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. 🙂 

Keeping Your Business Organized: 3 Tips for Owners

Part of running a business like a well-oiled machine comes down to superb organization skills and policies. When things are properly organized, this will save you and your employees loads of time. Items will be more easily found, and your employee’s work spaces will not look trashy and cluttered. So, if you are ready to whip your business into shape, then here are three organization tips you must follow for best results. 

Back of the Store 

The back of your store, where no one but you and your employees tread, is where you keep all your inventory and other business-related supplies. To keep these items organized, you will need shelving for products, heavy duty storage cabinets and bins for other supplies. Putting in a system for quickly locating what you need will also be a great plan. This way, anyone new that you hire on will be able to quickly orient themselves to finding what they need without wasting a lot of time searching without end. 

Front Customer Area 

Any time customers can see an area of your store, you do not want these areas to look cluttered or messy. This is especially the case if it is an employee work station. Unorganized areas like that will give the hint that you and your employees do not spend time carefully making sure your store is both neat and clean. By assigning an employee to go around to do regular checks and remind employees to clean up the areas they are in charge over, you will help to always ensure your store is ready for your customers to see. 

Digital Organization 

As with your physical products and supplies, your computer system and digital files need to be in order too. One way to do this is to install a quality database to help you gain access to any digital form or information you need at the push of a button. Often it is necessary for companies to have a couple of IT guys on staff to ensure that your digital systems are not only organized, but you also want them to be operating within acceptable parameters. In addition, these employees can help you keep your social media postings organized to ensure that your company is being properly represented online too. 

Your business is the foundation on which you plan to build your success. By using superb organization policies, you will help this effort along in a big way. Plus, you will help to make sure that your employees have everything they need at their fingertips to make you happy with their performance. Consequently, organization is a critical aspect of any viable business model.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

Why You Should Invest in Business Technology

With technological innovations influencing every single part of our lives, there is little doubt left whether it should take its rightful place in the business sphere. Yet, some businesses are still reluctant to invest a considerable portion of their income in technology, and might need a bit of a push. So in order to help you understand why this is not a choice but rather a necessity, here are some essential reasons why you should invest in business technology.

Improved productivity

There is no argument that all businesses are striving towards an improved productivity. And in today’s business world most of it comes from technology. It is no wonder that 81% of business executives in Europe believe AI will impact the overall business functioning in the next four years. And this involves all aspects of business, from manufacturing and distribution to customer support and data entry. According to Forbes, manufacturers will invest $267 billion in IoT by 2020 to improve their product development and manufacturing efforts. This types of automation enabled by the technology will allow for employees to be less burdened by the everyday routine tasks, thus freeing their time and allowing them to focus on resolving more complex issues.

Higher levels of communication quality

The days of fax machines are long gone. Now you can send data and establish communication with just a click of a button on your smartphone. Of course, having a well connected office space is essential for maintaining a higher level of intra-company communication. This is why a lot of businesses turn to trusted providers like Orange for getting company phone networks along with the actual phones.This is just one of the ways to increase and speed up the communication within the company. It is also imperative to acknowledge the value of smartphones, and the effect they have on the speed and quality of communication when it comes to businesses. So it is important to consider investing in both if you want to have clear, undisturbed lines of communication not just with the respected customers but also with your employees.

Better sources of information

Investing in technology can lead to better sources of information when it comes to your customers. This in return leads to improved services and products and increased customer satisfaction which is clearly translated into a higher ROI. For example, big data analytics and real-time data tracking are helping management make informed business decisions. This means that you will be able to provide your customers with products and services tailored to their individual needs, and technology is there to tell you what those needs are. And not only that, it is also important to consider that technology allows companies an unhindered means of communicating with their customers, thus enabling real-time reaction monitoring, which in return can speed up the process of adjusting a certain product or service to the needs of the customers, resulting in a far better response and customer satisfaction.

Better security options

Some might say that the use of technology such as cloud computing and IoT exposes your business to additional treats. But at the same time with the right security plan it can be argued that theses things actually keep your business safe. With cybersecurity being the number one priority, investing in technology related to this aspect of doing business is of absolute priority. This is one aspect that you can’t overlook or put on the back burner, recent statistics have suggested that the average cost of a data breach at a larger firm is £20,000, but  the damage is actually much bigger if you take into consideration the effect a breach can have on customer trust. Now with hackers getting more and more sophisticated, it is important that a company keeps investing in this type of security so as to be able to guarantee the safety of both its data and the data of their customers.

Now, these are just some of the reasons investing in technology is essential for any modern businesses. Apart from increased productivity and communication, the information gathering and data safety present an imperative for any business owner who strives to succeed in this technologically driven business landscape.

Guest Author, Raul Harman, s a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing.  While he’s not enjoying travel, football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com.

5 Tips for Staying Productive While Relocating a Small Business

Relocating your business, no matter how big or small, can be a somewhat tricky endeavor. If you fail to organize all of your business tasks properly during the relocation period, your business is bound to experience some downtime which may have some serious consequences later on. What’s more, your employees will be affected by the move as well, which can seriously compromise their productivity and motivation. That’s why you, as the business owner, need to make sure you do all that’s in your power to make the move go as seamless and as stress-free as possible.

Here are some ways you can achieve that and make both your business and your employees stay productive during the move.

Time it right

While timing the move precisely is not quite possible, you can at least try to minimize the gap between moving out of your old office and moving into the new one. Also, make sure you completely set up the new office before the start date, to enable your employees to start working again as soon as possible – preferably as soon as they enter the new office space. Timing the move during the holiday season is possibly the best way to go, especially if your business practices collective vacation or annual shutdown.

Shift your offer to the online realm

If you haven’t done it so far, make sure you shift your offer to the online world during the move. By making your products or services available to your customers online during the move, not only will you seriously reduce the downtime your business is bound to experience, but it will also help your business to grow in the long run. However, it’s advisable to start working on your online business endeavors well-before the move, as it can be somewhat overwhelming.

Support working from home

Picture this scenario: your employees are sitting at their desks trying to focus and complete the task at hand while the movers are trying to pack the office furniture and equipment and relocate it to your new office space. To avoid this scenario, encourage your employees to work from their homes until the new office space is set up. This way, they will have the freedom to create ideal working conditions for themselves in the comfort of their own homes instead of having to struggle to stay productive in the office. Besides, every business-related task that can be taken care of remotely – should be, as that’s another great way to reduce downtime.

Make the move fun

Team building is everyone’s favorite office activity. So, why not try to make moving fun and turn it into team building? Since you’re a small business, chances are that you don’t have a ton of resources you can afford to spend on moving. If that’s the case, know that there really is no need to hire professional movers. Instead, you can opt for a company that offers truck rentals to find the best deal and ask your employees to help you out with the move. This can include everything from equipment organizing and packing to loading the trucks and driving everything to the new location. This way, not only will you save up a significant sum, but you’ll also offer your employees a chance to get to know each other better.

Always have backup

Now, while we do live in the digital era, there are still instances where you’ll simply have to meet a client, employee or a business partner in person. In such cases, holding the meeting in either your old or your new office space is not quite the best way to go, especially if neither of those places is fully functional. So, instead of risking potential unpleasant situations – e.g. having to deny your client a meeting due to the lack of office space – you should have a backup plan in place. For instance, there area lot of temporary rental office spaces where you can relocate everyone whose job can’t be performed from home, and where you can hold important meetings until your new office space is ready.

Therefore, when moving your small business, make sure you organize all of your business-related tasks accordingly, to lower the impact a move is bound to have on your company. Additionally, show your employees that you value them by asking them to help you out and try to make the move as seamless and as stress-free as possible. Finally, make sure that your business is still up and running during the move to avoid risking becoming irrelevant and falling out of touch with your audience.

About the author:Mike Johnston is a home improvement and business blogger from Sydney. He is a regular writer at SmoothDecoratorand contributor on several interior design, real estate and eco blogs. Mike’s goal is to create and share meaningful content that helps and inspires people.