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Productivity Tips for Small Business Owners

Small businesses aren’t run like mega corporations, and so each requires different strategies for success. Here are productivity tips for helping small-business leaders succeed.

small businesses

1. Prioritize the Most Important Tasks

“Each day, make sure each team member is focusing their attention on the task that will move the needle the most for your business. That task should be the first thing that gets completed each workday. Keep chipping away at the most important tasks. Small businesses don’t have the resources available to get caught up doing noncritical tasks.”

2. Leverage Your Flexibility

“Small businesses have a huge advantage in that they are nimble and can change quickly to adapt to market demand and trends with little to no consequences. Use this to your advantage. For example, as a small business, you don’t have to pick your niche from day one. You can allow niches to develop and then determine what strategy would be best to capitalize on the individual opportunities.”

3. Ask Others How You Can Help

“The first inclination for small-business owners is to ask others to help their business succeed. Instead, ask others how you can help them. You will be surprised by how much you help your small business grow by asking others how you can help them first.”

4. Account for Everyone’s Time

“Account for everyone’s time. Create a timesheet on a website — we used Podio and are currently testing out Harvest — and ask for people to quantify the activities that they engage in during the day. Then you can identify which clients are going over their retainer, and which are well within the allotted amount. You can also find out how much time in-house tasks are taking.”

5. Hire an Assistant

“I give my assistant free reign to schedule meetings and events for me so that it’s one less thing for me to think about. You’d be shocked with how much time I have saved by getting that one task off my plate. Small-business leaders don’t always hire an assistant, but it can be invaluable for increasing productivity.”

6. Take the Personal Touch Seriously

“Take the personal touch seriously. Giant corporations can’t deal with customers as individuals, but smaller businesses can. In fact, it’s often why customers choose smaller businesses in the first place. They want to feel like they matter and that the company cares about who they are and what they want.”

8. Leverage Productivity Technology

“Leverage productivity technology so that you can work as efficiently as possible. Your time counts and whatever you can do to maximize your time will pour back into the business.

9. Automate as Many Tasks as Possible

“Automating as many tasks as possible helps you get more productive, even if you have a small staff. One especially effective practice is outsourcing, which is a way to get additional help without the costs or responsibilities of hiring employees. Outsourcing jobs that take up lots of time, whether it’s web design, content creation, IT, SEO or anything else, lets you focus on your core activities.”

10. Hold Daily Standups With Your Team

“Hold a daily standup with your team. This can be done asynchronously with a time deadline, but it is critical that everyone on your team is held accountable for getting what they need to get done in a timely fashion. A standup simply asks two things of each team member: what they did yesterday and what they are planning to do today. Small teams can’t afford for people to coast and projects to stall.”

12. Eliminate as Many Time Wasters as You Can

“Eliminate as many time wasters as you can. Anything you do should be in service of your business and customers, but as small-business owners, we do everything. Take a hard look at your actions every day and eliminate the ones that don’t help grow your business or that take you a long time to do. See if you can automate anything or get help with them from someone else.”

13. Create a Streamlined Set of Processes

“Create a streamlined set of processes for your staff — something easy to follow and mold without overcommunication. Assigning regular activities to your staff members will set clear expectations on a weekly and monthly basis, freeing up some strategy and creativity time for you as a business leader. Growing startups often struggle with management, and refining this process will help you scale further.”

14. Have a Clear Line of Communication

“Small businesses need to have a clear line of communication. One small mistake with a limited team could be disastrous. I suggest setting up a Slack or Skype channel as soon as possible so everyone can stay on the same page throughout the day. This trick will help you avoid simple mistakes and improve productivity company-wide.”

15. Work on One Non-Urgent Task Each Day

“Work on one non-urgent task each day. Something that’s not vital today could turn critical if you keep ignoring it. By tackling one every day, you’ll ensure it gets done and still helps your SMB. For instance, you could be looking for new vendors, tweaking your website’s layout or revising the content of a marketing email.”