Do you wish you knew how to be more productive?
So that you can find more time to work on your business rather than working in it all day long.
One of the most significant challenges that small business owners face is finding time for marketing and ensuring a steady stream of client leads.
It’s easy to get distracted by other things that are believed to be more important. It’s also common to quickly get disheartened and give up on marketing after trying a few things and not seeing fast results.
The reality is that for most businesses, successful marketing takes time and energy. There are very few who achieve overnight success, therefore it’s a matter of operating productively.
Working out how to be more productive in your daily routine is key to improving your productivity. As well as working out how to make your marketing activities more efficient, so they take less time to plan and implement.
Here are five tips on how to be more productive in your small business which focuses on both:
1. Set goals and know why they are important
Having goals to focus on in your small business provides you with direction and helps you to stay on track. It ensures you’re productively spending your time working on what’s important and provides success measures.
One of the most common frameworks used to set goals is the SMART framework. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
When you set goals that meet each of these criteria, it will be much easier to work out what actions you need to follow. It will also increase your productivity when it comes to reviewing and measuring your achievements.
Additionally, it’s essential to set goals that align with your purpose, or why you are in business. By doing this, it will provide extra motivation to help you keep going when things start to get challenging or when you hit an unexpected roadblock and start to lose productivity.
Clarifying what’s important and setting SMART goals are both included in my free 10-point planning checklist. If you want to take your planning to the next level download my checklist by clicking the image below.
2. Remove time-wasting activities and distractions
An excellent place to start with improving your productivity is to conduct an audit of your daily routine. It will shine a light on where you’re not only spending your time but also on the activities that are either giving you energy or taking it away.
Why is this important? Because activities that drain your energy take away from your motivation to achieve your goals. They are also a significant drain on your productivity as you’ll often have to spend additional time resolving issues.
Applying the Eisenhower Matrix is another way to assess whether your daily activities are worth your time and energy.
This matrix enables you to categorise your activities in four ways using important/unimportant and urgent/not urgent as measures. Then you apply the appropriate action for that category:
- Important and Urgent: Do now in the short-term
- Important and Not Urgent: Decide when to do it over the mid-long term
- Unimportant and Urgent: Delegate to avoid distractions and interruptions
- Unimportant and Not Urgent: Delete and do not spend time and energy on it
Ask yourself what activities are you currently doing that you could stop doing or delegate to another person. Alternatively, are there activities which could be shifted to the mid to longer-term horizon?
Once you complete this exercise, you will likely find most of your activities grouped in one or two of the categories. It will provide you with valuable insight as to what changes you need to make and how to be more productive.
3. Assess your resources and work out how to be more productive
Not having enough or the right resources is a common challenge for small business owners. If this is the case, then it’s time to either put the additional resources in place. Or adjust what you are trying to achieve within the allocated timeframe.
Finding more time to market your business may mean that you need to stop doing some tasks. Alternatively, delaying some activities would free up the time you need to prioritise growing your business.
Sometimes it’s a case of going more slowly and strategically to achieve faster growth over the longer term. Keep it simple and don’t overcomplicate things.
Trying to do too much will eventually lead to stress and burn-out. You want to avoid this happening because if it does, your productivity is one of the first things to be impacted.
When you’re the boss, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you need to be involved in every decision and be at every meeting. When in fact, other people could be empowered to make decisions on your behalf. Sure, they may make a different choice than you, but this is also how you develop your people and build sustainability.
If you’re working on your own, are there activities that could be outsourced to free up your time? As a service-based business, it’s important to consider what revenue-earning opportunities you are missing out on when you are completing such things as administration tasks.
4. Write a plan with actionable steps that you review regularly
Having goals for your business is not enough. You also need a strategic plan with actionable steps and milestones that you can track and measure as you move forward.
An action plan will improve your time management as you will have something that you can refer to, so you know how to be more productive each day.
This step can be challenging, especially for those not used to working in a structured or planned way. However, the planning process does not need to be complicated and can be as simple as writing it on one page.
To help you with your planning, I’ve put together this ultimate planning checklist for busy service-based business owners. Access your copy by clicking on the image below.
When it comes to planning, it’s about working out what works best for you and your business. Also ensuring that whatever you create doesn’t become a document that sits in a draw and you never look at. Instead, it’s an action plan that it critically reviewed, updated and adjusted as time goes by.
In many ways, the review process and system that you put around your plan is as important as the plan itself. You can make some assumptions, but you don’t know everything that’s going to happen when you create it. Having a process to review it at regular intervals is critical for the program to stay relevant.
By regularly reviewing your action plan, you will work out how to be more productive by adjusting things earlier and not spend time continuing to work on something that is out of date.
5. Implement systems to streamline your marketing
Working out how to be more productive also involves looking at where you can automate your marketing.
You don’t need to be a tech-genius to be able to automate processes these days. There are many cloud-based and online platforms that are simple to install and implement.
Alternatively, if you are overwhelmed by automation, find an expert to come in and set it up for you. Many will also teach you how to maintain it so that you don’t have ongoing expenses when things change.
Another way to streamline your marketing is to spend time upfront working out what marketing campaigns to create. When you have brand guidelines and advertising templates ready, the implementation process is much more productive.
An example of this may be working out what colours, fonts and key messages you will repeatedly use in your business. Or creating social media posts or advertising templates where all you need to do is interchange the copy (rather than redesign the whole thing).
Why not set aside some time in your schedule to review how you are operating? Think about where you could make some changes to be more productive in your small business.
Not only could it increase your productivity but could also help you find new clients and growth opportunities.
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