November 5, 2018 Last updated November 10th, 2018 3,956 Reads share

A Step by Step Guide to Improve Business Productivity

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It’s important to have a productive business because it’s the best way to increase sales – something that will have a positive impact on your bottom line. However, there are many businesses who wonder how they can make this happen. The next time you look at your business in hopes of making it more productive, keep these tips in mind as you’re bound to be able to make a few of these improvements.

Align Your Strategic Plan

Workflow Max says it’s important to think about your business’ future before you consider ways of making it more productive. This is the only way to understand how everything works together so you can implement it well. All this information should be included in a living document – one that includes your 90-day, 1-year, 2-year, 3-year, and 5-year goals, as well as what you must achieve each quarter and that you refer to every time you make a business decision.

Run a Productivity Audit

Once you have this plan, you’ll want to develop a deeper understanding of your goals. To do this you must review your business processes in each department so you can determine where you must make productivity improvements. Unfortunately, this is a slow process, which is why it should be conducted as part of a company-wide process review. In other words, you should assess your tools, systems and other process-related activities at the same time. As you do so, you may discover some of these issues that will prevent you from being productive:

  • Double entry
  • Slow admin processes
  • Employees who don’t use a tool’s full suite of features
  • Employees who are so overworked they can move anything through your pipeline
  • Time-consuming methodologies
  • Highly manual processes

The best way to discover these things is by including these steps in your productivity audit:

  • Talking to your employees who work through the various processes within your business each day will help you find issues to focus on later in this process.
  • Focusing on and discussing the critical problems you discover will help you fix your productivity issues.
  • Remembering your goals throughout this process is important because you want to make improvements in areas that will have the biggest impact on your strategic goals.

Research and Consider Solutions

A big part of all this is researching your product strategy. Sometimes you’ll look out in finding a familiar pattern across several departments that you can fix with a single solution. Most of the time, things will be a little more complicated though. This is because you’ll need to implement various strategies to manage productivity. Use updated technologies like G-suite integrated CRM, to reduce your day-to-day activities. When this happens, it’s a good idea to get an outside opinion – especially when dealing with technology.

As you work through this research phase, there are a few considerations you should keep in mind:

  • Technology can solve some productivity issues, especially when it comes to the areas of accounts, project management, inventory, and document management and sharing.
  • Training can cause a lack of efficiency when your staff doesn’t know how to perform certain tasks. It may be time to invest in some extra professional development.
  • Cumbersome admin processes can slow your productivity.
  • Outsourcing isn’t as expensive as you might imagine, and it can free your employees up to do work that brings the biggest bang for your money.
  • Creating new strategic partnerships may benefit everyone involved and improve your productivity.

Implement Solutions

Nextiva says regardless of what business niche you’re in, you need a cloud-based phone system. This will let you increase your communications’ system’s efficiency, which will help your team be more productive too. If you’re still using an analog phone system, it’s time to catch up with the technology your competitors are already using. With this phone system, you can stay in touch with everyone from anywhere and start using some features you’ve never had before – many of which will help you make faster, better-informed business decisions.

When you implement new productivity “hacks,” you must get your employees on board or they’ll quickly revert to their old habits. There are several ways of doing this, including:

  • Bring in an expert, especially when implementing new software technology.
  • Provide training to ensure that your staff is adequately prepared for the transition. Since different people respond better to different training methods, make sure you provide several options, including self-paced learning and more structured tutorials.
  • Be the role model. When employees see you using the new system, like cloud-based technology, G-suite integrated CRM, machine learning tools, artificial technology integrated systems they’ll be encouraged to do the same.
  • Offer incentives. Your brain is trained to love rewards and people will feel like making these changes faster because they want the incentive you’re offering.

Review and Improve

Once everything is in place you can’t simply sit back and hope for the best. Doing so won’t allow you to see what is and isn’t working. Even if you notice massive improvements, there may still be some kinks you must work out so everything flows smoothly.

We Work says it’s important to understand the difference between following up on your employees and micromanaging them. When you follow up you can positively impact their productivity levels. However, when you micromanage them their productivity levels will fall. As a business owner it’s up to you to make sure that productivity goals are being met and when you don’t meet these goals you must determine why so you can fix the issue in the future. This process will help your employees stay on track and work harder to meet your goals.

When following up, try not to be intrusive. This is when micromanaging starts – something that will make your employees will feel like you don’t trust them. Employees will then stop showing independent thought because they feel you want them to perform in a rote manner. This will also stifle business growth.

Create a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Improving productivity is a continual process. Make sure you track productivity so you can understand what’s happening in your business and what you must improve on. One of the best ways to do this is through the use of project management software. It will help your employees track their time and you can see how well they’re doing and where improvements still need to be made.

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Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy

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