Productivity is very different when you’re a small business owner compared to large corporations. You’re making due, with limited resources and time. So, figuring out how to adapt your own strategies that work is very important.
From figuring out which systems to put in place, and onboarding the right talent to increasing brand awareness through marketing efforts, small business entrepreneurs have to get creative about solutions to improve efficiency and increase productivity. The best starting point is what you’re about to read. Here are 13 productivity tips that you might not even know about yet that will help you as a small business entrepreneur.
1. Set a Routine. Start your workday at the same time each morning, and set a designated stopping point each night. Choose times when you know you’ll be your most productive self. If you work well early in the morning, start your workday at 7 a.m. and end promptly around 4 p.m.
2. Prioritize Your Tasks. We get that you have a lot to do in what feels like such a short amount of time, but by putting your most important tasks at the top of your list and ones that can roll over into the next day towards the bottom, you’re setting yourself up for the best outcome. Figure out how you can stay productive, not busy!
3. Be Aware of How You Start Your Mornings. Like most entrepreneurs, you may feel the need to open your email as soon as you wake up, but the first 90 minutes of your day sets the tone for how the rest of your day will flow. Instead of checking social media, go for a walk, meditate, and gather your thoughts for a positive workday. This might be one of the most important tips.
4. Utilize Scheduling Tools. There are many of these resources available online, such as Google Calendar, Calendly, and VCita. You can schedule your meetings, important tasks, and other events so you can make sure you’re prepared for the day. Another great feature that some of these platforms have to offer is the ability to share your link with others so they can schedule a time to meet with you -- that’s one less responsibility on your to-do list.
5. Take Advantage of Your Flexibility. As a small business, you’re able to pick up on trends and produce products or services tailored to each one. The leverage here is that you’re not a big business that has to go down a chain of command to get the approval of putting something out on the market. Allow yourself to try out different niches to develop and pick what strategy would be best to capitalize on for each individual opportunity.
6. Ask for Help. A major key to success is bringing on the talent you need in order to put specific systems in place that will increase the productivity of your operations. Do your research and see what types of roles you need to fill. Are there any new roles you can create or old roles that are taking up too much time? Are there roles that have emerged due to the current climate of business that you can take advantage of?
Nowadays, the rise in popularity of virtual assistants can be a big help. They are experts that can do just about anything from a distance -- not to mention how cost-effective they are.
7. Invest in Social Media. It’s the best way to market yourself that takes minimal time and can be done at a low cost. Consumers love feeling special, so adding your personal touch by creating a mini-community online can create consumer loyalty. All you have to do is carve out 30 - 45 minutes a day to share a post, respond to comments, answer messages, promote your service/product, and connect with the people who support your business. It shows that you genuinely care about who your consumers are and what they want.
8. Automate Tasks When You Can. This can help you be even more productive, no matter the size of your team. Outsourcing or setting tasks up to get done through special software systems can save so much time and money. Research what resources you can take advantage of so you can create more time to focus on core activities.
9. Get Rid of Time Wasters. Eliminate activities that take up too much time with little to no return on investment. As a small business owner, you wear multiple hats. But is every hat necessary? Take time to review your actions every day and get rid of the ones that aren’t helping your business grow or are just taking up too much time. Refer to the last tip and see if you can automate anything or hire on other talent to do so.
Streamline Your Internal Communications. Try to minimize the number of emails sent internally as the inbox should primarily hold conversations and information from external sources to keep things organized. If you’ve ever opened your inbox to 50+ emails every day, you probably missed something important along the way. Instead, look into tools like Slack or Hipchat that allow group chats and messaging without the hassle of sending emails back and forth.
Adopt a Stress Relief Routine that Incorporates Movement. Research shows that movement supports mental health -- so you don’t reach the point of burnout at any time throughout your workday. Step outside for a walk after lunch or take a 10-minute stretch break in your courtyard. Incorporating more mindfulness can ensure you are giving your all into everything you do.
Work on One Non-Urgent Task Every Day. Something that may not be vital to your business growth at the moment could continuously be ignored. By tackling one every day, or making time to put in some work to at least progress in the status of one, you’ll ensure it gets done. This could be updating your website, researching potential clients or consumers, or revising your e-blasts.
Practice Self-Management. These productivity tips can only work if you’re also practicing self-management. That means making time for yourself, taking care of what you need to do in your personal life, and managing your mindset. Remember, being successful as a small business owner is all about balance!