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Small Business: Five smart ways to productivity!

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Thanks to social networking, around 60% of employees worldwide are visiting non-work related websites during office hours, affecting productivity, said a research by Socialnomics. Times are changing but in business, one thing has not changed – a dire need of productivity.

Imagine how crucial this becomes in the context of a small business. With a budget crunch, limited number of staff and less resources, these businesses must always find ways to increase productivity. Here are a few methods that are quite do-able:

  1. Use Technology: If you had to choose between appointing a few employees and investing in a computer technology, choose the latter. Invest in technologies that would give you outstanding results for half the time and money. A few examples:
    • Internet Communication: This saves time and money. Employees must communicate mostly through emails to people other than clients, instead of phone calls. Internal emails will eliminate time-consuming meetings. Client meetings can save resources when they happen on video conferencing, Skype, etc.
    • Software: You can invest in project management software, HR software, attendance and time keeping software, which will minimize the need for appointing more personnel. This minimizes errors and improves efficiency.
    • Cloud computing: This is a great idea that would help in solving day-to-day network problems or server issues. Through cloud computing, businesses can easily store and back up their data apart from synchronizing it in multiple devices. A few cloud computing tools can be Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon Cloud drive, etc.
  2. Efficient HR management: Rules in HR must have one objective – increasing productivity. Small businesses can have an efficient HR system by combining people and software technology. The HR cell can easily pull this off through the following:
    • Right man for the right job: While most employees in a small business have to do tasks that are beyond their purview, this must be controlled consciously. Right from headhunting, the HR managers must select candidates based more on their real-time skills than their resumes. For instance, the Times of India HR team in a small town appointed a Mass Communication graduate for a marketing job since she was more efficient in selling things than writing.
    • Perks: There’s a budget crunch in small businesses, and so rewarding the employee in monetary terms is often not cost-effective. Yet employees must be motivated through perks in kind, awards, public recognition of skills and creative challenges.
    • Internet Filtering: Researchers in many universities worldwide are finding that a major chunk of employees waste their time on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Install a filtering system in your office that would block these sites. Tell the HR personnel to say it nicely.
  3. Priorities and goals: Setting of priorities and goals will add to productivity most notably. Most entrepreneurs will have to make annual, monthly, weekly and daily plans of action. When you are sure where you are heading and you stick to the plan, you cannot go wrong.
  4. Flexibility: Systems have to be flexible enough to accommodate changes and challenges. For example, apart from fixing working hours of employees, assign them deadline-driven tasks and give them flexible timings.
  5. Set examples: If the manager finishes work on time most days and stays later than usual on delivery days, this will inspire other employees to do the same. This will add to productivity of all the rest of the departments since it will become a work trend.

Running a small business can be as tricky as running a big empire. Yet, there’s enough room for squeezing in some of these factors for better productivity.

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