As a small business owner, have you ever wondered why some businesses are more productive than others?
Why are business owners who are able to get everything done in a day while some business owners constantly feel stretched too thin?
Is it because they have a larger budget and afford to bring more people into their team?
Is it because they have better business skills and knowledge?
Or, is it just that they’re working harder than others?
The short answer is no.
Those reasons alone can’t account for the huge differences in productivity that we see among startups and small businesses.
When it comes to your small business, there’s more to productivity than you think.
Let’s explore the 5 key factors that might affect the productivity of your small business so you know what strategy to put in place to make productivity improvements.
Table of contents:
- Doing everything yourself
- Poor process management
- Using the wrong tools
- Negative workplace culture
- Employee wellness
1. Doing Everything Yourself
As a small business owner, you’re probably juggling a million tasks at once – emails, paperwork, phone calls, meetings, and all the unexpected curveballs that come your way.
You are, in turn, the CEO, receptionist, bookkeeper, HR director, marketing guru, sales manager, customer service representative, project manager, and IT specialist.
Or rather, you think you are.
With so many demands on your time, it can feel like your attention is constantly pulled in different directions, leaving you feeling exhausted and unproductive.
It’s frustrating to end the day feeling like you haven’t made any real progress towards your goals.
So how can you break free and start making meaningful progress?
Instead of focusing on non-core processes that generate little or no revenue, prioritise core activities and deep work.
Outsourcing and delegating are your secret weapons, enabling you to get everything done.
For instance, instead of wasting valuable time answering your own calls, you can opt for a professional virtual receptionist to manage your calls, take messages, and answer customer FAQs.
The monthly cost of hiring a virtual receptionist can be drastically less than the cost of recruiting, hiring, and training a traditional receptionist, who isn’t available 24/7 like a virtual receptionist is.
Your customers are attended by a professional and friendly receptionist, while you’re free to focus on the core activities that generate revenue and keep your business growing, like meeting important clients face-to-face and driving strategic value.
2. Poor Process Management
As a business owner, you’re often focused on completing as many tasks as possible by the end of the day.
But what about how these tasks are completed?
Every business owner understands the importance of efficient process management in driving business success.
Despite this, process management is often pushed to the bottom of our to-do lists, which comes with a far greater cost than we realise.
According to research firm IDC, poor process management costs businesses anywhere from 20% to 30% of their revenue every year.
This is because poor process management can seriously impact productivity, causing delays, inconsistent quality of work, and difficulties in scaling.
Surprisingly, many businesses still accept poor process management (that typically involves various tools such as calendars, spreadsheets, and task managers) as the norm.
If that sounds familiar, maybe it’s time to rethink process management. Remember that in the modern digital era, many processes can be simplified and automated.
Be honest – What does your current process look like?
Are there any delays in the implementation of a particular process due to another process? For instance, is your online ordering system seamless, or is it causing frustration, leading to lost sales?
Take a step back and evaluate what’s working and what’s not. You might just find that by simplifying or streamlining certain processes, you can free up more time and resources to focus on what really matters – improving productivity and growing your business.
3. Using the Wrong Tools
Using the right tools can work wonders for your business. It can help you improve operational efficiency, simplify processes, and boost productivity.
However, many businesses persist in using the wrong tools simply because they’ve already paid for them.
Or, they purchase the wrong tools just because they’re the most advanced tools on the market and it sounds so cool.
But here’s the harsh truth – You can have the coolest and most advanced tools on the market, but if they do not deliver what you need, it becomes impossible for you to increase productivity and ROI.
Picture the following scenario: you’ve got this big plan to improve your customer service by replacing your current tools.
It’s been taking a lot of time and effort to get everything set up and ready to go.
If this new solution doesn’t work out the way you hoped, you’re in for a whole new set of problems that will require even more time and energy to fix.
That’s why it is extremely important to ensure you’re using the right tools that can deliver the expected outcomes.
Before you make a purchase, take a step back and think about what your business needs. Do you need to improve your inventory management? Or, do you want to deliver a top-notch, personalised customer experience?
Next, it’s time to do your research and look for tools that have features that meet your specific needs. Make sure you read reviews and compare pricing, user-friendliness, and support options.
You can also consider getting a demo or a free trial to ensure that the tool is the right fit for your business.
4. Negative Workplace Culture
Your workplace culture can either be a powerful force that boosts productivity or a damaging weakness if left unchecked.
A negative workplace culture can be harmful to your team members, preventing them from being productive and staying long-term with your business.
A common example of a negative workplace culture is a lack of company core values.
A business that lacks core values is like a ship that sails without a compass – it may be moving, but it has no idea where it’s headed.
Without clear core values, staff can feel lost and unsure of what the company stands for. This, in turn, can lead to low morale, high turnover, and, ultimately, lost revenue.
Another example of negative workplace culture is when employees show up late or are frequently out of the office.
Over time, employee absenteeism can create a lot of tension in the workplace. When one or more employees habitually miss work, it can create a ripple effect throughout the entire team, affecting their ability to work together effectively.
Outdated work policies, such as requiring employees to work from the office, can also lead to a negative work environment.
In the era of flexibility, work is no longer confined to a physical place. Instead, it’s a space supported by processes and technology that’s adaptable to employee needs.
If you want to attract the best employees and keep them productive, giving them the freedom to choose how and when they work is key.
This shift away from a traditional office to a flexible virtual office means that employees can improve productivity and life balance while working remotely.
Without commuting, walking around the office or talking around the water cooler, you and your team can spend more time getting work done.
5. Employee Wellness
Employee wellness is much more than a buzzword.
It refers to the overall health, happiness and well-being of employees, including physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
According to a report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services shared by Indeed, only a third of the 1,073 business leaders surveyed said they’ve made employee well-being a top priority.
Additionally, nearly half of the business leaders surveyed believe that happiness is the employee’s responsibility.
While it’s true that happiness at work depends on employees to some extent, employers should also prioritise employee well-being.
If employee wellness is ignored, it directly affects productivity and the company’s bottom line.
By showing your team that you genuinely care about their health and happiness, you’re not only helping them at the moment but also preventing minor issues from snowballing into more significant problems down the line.
One way to prioritise employee wellness is by implementing a wellness program.
This program could include initiatives such as providing access to mental health resources and encouraging your employees to prioritise their well-being above all else.
Consider setting aside regular time, either weekly or monthly, for your employees to catch up and share their healthy habits with one another.
To make these catch-ups more engaging and exciting, you could even offer online yoga or fitness sessions for your employees.
This can help boost their energy levels, promote physical activity, and create a workplace where everyone feels supported and motivated to take care of themselves.
The Bottom Line
Productivity is a total game-changer for many small businesses, and there are several ways to achieve it.
As a small business owner, you must understand the factors that can impact your team’s productivity and take action to optimise their performance.
By delegating tasks, simplifying processes, providing the right tools, and prioritising employee well-being, your small businesses can create a productive and thriving workplace culture that sets you up for success.
We hope this post has helped you identify the factors that can impact productivity in your small business.
However, if you’re still struggling to optimise your team’s performance, it may be time to consider a flexible virtual office.
A virtual office can provide your team with the flexibility and resources they need to work efficiently and productively, without the overhead costs of traditional office space.
With access to professional meeting rooms, mail handling services, and a virtual receptionist to manage your calls, you can focus on what matters most – driving revenue growth.
Get started with a virtual office today and see how much it can help you maximise productivity and grow your business.