps they take in everything they do.  The next time they have to do it they’ll be able to quickly follow those steps. There will be fewer mistakes, and the work will get done faster. In addition, we talk about growing their business so they have an assistant, virtual or offline, to whom they can hand over the manual instead of spending time teaching the assistant all the required steps. By the end of my explanation they’re usually sold on the idea.

If you don’t already have one, could you create your own Operations Manual? This would be one of the essential hacks to increase productivity in small business.

Use Time Blocking to Increase Productivity

Have you ever sat at your desk and worked on a project for an hour, maybe two, and find yourself so exhausted that the only thing you can think of is taking a nap?  Your joints also hurt because of being in one position for too long. 

The Pomodoro Technique is one of my favorite productivity hacks because it works.  This technique teaches you how to work with time rather than against it.  It’s based on setting specific time-frames, 25 minutes on a task followed by a short break where you move away from your computer or desk, to take a short walk, do a quick exercise, meditate – just do something that rejuvenates you for about 10 minutes, then back to your project for another 25 minutes. While you’re in any of your 25-minute segments, you avoid multi-tasking and if something comes to mind that you should do, you can quickly jot it down on a pad but do not stop what you’re doing currently. 

The Pomodoro Technique allows you to set productivity appointments with yourself to get things done in your business.

Set Appointments with Yourself to Deal with Distractions

Distractions will always exist and it’s important to set appointments with yourself, so that you’re being proactive rather than reactive. 

  • Decide when you’ll check email each day. I recently read an article that gave some excellent reason why you should avoid checking email first thing in the morning.*
  • Separate those times from when you’re working on your own or on client projects
  • Social media is essential to your small business.  It does not make sense to ignore it. However, there’s a difference in using social media effectively in moving your business forward and scrolling through to watch videos or catch up with friends and family.
  • Schedule time (outside of your scheduled work hours) to ‘play’ on social media

Proper project management

As your business grows, you may have a team of Outsourcers or even an in-house team.  Confusion can reign and impede progress if each person does not know what stage the others have reached.  Emails can easily get lost based on the volume you receive daily as well as being filtered off into Spam. 

Google docs is a simple way to keep everyone abreast of progress.  There are also third-party tools which can make it easier to manage your team and projects you’re working on.  Two of these are Asana and Insightly. You’ll have one place to look for tasks that are still outstanding, and be able to tell at a glance what needs your immediate attention. Take some time to check out which of these would make more sense for your business. 

Automate when possible to increase productivity

There are some tasks that I do not recommend you automate, such as customer service.  Superior customer service is becoming one of the key distinguishing factors in small business.  Thus, I believe this should be handled by you or someone you delegate who clearly understand your beliefs and reflect your values on building relationships with customers.

On the other hand, social media posts can be easily automated with scheduling software like: BufferApp and Hootsuite. 

Accounting/bookkeeping and invoicing can be done with software like: Fresh Books, Intuit QuickBooks Online, or Zoho Books. 

A quick research on their websites, as well as asking for feedback from others, can reveal which of these would be most suited to your needs.

Conclusion

All of these simple hacks to increase productivity in small business can be set up in one afternoon after your initial research.  There will be a short learning curve, but the benefits will be amazing.

What if you could save one hour per day by implementing these systems? How would you use that time? What would it mean for you personally to save five hours each week in your business?

We can all use help with increasing productivity.  In addition to the above, one of the best
sources of productivity hacks has been this product comprised over 150 pages of action-
oriented information and strategies on how to:

  • Make tasks easier,
  • Get better results, and
  • Finish quicker.

Reference: * https://www.shoutmeloud.com/dont-check-morning-email.html

Click here to get your copy of: “5 Common Reasons ‘Passion to Profit’ Business Fail and What to Do Instead.”

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Comments

5 Simple Hacks to Increase Productivity in Small Business — 10 Comments

  1. These are all great strategies. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of time blocking, at least not the short spurts typically recommended. It presupposes we all mentally process the same way and that simply isn’t the case. As a writer, once I get in the flow stopping every 25 minutes would make me crazy. That said, I do take breaks, usually a half an hour for every 2 hours. Then I head outside with my dog for a bit of fresh air. I read that David Baldacci takes a break once an hour and does push-ups. Whatever works, right? All I know is that I am so grateful to have the freedom to work at home! Thanks for the tips and inspiration. 🙂

    • Yvonne A Jones on said:

      Thank you, Marquita. Your expression regarding your gratitude for freedom to work at home says it all. I see that
      as such a blessing. 🙂 There are indeed many ways to increase productivity and some persons need the structure and
      benefits that a technique like the Pomodoro technique can add to the workday to enhance productivity. For others,
      it can be a distraction, and other methods work better. Like you, I believe that there is no one-size-fits-all but
      we get to choose and apply whatever methods will bring us the desired results.
      works best for each of us.

  2. Yvonne, I can smack the side of my head with the idea of the Operations Manual. I can’t believe I never thought of it when I use to do these when I was working Corporate. I have different binders with information, but now it’s time to consolidate for my own business.

    • Yvonne A Jones on said:

      This is why I love my online community so much, Joyce. We learn so much from each other in a caring environment. Thanks for sharing how this has benefited you.

  3. Hi Yvonne,

    Great post with some food for thought 🙂

    I really like the idea of a manual as it would be a very useful tool to speed things up or as you say pass over to someone else once you can.

    I also like to take breaks, but the time between generally will depend on the mood I am in. Sometimes if I have no will to do or start a long task I use breaks as my reward.

    Paul
    Paul Wallace recently posted…Learn from my MistakesMy Profile

    • Yvonne A Jones on said:

      Thank you, Paul, for stopping by. I can understand that sometimes it’s challenging to continue after you take a break.
      The Pomodoro has worked for millions. Not so for others, as they prefer to go for longer periods without taking a break. Whatever
      works for you as long as you stay on track with your productivity is what I say. 🙂

  4. Hi Yvonne, thanks for sharing us all those wonderful advice in regards to increasing productivity. Looking forward to more of your amazing articles in the future!

    • Yvonne A Jones on said:

      Kathleen,

      I appreciate your visit and taking the time to leave your comments. Which of these productivity hacks resonated the most with you?
      Are you currently using any of these. Please stop by again soon. Thank you.

      Yvonne

  5. Krystal herrera on said:

    Thank you so much for sharing such an informative post. My friend owns a small business and coincidently we talked about increasing productivity for his business and definitely, this is a big help for him. Sharing it!

  6. Awesome post, indeed. I’ve heard about the Pomodoro Technique. It was my dad who introduced it to me. And for him, it definitely works. Will try to apply these techniques. Thank you for sharing them.

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