Simple Tricks to Boost Business Productivity

As a small business owner, you know very well how hard it can be when you go through a slower period. If this is one of your first dips, it may even be difficult to determine whether or not this is a permanent thing or just another bump in the road – and you’d probably be looking for all the help you can get.

Luckily, there are tried-and-tested ways to boost your business performance even when your startup is going through a bit of a slump. Here is a handful of ways to make it happen so that you can get back on track and grow even bigger and stronger.

First: Reward productivity

Let’s start with the easiest one first. As you know, a company is nothing without its employees; and, as their manager, it’s important that you know how to reward hard work. There are a lot of ways to do this, though, and one of the best ways is to reward the entire team together in order to strengthen their bond and make sure that each employee is noticed.

Treat them to a dinner or lunch as a team after you’ve delivered a big project, for example, or take them out for a team-building experience. While you may not notice the benefits of this straight away, it will definitely have a lot to say for how the team works together in the future.

Another point to this that goes beyond rewards is to ensure that your business has access to the kind of tools that will make it more productive. Consider talking to a CRM consultant, first of all, and you’ll be a bit closer to running the kind of business you’ve had in mind.

Next: Give your team a pep talk

The problem with a business slump isn’t just that the sales are declining and that the office is slow and boring; your employees may be starting to feel a bit dull as well. You definitely need them to have your back, though, and especially now when you’re about to make things kick off again.

Give them a proper pep talk and let them know how much you appreciate their hard work. Remember to acknowledge the downtime, though, rather than just ignoring the fact that everything has been slow for a while. Your employees will surely help you out as long as you take some time to have a chat with them and keep them up to date.

Improve your communication tools

Finally, it’s time to have a look at the kind of tech tools you’re using. By improving the tools your employees are using for communication and collaboration, you might be able to inject some much-needed productivity into the office.

So many small and medium-sized businesses suffer from a lack of communication between the different professionals and it will, undoubtedly, make your business suffer. Take care of these simple tricks, and your business will be so much easier to manage.

Maintaining an Office Building? 4 Ways to Keep it Updated

Office buildings remain stuck in the day and age in which they were built. As companies grow, diversify and develop, the building stays the same. Many businesses will simply move their operations instead of investing more money in their building. However, some owners are stuck with their current building despite having a growing business. Here are four ways to keep an office building updated.

Hire a Professional Remodeler or Interior Designer

Many office buildings suffer from a lack of intentional design. Gray, tan, white, black and other boring colors typically dominate outdated office spaces. These colors have been shown to create a depressed atmosphere in the workplace. Hiring an interior designer is a great way to improve the aesthetics of the office space.

Increase the Amount of Light

Office buildings used to be built a lot like prisons. The construction was only designed to be efficient and productive. Not much thought was given to the effect that the building’s design would have on the workers inside. This carelessness left many office buildings today without ample lighting. Adding some extra sources of light can help boost morale and put employees in a better mood. There are special fluorescent bulbs that help to mimic light from the sun.

Have an Inspector Check for Structural Issues

Older office buildings aren’t only lacking in aesthetic and design features. There are certain structural improvements that should be updated as well. Business managers or property owners should hire a professional to inspect the inside of their office building. Inspectors can offer a thorough rundown of changes that should be made to keep a building updated. Whether installing waterproof lay-in ceiling tile or reinforcing some structural components, these changes can help make update the safety of the office building

Ask the Staff for Suggestions

Employees are the ones who have to enter the office building every day and work for hours. While there are some obvious components that need updating, other factors may be more subtle and subjective. It is helpful to ask staff members about their opinions regarding changes and updates in the workplace. After all, happier staff will lead to more productivity and profits for the company overall. Furthermore, no group of people will be able to deliver the same level of insight and expertise as the staff that works in the office each day.

Many businesses are suffering from outdated office buildings. Productivity, employee satisfaction and overall efficiency can suffer under these conditions. These four tips can help business owners update their buildings in an effective manner.

Emma is a business strategist-turned blogger. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand. Emma is a  passionate traveler and yoga aficionado. She is in love with coffee, interior design, books, and good vibes. 🙂 

Always Search For Better Technology-Based Solutions

You might be a small business but you are not limited in scope. You have the power to reach out to everybody in the world and that’s exactly the mentality you should have. With modern technology there’s nothing that’s out of your control. Perhaps the biggest concern small enterprises have is the fact that you could be technologically behind the larger corporations. This is true in a sense because multinational companies often build their own internal software or hire the absolute best in their field. Then they often design software that is only relevant for their business and with this clear advantage they are able to keep their noses in front of smaller businesses. In this sense, you are potentially in a race to overcome them in the field of technology-based solutions for your business.

Project organization

Project management is where productivity can either die or thrive. For a small business productivity is not something that can be taken for granted as you need each employee to be worth their weight in gold. Where the confusion of who is doing what and what is needed to be done for each task occurs, is at the online level of task allocation and the chain of completion. You should always be on the lookout for the latest project or task management software both in the free to use category and the subscription based style. Look for the general task management software but also the specialized interfaces that have been designed for your industry alone. The features are always more important that the usability as the latter can oftentimes be subjective but lacking features can hinder your productivity rate.

Fault in the line

Software is prone to errors and thus technology can never be relied upon. Don’t expect all your employees to understand the inner workings of each software their use to fulfil their roles either. That would simply take too much time of learning and experimenting rather than completing projects. So hire a company with professional Computer IT Services that offers proactive monitoring of your technologies. Whenever there is a fault in the line, such as a corrupt file that is refusing to open, an update that potentially has malware, this team can detect it for you. Catching a problem early, you can help employees continue on their roles by fixing a coding error much quicker.

Supply chain management

Working with so many different suppliers can get confusing. Quality control can leap out of the window when you don’t have full control of the supply chain. You should always be searching for industry specific supply chain management software. Even more so, search for sector specific software which can narrow down exactly what your supply chain needs are. Include your managers in this discussion as they will be the people who will be using it in their daily tasks.

Never stand still and be content with your software selections. Small businesses have the pick of the lot as free and paid software solutions are available for supply chain management and project organization. Employing a team to check up on the status and health of your software greases the wheels and keeps the ship moving through the waves.

4 Ways to Create a Productive Workplace for Your Employees

Productivity in the workplace starts with creating an inspiring environment where employees are motivated to do their best work. This sort of atmosphere is one that is encouraging, supportive, and authentic. Curious as to how you can maximize productivity in the workplace? Read on.

Know the Difference between Productivity and Efficiency

While both productivity and efficiency have their place in the working world, the most productive businesses know that productivity focuses on performance rather than streamlining resources. With efficiency, companies focus on cutting costs and reducing resources by any means necessary. While saving money is important, business focused on boosting productivity must invest in their employees and their workplace. For example, instead of trying to be more efficient by cutting out funding for office cleaning, employers focused on productivity will find a way to improve their bottom line by encouraging their employees to do work more effectively.

Tap into Employees’ Purpose

The most productive workers have a deeper reason for why they come to work. While getting paid is part of why they do what they do, it isn’t the driving force that pushes them to work hard. Employees that really believe in what their company is doing will always give more of an effort than an individual that is just looking to collect a paycheck. Employers that are able to feed this need for passion for their team members will ensure that they feel fulfilled doing their work, which will lead to an increase in productivity.

Compensate Employees Well

To do their best work, employees need to know they are valued. What better way than to compensate them accordingly? Employers that pay their team fairly and consistently will always find that their employees are more dedicated to their jobs than they would be otherwise.

Prioritize Work-Life Balance

Instead of leaving the act of finding a work-life balance up to employees, employers that take the initiative to establish a well-defined work-life balance will be able to give their workers a better sense of personal well-being. Being able to sufficiently separate life from work will reduce the risk of burnout, allowing employees to come into work more refreshed and ready to get work done.

When employees do come into work, they should feel that they are coming into a place that is filled with positive energy. Employers can make the actual experience of working more enjoyable by implementing various practices like hot desking and remote working to make their employees feel that they have some flexibility with how they get work done.

Productivity in the workplace isn’t something that happens by accident. Employers must be intentional about creating a work culture that cultivates passion and motivation. Use these four tips to take your employees to new heights of productivity.

Emma is a business strategist-turned blogger. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand. Emma is a  passionate traveler and yoga aficionado. She is in love with coffee, interior design, books, and good vibes. 🙂 

The Best Apps for Your Home Business

Running a home business can be fantastic. It’s a great way to do something for yourself and to follow your dreams. It’s an opportunity to work for yourself, without having to follow the rules or do as you are told. It also gives you the chance to earn money for yourself, without discrimination or glass ceilings. Home businesses are growing in popularity as more people are taking the risk and going it alone.

But, it’s not easy. When you run a business out of your house, you are likely to face many challenges and problems which you must overcome, facing head-on if you want to make your business a success.

Fortunately, in 2019 there are countless tools to help you. While you may not have the resources and finances that bigger businesses have, as they use business applications so often that they eventually need applications rationalization to help weed out legacy applications and reduce the costs. You will find that help is at hand. Small business loans and grants are often available. Digital marketing is an excellent tool when it comes to saving money while growing your business, and then there are apps. Nowadays most of us have countless apps on our phones. They help us with most elements of our life, as well as providing entertainment. So it should come as no surprise that there are also apps to help you run your business. Let’s take a look at some of the best.

Image Source – https://pixabay.com/photos/iphone-smartphone-apps-apple-inc-410311/

QuickBooks

If you are new to the business world, one of your primary challenges might be looking after your accounts. Many small business owners and sole traders find themselves in a panic as tax return season comes around as they have no idea how much money they have made, or what they can claim as a tax-deductible expense.

QuickBooks can be an extremely useful tool if you’ve got little experience in accounting. Even if you know what you are doing, using an app to manage your invoices and receipts can make your life a lot easier and save you a great deal of time. It could even save you money.

QuickBooks is one of many accounting apps on the market, but it’s often thought of as the easiest to use. You can use QuickBooks to keep records of your sales and expenses, track invoices, to pay your staff and to calculate your income. Other finance apps you may find useful include Wave, Gusto and Freshbooks.

Trello

Another big problem that home businesses face is productivity. When you are working at home, surrounded by distractions, it can be hard to organise and manage your time. Apps like Trello can be a massive help.

Use Trello to organise your days and manage your time. Create a Trello board for each project and add comments, pictures, attachments, to-do lists and deadlines to help yourself stay on track. If you often collaborate or have a team working with you, you can use Trello to assign tasks and get updates on progress. If you prefer to keep things simple, to-do list apps and even Google Calendars can be a big help.

Evernote

If you work from home, chances are you don’t always work from home. You might work at the library or in coffee shops. You might even try to get work done while you are sat in your car waiting for an appointment or meeting. This can be hard if all you have got in your phone.

Evernote can make things much easier. You’ll be able to work on your phone or tablet on the go, and anything that you do will be synced between your devices and your desktop back home. Evernote can give you a great way to maximise your time and get the most done, without worrying about losing work.

PayPal

As a small business, you might regularly work with other small companies and influencers. This often means that PayPal is the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to make and receive payments. Having the PayPal app on your phone means that you can send invoices, receive payments and transfer money on the go. It also allows you to look at your income and save receipts.

BoxMeUp

If your business is in sales, and you sell products out of your house, BoxMeUp can be a huge help. The app helps you to organise and track your packages. You can even use it to print labels and scan them into your phone to help with tracking and communicating with your customer.

How Can You Be Happier in Your Working Life?

For many of us, work is predominantly a means to an end. Let’s face it, if you won the lottery tomorrow you’d probably hand in your notice. However, until that happens, your career should be more than just a way to pay the bills. It’s not to suggest you need to love your job so much that you leap out of bed every Monday morning (because honestly, that’s just not realistic), but you do need to find something rewarding or interesting in what you do. We live in a world that’s heavily based around work, and a huge part of our lives are dedicated to it. If you’re not content while you’re working, unhappiness is sure to seep out into other areas of your life. Here are some of the ways you can be that bit happier in work.

Live a healthier lifestyle

Living a healthy life in general can massively improve the way you feel at work. When you eat well and get enough sleep, are properly hydrated and exercise enough, you’ll feel bright, focused and motivated. You might be excellent at your job, but your poor lifestyle choices can leave you feeling sluggish and foggy minded. Most of us these days work sedentary jobs in some form or another, and so spend a large portion of the day almost completely inactive. So doing what you can in your spare time can be really beneficial. Walk or cycle to work, get yourself a gym membership, go on hikes and play sports at the weekends. Not only is this good for longevity and overall health, but you’ll more than likely improve your performance at work too. When you’re working a career you really care about (or are doing all you can to get promoted to where you want to be) then this is something not to overlook.

Get your morning routine right

Your morning can really set the tone for the rest of the day. If every morning you’re waking up late, in a rush, struggling to find what you need and making it into the workplace by the skin of your teeth then it’s going to leave you feeling anxious and stressed- not great for productivity. A few simple changes can really start every day off on a good footing, and it’s not at all difficult or complicated. Sort your lunch and work bag for the next day before you go to bed. Make sure your clothes are clean and ironed and have everything laid out for when you get up. If you have a bath or shower before bed, you save yourself a few extra minutes in the morning. Plan your breakfast and make sure you have the ingredients you need so you can get up and eat, instead of putting it off and being ravenous all morning. If you know your car is low on fuel, sort it the night before rather than waiting until the morning and giving yourself an extra thing to do. These simple preparations ahead of time mean you get get up, get ready and start your day feeling fresh and organised. You could put on some uplifting music, stretch and repeat a positive mantra to really get yourself in the right frame of mind.

Change careers

Your career might have once been a perfect fit for you. Perhaps you’re living out a childhood ambition, or maybe you got interested in it later on and managed to snag the job of your dreams. However, people change, and our interests and values can really move on over the years. If you’re in a job that was once a good fit but no longer is, you probably aren’t as happy as you could be. Maybe you want to do something that makes a genuine difference, such as teaching or healthcare and are no longer purely motivated by money. Maybe you’ve developed an interest and would like to pursue it as a career, it could be anything from design to psychology to engineering. Changing careers is a bold move, but something that could make you much happier in the long run. It will almost always start with study, when you’re moving over to do something new then you need to gain some qualification and certification in that area. If you’re in a position to resign and start university full time and completely commit then you’ll get it all done much more quickly. However, that’s not realistic for everyone. Thankfully there are online courses you can do in your free time in a completely flexible way, enabling you to earn qualifications in any area you’d like. From full degrees and postgraduate qualifications to diplomas, HNDs and other certification, find out what you’d need to get started in the new field. Gaining experience is also extremely valuable, chances are you’d need to do this on a voluntary basis. Find a company that’s willing to take you on as a volunteer so you can shadow an existing worker and they can teach you some of the skills and experience that you’ll need. You could also attend training days and other formal events to boost your skills and network if needed. All these kinds of things show an employer that you’re serious and willing to get out there and do what you need to do to get your dream job. Working a career you’re passionate about will bring you excitement, give you job satisfaction and generally make you a happier person all round.

Start your own business

Do you have an entrepreneurial head on your shoulders? Perhaps you have a great idea for a business but are yet to do anything about it. If you want a change of career but don’t fancy working for someone else then why not become the boss? If you’re new to business you could start with a franchise since you get to run your own venture but get a lot of support. Otherwise, go it alone but do plenty of research before time to help improve your chances of success. It can be smart to gain a qualification of some kind in business, leadership, marketing or another topic linked to the running of a company. You will need to do plenty of market research of your product or service before launching so that you know it’s something that people will buy. You’ll need to find the right employees, as well as provide them a good working space, this article 11 Tips For A Happy And Productive Office Environment explains how to do this. There’s a lot that goes into it but don’t get overwhelmed, you can always start small and grow organically. You could even begin right from your home, and move into commercial premises once things have picked up and your turning a profit. There’s less risk involved this way, as you’re avoiding many of the overhead costs involved in starting a business. Instead of hiring employees, you’d outsource and utilise third party companies, only opening your own department and finding the your own workers once you can afford to do so.

Start a side hustle

Even if you don’t plan on going into business full time, it’s always worth having a side hustle. Ideally, something related in some way to your career helps you to gain more skills and earn money, but in a fun way. You could write and monetise a blog, or work on freelancing websites. You could buy and sell products for a profit, or make your own products. If things go well it’s something you could do full time later down the line if you wanted to, so it gives you more options. And a second income source is never a bad thing.

Set goals

Regardless of what you’re doing in your career, it’s so important to have goals. Many people start feeling unhappy at work as they fall into a rut, they stop improving their skills and after being in a position for a long time, you can start to stagnate. Look for ways to move onto the next rung of the career ladder, or seek new opportunities if your current role has no progression. Having a general idea of what you want from your career and how you’re going to get there ensures you stay sharp and motivated. Your goals will probably change over time, our priorities in life are constantly shifting depending on what’s going on. For example, an aspiration you once had might no longer fit when you have a family as you might prefer something less fast paced. Or on the flipside, having a family might motivate you to reach higher job roles to earn more money. It’s all relative, so set goals but stay flexible. Look back on them at least once a year to check where you’re at, what you need to do next or whether you need to alter your path.

How do you think you could be happier at work? What changes would you need to make?

Time is Money: 4 Types of Products to Add in Your Business for Improved Efficiency

Efficiency is vital to your business and its productivity. With efficient processes, you are able to save time without having to sacrifice quality. If the policies and procedures set in place cause employees to spend lots of time trying to complete a task, this will result in a loss of productivity for the business as a whole. Thankfully, there are emerging technologies that can help not only save your company time, but also money and energy as well. Here are four types of products that would benefit your business with improved efficiency.

Time Tracking Software

Time tracking software allows you and your employees to effectively record hours for payroll, billing, and operations in general. It captures time spend on work assignments and provides an insight on projects that eat up a lot of your employees time. The software lets you analyze and break down time consuming tasks into smaller, more productive tasks that can be completed faster.

Entity Extraction Software

Entity extraction software, also known as named entity recognition and entity name extraction, it a technique that identifies and classifies key elements from text to pre-defined categories. It takes unstructured data and compiles it into structured data that is now machine readable and available for easy retrieval. Structured data makes it easier to understand the data contained in documents, files, spreadsheets, web pages, etc.

Business Cloud Solutions

The cloud is a centralized location on the internet that stores data and files, making it easier to access them anytime from any location. The cloud consists of cloud storage, cloud backup, software as a service (SaaS), and cloud hosting. Since the cloud doesn’t require expensive hardware for your business, it reduces the need for additional expensive of on-site equipment. The cloud also automatically updates data and files stored, which is another added timesaver.

Business Messaging Software

Messaging software offers your business an advantage to using traditional email and messaging. They provide a single location where you and your employees can utilize text messages, video chats, private chats, screen-sharing, and email messaging all in one centralized app. Messaging software also allows for you and your employees to stay closely connected in real time from different locations across the country.

Simple solutions such as these allow your business to flow more effectively and efficiently. From a business standpoint, it just makes sense to implement procedures that are of benefit to the business and employees productivity as a whole.

Emma is a freelance writer based out of Boston, MA. She writes most often on health and education. When not writing, she enjoys reading and watching film noir. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2