Tips For Better Productivity
Helping you Plan the Growth and Future of your Company
Working with dozens of small business owners across the country has given me some unique insights into many of their challenges. It’s hard enough to manage the day-to-day demands of any business and when you add in the need to plan for the future growth of the company, it can be overwhelming. In fact, most small business owners never find the time to work ON their business because they are so consumed with working FOR the business.
Here are some thoughts and ideas for helping you plan the growth and future of your company:
- Realize that planning for the future is the most vital part of your job. Someone once told me that a business is never just “standing still”. It is either moving forward or slipping backward. I learned that forward progress only happens when someone is creating a vision for where the company will go and how it will get there. If this doesn’t happen, merchandise, marketing and training of team members becomes stale, outdated and far less effective over time.
- Planning for future growth only consistently happens when you create a very specific period of time for this activity. Scheduling time for working on marketing, training programs, pricing, budgeting and customer service is the only sure way of progressing. I’ve found it best to work on one area per scheduled time. By creating several short (one to two hours) planning times per month, you will be able to progress in many areas. You will find that once you have begun to organize and consistently work on a topic, you will need far less time to maintain planning and analyzation of those areas.
- Delegate or pay an expert to help in areas where you lack experience or skills. If you don’t have the ability to create a cash flow budget or even create a marketing plan, hire someone to help you. After you have worked with that expert for a while, you may feel confident about handling this area yourself.
- In all areas of planning, create a way to measure the results of your progress. Never assume that anything is working well without proof. For example, use analytics to measure the effectiveness of your website or company newsletter and track them to see if their use is growing or declining. There is a way to measure everything important to company growth and unless you do, you will never know if efforts are paying off.
- Give yourself a break. Many small business owners struggle with juggling workloads because they try and make their work too perfect. One of the most valuable lessons I ever learned was that getting something 80% right and spending a reasonable amount of time on that project was far better than striving for 100% and using up too much valuable time.
Not sure where to start? Pick the most pressing need your company has- is it cash flow, training, customer service, marketing? Schedule a two hour time slot every week to start your analyzation and planning. You’ll find that it gets easier to do and the results will be well worth the effort.
Great stuff ken! One of the other things I’ve noticed is that shop owners may have the capability to perform the task, but not the availability. Sometimes it may help to find temporary, short term help to allow productivity to continue in one task while the shop owner can move onto another task. It’s all about working smarter and utilizing every minute of the day available.